Top 3 tips for finding a French to English translator who knows their onions

How to pick a French to English translation service from the options available in 2022

If you’re looking for a quality translation of your French texts in English, but are not sure where to start, then look no further. I’ll set out what you need to look for as quickly as I can, after having been in the industry for 20 years.

1. Look for membership of a translation association

These are standard for professional translators, with trade magazines, forums, meetups and much more, including options for CPD in translation.

Membership can be checked on the websites of the ATA (USA), ITI and CIoL (UK) as well as the major associations for each country (SFO for Sweden, SFT for France etc.)

I am a member of Chartered Institute of Linguists, have been for over a decade, and write for the magazine The Linguist regularly. I’ve held webinars and try to keep in touch with the community where possible, although I could do better on that front!

2. Look for your target language as their native language

By this I mean that they should translate into their mother tongue. This is the standard among professional translators and a big red flag if browsing the less quality-focused areas of the web. There are of course exceptions, but these are usually made very clear by the translator.

They should also be experienced in your subject matter, or at least in an adjacent industry and be able to quickly adapt and research your specific terms and concepts.

3. Beware of going straight to a translation agency

There’s a good chance you’ll pay more for the cheapest translator on the books, with intense downward pressure on translation prices among freelancers, with many agencies not raising their rates yet above 90s levels. And then of course pocketing the difference.

You also run the risk of little consideration being given to your text beyond draft translation and cursory proofread. Industry vocabulary, terms and consistency with your brand are only considered when multiple team members are called into play within the agency, driving up costs where an experienced freelancer can do all of this on the fly with direct contact for any questions they may have.

So there you have it. 3 tips for finding a French to English (or Swedish to English, I cover both!) translator in 2022.

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Thanks for reading. I do translation from French and Swedish to English, so if that's useful to you, feel free to connect and message me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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