The professional translator – for those who don’t want adventure

We return to the theme of “adventurousness” with more details on what “professional translator” means. This way, without having the experience of working with a translation company employing translators on a regular basis, it will be easier for you to find your way around the Romanian translator market and you won’t have to take unwanted risks.

How do you recognise a professional translator?

Who can you trust? How can you tell from the very first sight whether you are dealing with a serious translator or with an amateur?

A professional translator promotes themselves professionally

First of all, a professional translator doesn’t advertise with classifieds on obscure websites, among cat adoption ads or second-hand household appliance sales. Nor do they leave you flyers in your mailbox, nor stickers posted in the bus stop.

Professionals may have recurring contracts and, if they’ve already gained experience, they know how to get customers. So they won’t be willing to promote themselves just anywhere. A professional advertisement denotes someone who knows the market well and has made an effort to reach their target audience with relevant information. Professionals either post coherent, complete and well-written advertisements on specialised websites or list themselves as authorised translators with a telephone number and e-mail address.

This way, you can make an assessment even before contacting the translator, just by the content of their ad and the place/way it was posted.

The professional translator is accredited, certified, attested

When you ask for a quote, it is normal for professional translators to provide you with an official form of accreditation and to recommend themselves as translators. They may be certified (with a stamp), specialised in a particular field or just a language graduate (which requires a diploma or at least a professional certificate).

A simple speaker of a language is not the same as a translator who can deal with texts on specialised subjects and complex terminology.

If you can check their work, pay close attention to the language-specific details that not every colloquial speaker is aware of. For example, in English, the days of the week and months of the year are capitalized. In German, certain words are written with ‘ß’ (scharfes S – mandatory for proper names), while others are written with ‘ss’ (in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and most common nouns in Germany).

A professional translator has a portfolio

It’s natural to wonder in suspicion if the person in question has no document to prove their skills, given that it’s not that hard or expensive to take a test that only takes a few hours, when they claim they want to develop a career in the field.

But don’t get us wrong – you may also meet people who have a perfect command of the language but have never bothered to go through all the formalities. In this case, the proof will be the professional experience they have gained:

  • letters of recommendation,
  • a portfolio of clients (unless they have worked under a confidentiality clause),
  • works translated in the past and published.

But either way, the lack of any credible attestation carries risks.

The professional translator is rigorous, and not just with the translations they work on

The offer they send you in writing or the way they expresses themselves on the phone and in person shows how well they have mastered their native (Romanian) language first and foremost. This way you can get an idea about the person without having to check their work in foreign languages, especially if you don’t speak those languages. And if you need a translation from a source language into Romanian, it is essential to make sure that the translator can write very well in their own language. The fact that they use diacritics in emails is always an argument in their favour as professionals.

The professional translator communicates

Also, don’t overlook the fact that a professional translator doesn’t disappear suddenly as soon as they received the document or some of the money. Throughout the work, the professional knows how to communicate with the client and keeps in touch regarding deadlines, key terms, domain-specific expressions or possible explanations. So if they suddenly stop answering the phone or emails, you have every right to worry that they won’t deliver your translation on time or that they will work on it inadequately.

The translator’s accumulated experience also has this advantage – they have learned how to deal with clients, how to explain concepts in a way that makes sense to them and how to deliver on time without neglecting the client relationship.

The price can’t be too low

Ultimately, the price the translator charges reflects not only the difficulty of the work, but also their own experience and training. If you notice a significant discrepancy between their price and the market’s, this is not a cause for joy, but for concern. Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule, such as the occasional special price offered for a very large volume of work or for a recurring contract.

Do you need a tax invoice?

The professional translator must be willing to work under a legal form of collaboration, whether it is an individual contract or a service contract, in which case they can also issue a tax invoice. If the translator does not have a legal form of organisation (PFA, company or does not even agree to a contract between the parties), you should consider whether it is worth collaborating with them.

However, very low prices often raise questions about the quality of the work.


If you want to know more about the profile of professional translation companies, read our next article!

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