First ask yourself, “What is the translation for?” If you’re having a German text translated for information purposes or to understand the gist, you will need a good translation, but it won’t need to be perfect. If you’re planning to publish it however, precision and perfection are vital. After all, the translation will be representing you or your company, so you’ll want to choose the best German to English translator. For a helping hand, consider the following:
1) What’s their first language?
When it comes to translation, it’s all about language of course. German native and English native speakers will be in touch with their respective culture and the current language used there. That’s why, if perfection is vital, a native speaker of each language should work on every text to ensure the meaning, tone and nuances of the German are captured and recreated in English that sounds perfectly natural (or the other way round if the translation is from English into German).
2) Do they understand the subject matter?
To translate a text well, a translator must understand its content well. That goes without saying. If it contains technical or specialist subject matter, you’ll need a translator who deals with similar texts regularly and will therefore translate yours accurately using correct and up-to-date terminology. Talk to them about the technical subject matter and ask them questions related to it. You’ll soon find out whether they know what they’re talking about.
3) How do they approach unknown terminology?
If a translator comes across a term or expression that they’re unfamiliar with in a certain context – be it technical or non-technical – it is key that they know how to conduct research from reliable sources. For peace of mind, ask them what they do when they hit a stumbling block during their translation.
4) What does their process involve?
As just mentioned, a translator’s process should always include time for in-depth research. In addition, the best translators will also have an internal style guide and quality checklist in place – which is particularly important to ensure consistency if they are a team of translators. This will ensure that every detail relating to punctuation, linguistic style and formatting are consistent throughout every translated document and that the quality is checked prior to delivery. This will give your text the professional, high-quality finish it needs to be published with pride and confidence.
The best German to English translator will understand the subject matter and take the time to research anything that is new to them. Talk to them and find out more about them. Are they German and English native speakers who can show evidence of being committed to research, quality and consistency?
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