You need to translate a text and you do not know where to start or whom to address. This article is made for you.
In “real life”, by which I mean the disconnected world, I am always asked to translate a text. At the risk of repeating myself, a translator always works towards his mother tongue, the so-called “target language”. It makes sense when you think about it: imagine, you want your work to be perfectly written in English. What could be more natural than having an Englishman answer your request? Conversely, if an Englishman needs his site to be translated into Chinese, why would he turn to an Englishman rather than a Chinese?
First solution: find the translation services of your dreams
To use a translator, several approaches are available to you. The easiest way: search the directory (or Google) for translation services closest to you. It is an intermediary between the translators and the client (you, whether you are a company or an individual). You entrust your document to him to translate, the firm is in charge of finding the translator the most qualified to answer your request, depending on the source and target languages of course, but also the field of specialty. If the document is legal and the translation must have an official value (such as a diploma), you will have to go through a “sworn” translator.
This solution is the most expensive. Indeed, you will have to pay both the service provider (= the translator) and the intermediary (= the agency). On the other hand, it is the most effective option: a professional will be in charge to quickly find a trusted translator, available and qualified in your place, to take care of the possible layout of your translated text and to do all Pre-delivery quality assurance work. All this takes time.
Second solution: entrust the search to an agency
The second option available to you is to free yourself from the translation agency and find yourself your translator. You will realize savings but you will have to do the work of the agency. As you can come across anyone, anything (the translation is not part of the regulated professions), you take a risk and in addition, you will spend a lot (too much?) of time to find the pearl rare.
If you want to work directly with a translator to translate a text, several directories exist. First of all, the site of the TAC, the Translators’ Association of China, which lists the translators officially exercising. There is also the PROZ directory, where thousands of translation professionals (translators, revisers, interpreters, voice-over actors, etc.) are registered.
In conclusion, even if the choice to go through an agency is the most expensive option, it is the most reliable because you will have to deal with specialists who will take care of finding the best translator for you. You will also be able to pay a supplementary proofreading service, that is to say that the translation will be re-read by a second linguist to check its coherence and quality.
On the other hand, if your means are limited, you can directly call on a translator, but you will have to arm yourself with patience before finding shoes that fit your feet. This choice depends on your means, of course, but also on the finality of the translation: if it is for an internal use exclusively, it may not be necessary to have the translation re-read. Conversely, if it is for your commercial showcase that is at stake, the translation of a website as part of the internationalization of your brand for example, or content printed in several copies, then it is better to turn to reputed translation services company.