Finding a good translator can be challenging. Before you think of what makes a good translator, you should first consider what counts as an excellent German translation. Given the differences between German and, English direct word-to-word translations don’t count as good translations. To convey your message’s intended meaning and tone, you need translators with an excellent command of both languages, accuracy, and understanding.
English versus German
Understanding the differences between English and German can be quite beneficial before you hire any German translators. English is a Germanic language that developed when Anglo-Saxon migrants moved from Northwest Germany into Britain. With its German roots, you would think that translating it would be easy; however, this isn’t the case. Modern English varies significantly from the old English that the Anglo-Saxon migrants spoke. The evolution of the English language caused significant differences between it and German.
For instance, they both share the same sounding words known as cognates. These words describe the same things; for example, ‘haus’ is German for ‘house.’ Some words are even spelt the same in both languages, such as baby, jet, or hotel. However, these similarities have given rise to false cognates. These are words that sound familiar but have different meanings. The most confusing thing about false German cognates is that they are spelt the same as their English counterparts. For instance, in German, gift means poison instead of a present. This makes it quite hard for non-native or inexperienced translators to translate between these two languages. Given these and other differences, here are some questions you can ask.
1. Are they Native German Speakers?
Given the complexities of the languages involved using a native German speaker, you will get a translation that sounds natural to your target audience. A native German speaker has been continually exposed to and had used German since they were a child. While this isn’t enough to certify them as translators, it gives them a deeper understanding of the language, nuances, and practical uses. With a native speaker as a translator, you are more likely to get quality and accurate translations.
2. What are their Qualifications?
Being a native German speaker is not enough to make them great translators. Find out what other qualifications they have. While formal translation training is not a must, having some form of certification elevates them from other translators. It proves that they took the time to hone their skill. That said, certificates alone are not enough; they must have the expertise to back it up. A degree in translation doesn’t guarantee that they will provide quality services. A non-degreed translator with ten years of experience is a better bet. However, if you combine the two, you can get a real gem.
3. Do they have the Specialized Knowledge you need?
Every industry or region has its customs, terminology, slang, and practices. When looking for a German translation agency, find one with some experience or a strong understanding of your target audience. For instance, if you are in the engineering industry, you want to find a translator that knows which terms are translated and adopted. If you are marketing to women, your translator needs to be aware of cultural norms when translating content. This boosts their credibility and understanding of the source material and saves you from making costly mistakes.
4. Do they offer Transcreation services?
Due to the differences in these languages, the translated copy and the original content must convey the same message. However, sometimes for your message to elicit the same reaction in different markets, it has to be specifically adapted to them. For instance, if your story is about football or soccer, it will be well-received in Germany and other countries where soccer is a beloved sport. However, in India, cricket is a lot more popular than soccer. Adapting your story to include cricket instead of soccer might help your Indian audience relate better to it. Transcreation requires more investment than basic translation. However, the results are more effective at communicating your core message to your ideal demographic than word for word translation.
A quality translation service must offer client support before and after translation services. They must understand the logistical and technical aspects and constraints involved in every project, so they can anticipate and manage your translation needs as quickly as possible. As one of life’s immutable rules, you can only get two things at once: fast, fair, and cheap. This also applies to translation. You can only get a translator that has two out of the three qualities. If they are fast and right, they are not cheap. If they are quick and affordable, they are not right. You get what you pay for. With these queries in hand, you are ready to find the best German translators.