7 Habits Of Highly Effective Translators

Choosing a Translator can be tricky.

Because you’re not always sure what you’re looking for. You’re probably asking yourself the same questions, over and over:

  • What makes a good translator or a bad one?
  • Do I need to outsource, or can I get someone who just speaks the language?
  • How will I know that it says exactly what I want it to say?

Which are normal concerns to have. Trust me, I deal with them every day. And it’s always worrying to know if your money is going in the right place.

But it doesn’t have to be. At least not any more.

In this article I want to show you what I’ve learned from working with hundred’s of Translators over the years.

You’ll see what habits make up a highly effective translator, and what you should be looking for in them. And where you can hire them.

Sound good?


#1: They Make It Fit For Purpose

Languages aren’t a straight swap word-for-word . Unlike what Google Translate would have you believe.


When you try it that way, it comes out like something you’d hear on the way home from the pub at 4am. Something that you think you understand, but doesn’t really make sense.

Effective Translators recognise this and approach it in a ‘functional’ manner. Making the text say what you’re trying to say as clearly, and simply, as possible.

That means you never have to worry about someone getting the wrong end of the stick. 

#2: They Don’t Hijack Your Text

Translation is always open to interpretation. Like I just mentioned, it’s all about being fit for purpose.

But, that comes with it’s own problems.

Some translators and interpreters change words to fit their worldview and convey their own messages or beliefs. Even just the slightest tweak can be the difference between someone understanding what you’re saying – and becoming offended.

Effective ones can separate themselves from what’s being said. Because they know it isn’t being translated for them; it’s being translated for you.

And you want clear, crisp translation that says what you want it to say. After all, that’s why you hired them, right?


#3: They’re Constantly Growing And Changing

Have you ever heard the old police cliché, “Crime doesn’t take a vacation”?

It’s something people used to say to me whenever I tried to book any holidays when I was in the police.

But, in a way, it’s true. Crime never stops. Which is why research and development for the police is such a big player.

The same goes for Languages.

They don’t stop. The way you speak is always changing.

In fact, on average 1,000 new words are to the Oxford English Dictionary every year. That means over 32,000 words have been added in my lifetime.

Effective linguists – interpreters and translators – stay on top of these changes.

They’re always developing themselves, and staying immersed in the language. So that when it comes time to use it, everything they write is up to date, even to the finest details. 


#4: They’re Culturally Aware

For an Effective Translator, knowing the language isn’t enough. They want to know the person at the other end.

Not only do different words, phrases and sayings not translate well to other countries. They can even be offensive or against their cultures.

Being aware of who the reader at the other end is, and what they would like to read, makes all the difference to your results.

And your brand grows even stronger in the process.


#5: They Follow The 3 P’s…

All effective translators and interpreters follow these three simple P’s:

  • Punctual: They’re never You can’t be an effective translator if you’re not there, can you?
  • Prepared: They’re organised. There’s no missed paperwork, or anything left on the kitchen table. They do everything they need to so the work is done right.
  • Professional: From the shoes they wear, to how they present their work. Everything is done to the highest possible standard they can deliver.

It sounds simple. And, it’s what you would expect from your own staff. But you would be surprised how often these are overlooked in the freelance world.

#6: They’re Always Trustworthy

The work you’re having translated means a lot to you.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a legal document, a personal piece, or anything in between.

It’s got your name on it and you want the work doing right. So you need to be able to trust the person you’re handing it over to.

An effective translator knows this; and they do everything they can to earn it.

Whether that’s:

  • Sending a quick e-mail giving you an update
  • Being transparent in what it is they’ve done
  • Simply making a personal connection with you

They go out of their way to make sure that you not only know your document is with the right person, but with someone you like and trust, too.


#7: We Employed Them…

We wouldn’t put our name behind someone we didn’t trust.

And we definitely wouldn’t call them part of our family.

You can consider the Debonair Languages name the gold-standard seal of approval for anybody in the industry. Because we won’t work with just anyone.

We only work with the most effective language professionals you can find.

The six habits you just read about, they’re our minimum requirement for anybody looking to work with us.

Not only are they employed on these standards, they’re required to keep them for as long as they work with is. That way we can ensure you’re getting:

  • Effective
  • Honest
  • Trustworthy
  • Punctual

Translators each end every time you book a job with us.

So, want to see just how effective our linguists are? Contact us now and see how we can put our money where our mouth is…

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