Free English to Spanish Translation Guide: Choosing a Translator for English Spanish Translations

This is Part 2 of the English Spanish Translations Guide series on choosing a Spanish translator. Click here to go to Part 1. At the bottom of the page, you will find more resources, including a Spanish translation pricing guide.

Free English to Spanish Translation Guide: What to look for in a Spanish Translator - Part 2

In some cases, you will need a translator with a background in the subject matter of your translation. This depends on the difficulty of understanding the original document and what the translation is for.

It is very important that your Spanish translator can fully understand the original text. If your text has just a few technical words that the translator can find in a dictionary, then you may not need a specialist. However, many legal or technical documents deal with concepts that are difficult to understand for someone who is not a lawyer, engineer, scientist, etc.

If the translator doesn't understand your text, you are almost guaranteed that he or she will not translate it correctly.

Unless the translation is just for your personal use, you also probably want the proper technical terminology to be used in the final language. Again, ask yourself if this is something that can be accomplished with research and dictionaries, or if you need a specialist. Anyone can look up a couple of technical terms in Italian. But not everyone can write a contract in Spanish the way a lawyer would.

(Do you need a subject area specialist for your English Spanish translations? Find out in this Free English Spanish Translation Guide series.)

"I’ve translated a lot of contracts, mostly for the media industry because I worked with contracts in that field (I had to negotiate acquisitions in English, Spanish and sometimes French), so I’m familiar with the terminology used in that field. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable translating – actually, I’ve often refused to translate – something to do with a hedge fund and that kind of thing. You really do need someone who knows about finance for that."

- Eva Obregon, English-Spanish Translator

More from Eva in the Free English to Spanish Translation Guide

For highly technical translations, we'd suggest looking for someone who has actually worked or studied in the relevant field -- someone who has a law degree, or who has worked as an engineer, etc. If it is not possible to find someone with this background who is also a translator, then try to have the translation edited by a specialist at the end.

Be careful of translators who list seventeen "areas of specialization." This type of translator is not really a specialist. On the other hand, if the translator is highly specialized in just one area, such as medical translations, that is a good sign that the translator might have significant experience in that area.

Go to Part 3 of this article: Tests, References, Credentials

Return to Part 1 of this article: Language, Location, Culture

More Free English to Spanish Translation Resources

Choosing the right translation agency

Free English to Spanish Translation Price Guide

Project management for English Spanish translations

Go to the main Free English to Spanish Translations category page.

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