With over 6000 languages spoken in the world, misunderstandings in communication are not uncommon. However, 23 languages account for more than half the world’s population. The vast majority of the world’s population uses Asian or European languages. By number of speakers, the 10 most spoken languages in the world are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese and Punjabi. Unsurprisingly, Mandarin Chinese is number one on the list with roughly a billion native speakers.
So, how do you expand your business in China without knowing Chinese? What if you want to setup an office in Peshawar, Pakistan but don’t know Pukhto? Does running your businesses successfully require the knowledge of several languages?
This is where translators come into the picture. If you do not know several languages, you should turn to a competent individual or company for help. Choose a person that can be entrusted such work carefully as even kings have fallen because of language barriers and misunderstandings. Yes, languages open many doors for your international business, but they can close them just as easy if you miss the nuances.
We recommend that you opt for a native speaker of the target language (the language being translated into) whenever possible. Someone may have spent years learning another language, but that does not qualify them for translation work. Our mother tongue is the one we know best. Also, we live in a day and age when there are so many different aspects of business. Is the translator specialized in the area you need? A person that can translate chemistry books may not be able to translate a business contract.
Translators are magicians that have mastered at least two languages and know the art of playing with words and their meaning. This craft takes years to learn and perfect. It is essential that you respect them and dedicate time to find the right one for you.
What about machine translation?
Yes, Google Translate may do for understanding the gist of simple conversation. But using it for business would be a huge mistake. Again and again it has been proven that the human brain is the best translator, though it will take longer than a few seconds to generate the result.
In exceptional circumstances, there is also the crowd translation option. This is mostly used for projects that contain thousands of pages and quality is not the number 1 priority. Professional translators are often asked to review the work that has been crowd translated.
Where can you find good translators?
There are many specialized agencies providing translation services. You may search and find one to outsource your translation to. Ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations. Check samples of their previous work and portfolio before committing to an entire project.
What about freelance translators?
Many people like to work with individual freelance translators instead of translation agencies. The advantage is that you work with the same person every time and over time both parties develop a good understanding of what the other guy means. Translation agencies on the other hand may assign a different translator every time. On the flip side, you may go through several individuals till you find one who is the perfect fit for you.
How do you find individual freelance translators?
You post your job on one of the popular freelance portals. Many translators will bid on your project. You can review their past work, interview them and then hire a few for a sample project. Then keep the one that is a better fit for you. You can even make payment to the freelancer through the portals.
Before you make a decision, you may want to to read some more on the topic. For more information about translators and where to find them, check out /why-and-how-to-outsource-contract-work-to-freelancers/30
We hope this article was helpful. Good luck!