Hiring an Interpreter: What should I know before I buy? Can I go through a language translation service?
When hiring an interpreter, your return on investment is important. Much like shopping for a language translation service, taking the time to research a language agency with a defined quality control process will ensure that you get exactly what your project requires – and help you project a positive company image.
Language translation services companies often provide professional interpreting services, and while some of the values are the same, you will want to know which qualities to identify before you sign on the dotted line.
To help you differentiate between a language translator and interpreter, here are a few characteristics you should look for before you buy interpreting services:
Bilingual or linguist? A bilingual person is not necessarily a linguist who studies foreign languages at an accredited institution and is certified in the linguistics of that language. When accurate interpretation is important to your project, the services of a linguist are your best bet.
Topical knowledge: In addition to experience with professional interpretation, an interpreter needs to have expert knowledge of the subject matter in order to communicate the right message to your audience.
Audience consideration: Speaking of audiences, make sure the interpreter understands the demographics and sociographics of yours. Whether you go through a language translation service or an interpretation firm, give this step its due diligence.
Budget: A professional language agency will outline your translation and interpreting costs based on the scope of work. Understand that cutting corners on your budget often comes at the cost of quality and a great risk to the reputation of your organization.
Timing: Reputable interpreting agencies are generally booked two to three weeks ahead of time so plan accordingly. Rush jobs are possible but are often accompanied by unnecessary and exorbitant fees.
Now that you know what to look for in an interpretation service, it’s a good idea to build your list of questions around these points. The time that you invest up front will all be worth it when you find the interpreter who fits your project perfectly.