How to spot an incompetent translator

translatorsThose specialists that work with translators on a daily basis in the course of their job know how to quickly tell a professional from a fraud and not waste time on reading the CV and the test for the translator. This is why quite often, people refuse to work with translators…because he or she doesn’t have the necessary skills or experience or is just unable to describe them properly in their CV. Pity, really, because there are so many resources out there now for writing a good, well-written resume. Here are the 3 basic things translators should avoid if they don’t want to scare the clients away:

  1. Late reply. Time is a crucial factor, because many clients need a translation as soon as possible. Sometimes, a client can’t even wait a few hours, let alone days. That is why a late reply is an obvious sign of unprofessionalism. If a translator makes such an impression right away and can’t respond to a client’s expectations, this says that he is going to act the same way further down the line. Responsibility is the key quality of a professional. If a person states in his or her CV that he or she is a translator that works full-time, a client has a reasonable idea that this person is behind a computer during the day and can (perhaps not right away) respond to a potential client’s request. If a translator needs a whole day to reply, he is unlikely to be interested in clients. The only impression left is irresponsibility. It’s better to find a responsible specialist than to hope to change an irresponsible one.
  1. Odd questions that are a testament to the lack of competency. If somebody is acting strange and is afraid to admit it, that someone is likely to be incompetent. For example, when requesting a glossary, a translator requests it to be in the translation memory format, although the glossary can be separate and if desired, the translator can translate it himself in the TMX format by using Xbench, for instance. And another. How do I translate a sentence with tags? One translator offered to split a sentence into parts (where the tags were) and translate each part separately. I applaud them.
  1. Requests and fuss. This is perhaps the most important factor. If, after receiving an order, the first thing translator says is that how he doesn’t trust that you’d pay for his work, can you really trust his help in a difficult situation? Would anybody want to work with such a person?

Such a reaction usually makes a client lose interest in the translator. All that is, of course, subjective, but it doesn’t hurt to follow your gut when choosing a specialist. Translators, both beginners and experienced, are ought to remember that, because most of them only have one chance in retaining a client.