How to find a translator

Starting with a translation project: should I work with an independent translator or with a translation company?

What is the best way to find a translation company or a translator?

Search engines

Advantages: fast, convenient.

Disadvantages: inefficient: have to sift through links to free online translators (machine translation), potential difficulty evaluating results (SEO optimization vs translation quality), need criteria for selecting companies/translators to contact.

How to find a translator or a translation companies: different approaches

Online directories of translation associations

Examples: ATA (both independent professionals and companies), BDÜ (independent professionals), or chapters and affiliated groups of such organizations, for instance, Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters

Advantages: easy to use: can search by specialization, location, language pair. Such directories only list association members that are committed to profession and continuing professional development.

Disadvantages: time-consuming and potentially confusing: have to determine criteria, evaluate search results, send out requests for additional information.

What should one consider when choosing a translator or a translation agency: some useful resources

Specialized websites for translation professionals

Examples: or

Advantages: easy to use, includes an advanced search option and an option to post an assignment and evaluate applicants instead of browsing profiles. Also includes additional options for reviewing candidates: customers' reviews, translation samples.

Disadvantages: time-consuming and potentially confusing: have to determine criteria, evaluate results, send requests for additional information or, in case of a job posting, evaluate responses and choose the best candidate based on the predetermined criteria.

The main problem: determining selection criteria

Caution recommended

General websites for freelancers

Examples: elance or odesk

Advantages: convenience for job posting, integrated payment system, streamlined process.

Disadvantages: no barrier to entry (anyone can participate), qualifications/quality verifiable only through reviews (verifiable? objective?), time-consuming and potentially confusing – still need to vet applicants and select the most suitable freelancer or company.

In the next article I'll discuss possible selection criteria for choosing the right translator for your project.

Other blog topics

Ekaterina Howard: business, marketing and real estate translations from English to Russian and from German to Russian

Ekaterina Howard, Pinwheel Translations

English to Russian and German to Russian translator working with business, marketing and real estate materials. ATA and CATI member.