How To Tell Apart The Professional Translators And Interpreters From The Not-So-Professional

Telling Apart the Professional Translators and Interpreters From the Not-So-Professional

On my last blog we learned what makes translation and interpretation a professional service and not a commodity.  

In this blog we will examine five key elements that separate the professionals from the not-so-professionals and why it is crucial for you as a client to know the difference and only seek those who are professional.

1.  Professionalism and Code Of Ethics

Professional translation and interpretation services are founded on trust, honesty, respect, and a strict code of ethics.   

Just like you trust and respect doctors and lawyers with good reputations, (even though you personally do not know if they are any good) you must still hire and pay them to find out.  

You take this risk because of their qualifications, recommendations, and good reputation. 

In a similar fashion, translation and interpretation services require trust, because most often you are not able to assess the quality of their work.  

How To Tell Apart The Professional Translators And Interpreters From The Not-So-Professional |

Professional translators and interpreters are honest and only take on projects within their representations, resources, time, credentials, experience, knowledge, expertise, qualifications, certifications, and responsibilities.

Would you question the methods made by doctors, lawyers or accountants?  No.

Just as you have respect for who they are, you should have the same respect for translators and interpreters.


Because translators and interpreters are professionals too.  They are specialists who have years of education and experience, they have earned credentials and are experts in their fields.

2.  Quality And Value Are Standard

Quality and value are assured when the professional translators and interpreters work within their expertise, qualifications, experience, and knowledge.

Professional translators and interpreters convey meaning faithfully, accurately, and impartially, while always keeping and protecting privileged and confidential information. 

How To Tell Apart The Professional Translators And Interpreters From The Not-So-Professional |

A professional translator provides you with value and quality publish-ready work every time.  

Providing value and quality translations and interpretations are the standard for professional translators and interpreters.

3. Professional Fees

An employee is generally guaranteed a regular wage amount hourly, weekly or other determined period of time.  

An independent contractor, also known as a freelancer, is usually paid a flat fee for their service.  

Could you approach doctors or lawyers for services and dictate their fees?  No. 

As you already know, specialists and professionals get paid more, not less.

Their knowledge, tools and experience makes them work faster and provide better quality.

Each translation and interpretation project comes with its own specific requirements (cultural background, language pair, credentials, regionalisms, specialization, expertise, type of service, and much more) for which there are a limited amount of qualified professional translators and interpreters, which is why each professional establishes his or her own fee.  

How To Tell Apart The Professional Translators And Interpreters From The Not-So-Professional |

Translators and interpreters are business owners which means they spend time and money on administrative tasks, equipment, pension, health insurance, rent, marketing, association memberships, insurance,  accounting, sick days, vacation, and ongoing professional development just to name a few.

Furthermore, in the case of a professional translator and interpreter, a fee per job, per-word or hourly is an internal matter, professionals use a confidential formula to calculate a fee for a given project.

4.  Continued Professional Development

All professionals are on a continuous learning curve and no one translator or interpreter knows it all.  

Language is dynamic, a living, and evolving organism, with new words, phrases, slang terms, and expressions added daily.

Just as you would expect lawyers to be up-to-date with laws, doctors with new diseases, methods, treatments, surgery, medicine, and the like, the same applies to translators and interpreters.  

Professional translators and interpreters are life-long learners of their craft, language, and service.

They regularly attend conferences, classes, courses, training, events, programs, webinars, and much more to keep up-to-date, sharpen their skills, and never stop learning.

How To Tell Apart The Professional Translators And Interpreters From The Not-So-Professional |

As the client, you should seek translators and interpreters who are true professional, who have received formal education and follow good business practices.

5. Specializations and Areas of Expertise

As mentioned on point 4, no one translator or interpreter knows everything about each subject.  

In reality the list of areas of expertise and specializations is a vast one with each genre having sub-genres and those with sub-genres of their own and so on.  

Every translator and interpreter must know, understand, memorize, and use specialized vocabulary in at least two languages.

This is very difficult because the majority of the terms are not used in the everyday language.

For this reason and many others true professional translators and interpreters specialize and become experts in several fields not all of them.

As you can easily see, it is vital for you to know the difference between professional translators and interpreter from those not-so-professional.


Because it can mean the difference between a misunderstanding and clear communication.

We have only examined five key elements that separate the professionals from the not-so-professionals.

What if you already found a professional translators or interpreter to work with, what now?

On my next blog we will discuss a few translation and interpretation client tips.

Need to find a professional translator or interpreter?

Where do you find that perfect translator or interpreter who will communicate your message correctly?  eLingual.Net is a great place to start!  We will help connect you directly with translators and interpreters who match your needs.

Unlike traditional translator and interpretation job marketplaces where jobs are auctioned off or given to a middleman, eLingual.Net works to find you the most qualified professional translators or interpreters in our network. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. You provide what's important to you in your job description.
  2. We'll recommend your job to members with the right skills and experience based on their profile.
  3. You get a qualified applicant pool to choose from.

Feel free to connect or email me, Carmen Arismendy.  I'm a professional Spanish interpreter-translator and founder of eLingual.Net.  I started the eLingual Network because I could not find a fair, no middleman, no job bidding, ethical and transparent meeting place for translators, interpreters and clients online.  The website is in beta phase and by no means perfect but it's a step in the right direction.
eLingual.Net's mission is to spread happiness worldwide through happy translators, interpreters and clients.
For the professional translator and interpreter, this means no middleman, no job bidding, the freedom of setting their own fees, having control over their services, and who they choose to work with.
For the clients, this means working directly with ethical and professional translators and interpreters committed to quality and value.
Join our happy community, let's work together!

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