The search for an effective, dedicated Chinese language translator can be a challenging one. How can you assess whether a particular translator is right for you and matches the needs of your market segment? By asking yourself these questions, you can find a good Chinese translator whose skills align with your requirements. Here are some factors to consider.
Are They Right for the Role?
The first thing you need to consider is the type of content that needs to be translated. Does your prospective translator have the right skills for your very particular job? A translator may be eminently qualified in general, but might not be the right fit for a specialized situation or specific content type.
For example, if the setting is an academic conference, it's important for you to find a translator who can simultaneously translate between Chinese and English while people are speaking, and who can maintain a high level of quality throughout the process.
Similarly, if you are considering the applicant's credentials for a corporate translation job, you need to be certain that your candidate can prove that they have real-time experience in business settings, and can provide you with proof of certifications and a portfolio of previous work.
This step is important - have they done the sort of work that you're looking for at the moment? If you need voiceover work, do they have a background in audio translation? If you're searching for a business interpreter, can you expect them to have a history of working with Western and Chinese businesses during high-stakes meetings? Ask the translator for samples of
their previous work and have them checked by someone who is proficient in the target Chinese language. This way, you can be sure that your candidate is suitable for the job.
Next, consider your applicant's training. It is paramount to remember that 'native speaker' does not mean 'quality translator' - just because someone is comfortable in Mandarin, Cantonese, or any other language spoken in China, that does not automatically make him or her a good translator.
Being a native speaker is very important since this means that the translator is fundamentally fluent, but they also need to able to be flexible in their translation processes in addition to having a strong cultural understanding of both Chinese and Anglophone culture.
Ultimately, you need to treat your search for a good Chinese translator just like you would any other hiring process within your company.
Honing the Skill of Translation
They might have the cultural background, the certifications, and the amazing references, but that's not all that they need to be a good Chinese translator. Translation is an art and a skill that takes years to hone and perfect. Be sure to check the academic credentials of your prospect. How many years has this person worked as a translator, and in what settings? It's crucial that your translator has training in best practices and current trends in the field. Keep in mind that a good translation agency should apply all of these considerations in acquiring a good Chinese translator so that you don’t have to.
Finally, take a look at the translator's body of work. Translators who have been in the field for some time will have references and proof of skill. Make sure that the translator can work across registers and is willing to go the extra mile for a complex job or a high-priority client. If on the other hand, you have a job that is generalized or relatively simple, there is nothing wrong with hiring a candidate who is fairly new to the field. Everybody has to start somewhere! Just make sure that you feel secure in the quality of his or her previous translations, and that you check references who will vouch for this person's reliability and innate skill.
What Sort of Chinese Translator Do You Really Need?
In the English language, we tend to use the term "Chinese language" as a sort of catch-all phrase, when in reality there are far more Chinese languages than just Mandarin and Cantonese. There are 297 different languages spoken in China today - so what sort of translator do you really need for your job?
Even within large language groups, such as Hanyu Chinese, there are different official dialects, some of which are very distinct and would require a translator from the region in question to make sure that the job is done right and that your message gets through correctly.
This ties into content localization - would you use a Mandarin translator to market your products and services in Hong Kong, where Cantonese is the spoken language? Would you use an Uyghur interpreter for your business meeting in Shanghai? Of course not! It would be seen as strange and would directly impact the success of your business ventures. While Mandarin is a sort of lingua franca within China, you can't expect to directly translate your services into Mandarin and still be successful throughout the whole country.
As you're looking for a candidate for your Chinese translation job, remember that you need to consider the market that you're trying to enter, and tailor your search accordingly.
Find a Chinese Translator You Can Rely On
Finding a good Chinese translator does not have to be difficult - in fact, it can be fun! Think of it as matching two puzzle pieces. Usually, the best way is to find a translation agency that you trust and can rely on. That way, you know they thoroughly acquire translators, like a good Chinese translator, that can complete a specific job with the utmost quality and assurance. When your translation agency finds the translator who can match your client in tone, cadence, meaning, and register, all parties will walk away from the situation feeling truly satisfied. That is the secret of success!
inWhatLanguage is an innovative translation technology and services company that provides a cutting-edge and smarter approach to enterprise translation management.
We are able to take on any translation project in any language.