German to English translation services
So you’ve got a project that needs translating from or into German. But you’re now left wondering where on Earth to find a translator? And how to choose one when you do find them?
Well, let’s run through some of your options and arm you with the information you need to help you get started.
Where to find a translation services provider
Google or a similar search engine is the first port of call for many when searching for something online. This can, however, be overwhelming. How many pages of search results should you click through? Do you just pick the top result? By expanding your search’s keywords to include a specialism or country you can start to cut through the masses.
One thing to be aware of when using search engines to find a translator is that a lot of search engines offer their own machine translation tools. These frequently get pulled to the top of the search results. Added to which are a lot of third-party tools. And while machine translation certainly has its place when used effectively, this may just add to the number of pages you have to wade through.
There is an array of translation associations out there and companies/translators who wish to become members of one generally have to undergo some form of verification process to ensure they conform to a minimum standard. Some associations focus specifically on translation companies. Others focus on freelance translators. Either way they can be a great resource when it comes to choosing your German translation services provider.
We’d recommend you take a look at:
These are both UK-based associations that offer tools allowing you to filter their members by language selection, subject area, specific area, what other services they may provide as well as by any keywords you may like to use.
Social media is perhaps a less conventional way of searching but may still prove fruitful. You can look on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to find corporate pages. But you can also find groups and communities of professionals in a specific field. Once you’ve found some, have a look at their posts, do they inspire you with confidence?
How to choose a translator
As with any other purchasing decision, choosing a translator will be based on preference: does their website convince you, do you get on well with them, do you like their writing style…? But as our video shows, when it comes to choosing a translator there is often a lot more to consider than just ‘Can they speak both languages?’
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 is 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 or English native speakers who can show evidence of being committed to research, quality and consistency?
So, to reflect, your best starting points for finding a German translation services provider are search engines, translation associations and maybe even social media sites. And once you’ve found some remember to narrow them down using these four points:
- What’s their first language?
- Do they understand the subject matter?
- How do they approach unknown terminology?
- What does their process involve?