The 6 Do's and 6 Don'ts Before Working With Professional Translators And Interpreters

Translation and Interpretation Client Tips |

Working with Professional Translators and Interpreters

So once you understand how to tell the difference between professional translators and interpreters from the not-so-professional, how do you proceed initiating work with a real professional?

Here are a few tips on business practice do's and don'ts before working with a professional translator or interpreter.

Note: In this post you will encounter many comparisons of translators and interpreters to doctors, lawyers and similar professionals.

The 6 Do's and Don'ts Before Working with Professional Translators and Interpreters |

Client Tip No. 1

DON'T: Treat Professional Translation and Interpretation Services as a Commodity

If you are seeking translation and interpretation services, you must understand that translators and interpreters are specialized professionals.  

Professional translation and interpretation services are not products, but services; products are sold in units, services on a fee.

Translators and interpreters are not factory workers and words are not products.  

Professional translations and interpretations are not a cheap commodity but rather a service of value and quality.

DO: Treat Professional Translators and Interpreters Offering a Service as Professionals

The 6 Do's and Don'ts Before Working with Professional Translators and Interpreters |

Client Tip No. 2

DON'T: Expect Discounts.

You might want a discount in exchange for plenty of work; but, does that really make any sense?

What if your boss was happy with your job and offered to give you overtime as long as your hourly rate was lowered?  Would that be acceptable to you?

Do you get any discounts whenever a lawyer writes any document and uses repeated phrases or sentences?

Does a doctor give discounts to patients coming in with the same ailments?

Would an accountant give you a discount because the profit and loss statement was an easy, simple, or straightforward one?


So why would you expect discounts from other professional services like those of a professional translator or interpreter?

Isn't it true that when you go out shopping, the store simply displays its price (reduced or not) and if you are not happy with the price, then you go elsewhere?  

In a similar fashion, translation and interpretation service fees are set by the professional and if you are not happy with the fee, then you can go elsewhere.

It is common business practice to apply discounts to goods, but keep in mind that this is not usually the case for professional services like lawyers, doctors, accountants, translators, and interpreters.

It is up to the professional if they wish to grant any discounts.

DO: Expect Value, Quality, and Professionalism for the Fee You Pay a Professional Translator and Interpreter.

The 6 Do's and Don'ts Before Working with Professional Translators and Interpreters |

Client Tip No. 3.

DON'T: Expect to Lower Fees or Impose an Impossible Deadline

Now, imagine you are in a law firm asking for a 'breach of contract', which will cost you $200, but you offer to pay the lawyer only $20 because the fee was too high for your budget and the reduced price was more affordable.  

Would the lawyer agree to this?

Or, if you told a doctor, "I need an easy and quick kidney transplant operation on the cheap."  

Would a doctor, lawyer or accountant be insulted with such demands, even if it were easy for them to do?

You must recognize that just like a professional lawyer or doctor is highly priced, professional translators and interpreters are worth the fee they decide.

In fact, many professional translators and interpreters take longer to perfect their craft than other professionals.

Professional translators and interpreters provide you a service for a fee which they find fair and acceptable.

They are business owners and set their own fees and they decide if they are willing to negotiate.

Only the professional knows how much they need to make a living, save for retirement, and make a profit.

After they review your jobs details, they are the ones who will be able to inform you of their fee and feasible delivery time for their services, on which they can guarantee quality.

You are left to decide if you can afford it or not.

DO: Remember You Get What You Pay For

The 6 Do's and Don'ts Before Working with Professional Translators and Interpreters |

Client Tip No. 4

DON'T: Support Bad Business Practices

We are all for a free market and everyone loves a good deal but at what cost?

At the cost of supporting bad business practices?

At the cost of supporting unprofessional and unethical individuals or companies?

Instead support a free market that is fair, ethical, and transparent.

This ensures the best professional translator and interpreter for your job.

DO: Support Good, Fair, Ethical, Transparent, and Professional Business Practices

The 6 Do's and Don'ts Before Working with Professional Translators and Interpreters |

Client Tip No. 5

DON'T: Ask for Free Work

Also known as a free test.

Do you ask a doctor for a free visit?

Or a lawyer for a free hour of work?  

Do you ask an electrician for a free sample light switch installation?  

Or an accountant for a sample monthly income report?  

If professional translator and interpreter did free sample work.   They would agree that with a series of free 'samples' translations or interpretations, you could get a job done for nothing, and that is not fair, nor ethical.

Do: Ask to See Previous Work, Portfolio, CV, Recommendations, Reviews, or Pay for a Sample of Work

The 6 Do's and Don'ts Before Working with Professional Translators and Interpreters |

Client Tip No. 6

DON'T: Assume You Set, All, Some or Any Policies or Procedures

Do you notify your credit card company of a desired payment policy you wish them to follow?

Or set the deadline or payment schedule for a lawyer or doctor?  

You must always remember, professionals are business owners and they are not your personal employee.  

You cannot impose on their professional policies or procedures, it is the job of the professional to set their own terms of service.

DO:  Negotiate or Suggest Reasonable Requests. Ultimately The Professional Will Decide Whether to Grant or Deny Such Requests.

Lastly Remember...

A professional freelancer is, by definition, free to set his or her own fee.  

You do not decide the fee of the professional, but rather decide to look for a more suitable fee you can afford.

Or if the professional is willing to negotiate, that's up to the individual translator or interpreter.

Although there are a limited number of very simple jobs that a bilingual person may be able to do without the help of a professional, there are far more complex jobs that must and should be handled only by a professional translator or interpreter.

The bottom line is...there are many cheap imitators and so called "professionals" that lack the skills, expertise, education, and experience to deliver quality services; but, there are far less professional translators and interpreters who are qualified, certified, experienced, able to deliver on time consistent high quality work on a particular specialization and have expert command of a determined language pair.

How do you find that perfect qualified or certified translator or interpreter who will communicate your message correctly?  

eLingual.Net is a great place to start.

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!

Popular posts from this blog

Quotes On Translation And Interpretation

Marketing For Translators And Interpreters, Part 2 of 3: Offline & Online