Tag: freelancing

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How top translation agencies select the best translators

Translation

person wearing brown and white watchIn this tough economic climate, countries must attract world audiences in order to meet business goals and ensure continuous profit. This is why high quality and fast translations are all the more important. Businesses often entrust translation agencies with this feat, who in turn must hire talented and specialized translators. The market is full of qualified language professionals, so the real challenge is finding the right ones by submitting applicants to rigorous hiring procedures.

How translation agencies assess industry knowledge and experience

Translators with all levels of experience have a place in this industry, though most vendors look for at least two years of proven work. Though the more years the better, translators with less experience aren’t in any less demand, as they generally work for slightly lower fees, making them desired commodities. Novice translators may be great at providing machine translation post-editing, while a veteran may be more apt for literary translations.

The bottom line for many agencies is that the translator should have at least 500,000 translated words during the course of their translation career.

A good translation background is only one side of the token. Vendors also look for valuable and hands-on industry experience in their field of specialization. This will ensure that delivered texts are more contextually appropriate and not written about in theory or only based on research. Those who lack that insider knowledge should make an effort to take part in webinars, read articles, master the jargon, and keep their knowledge up to speed.

A language service provider that focuses heavily on software, app and game localization may require the translator to play the game in question prior to translation. As a result, those who are not necessarily specialists are immersed in the product in order to provide the best texts. IT translators must be very knowledgeable about the topic to even qualify to do translations in this sector.

Vendors will also ask for examples of past translation work, references and a short CV with the most crucial information. They examine the translator’s portfolio carefully to ensure they fit the bill.

Computer skills: why linguistic affinity is not enough

In addition to translation and industry experience, technology plays a huge role. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, cloud platforms, tools for editing files in different encodings and machine translation software are a central part of the work. This is why translation companies usually ask for experience with more than one of these tools. In addition, the localization of websites, software, apps and games often require advanced IT and developer knowledge by both the translator and the translation agency.

Educational background

Do translation agencies prefer a university degree and other types of certification?

Education is a big part of a translator’s success and having the right set of credentials is important to recruiters. Without vocational training, aspiring translators may find it hard to land jobs.

However, there are many cases where people have worked years within a specific industry, like in medicine or marketing, who transition to translation by learning the trade through various online translation courses. Next, they apply for a translator certification from a recognized association.

At many language service providers, both university-trained and industry specialists are accepted. Successful translation agencies tend to only work with native speakers who translate into their mother tongue. They must also be fluent in the source languages.

How do translation agencies test freelancers?

There are two parts of the testing process: the actual translation test itself and questions about methodology and technology used by the candidate. Translation agencies may well ask the translator to complete the test within a cloud platform such as Crowdin. The quality of the test determines the hiring (or not) of the candidate. The best practice is to use a translation quality assessment to grade tests.

The Translation Quality Index is a quality assessment model originally created by the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA), and it is based on quantitative assessment. Errors are divided into categories; each error is weighted. The weighted total number of errors is then subtracted from 100.

Usually translators are not interviewed, unless for an in-house position. The questions are therefore asked in the translation test. Some questions that a hiring or localization manager will ask are:

● How did you localize the content into your target language? What cultural and
situational elements did you consider?
● How long did it take to complete the translation?
● Which tools/dictionaries did they use to do the translation?
● Do they have any relevant comments regarding the texts or a section of the
text/word that they found difficult to translate?

How to test creativity and writing skills

In the case of transcreators or copywriters, and for certain types of translations, vendors also need to test the creative writing skills that a translator would have. They would need to take an original text and ensure that the target text they are creating is highly localized and readable for the target audience. Sometimes a lot of imagination goes into this type of work — like in order to convey humor.

Translation recruiting platforms

Many large translation agencies use platforms such as SmartCat to manage freelance talent. This slightly less personal approach is due to the fact that companies of large size simply cannot handle the sea of freelance applications.

There are small or medium-sized agencies that are able to apply a more personalized and human approach. They have added confidence in their translators, who in turn lend a hand in promoting optimal quality assurance. The translation agency can find and assign the right translators to the right tasks based on individual expertise.

In sum

By assessing education, credentials, experience, industry knowledge and computer skills, translation agencies are able to hire the best talent for their projects. This, along with quality assurance methods, guarantees the high quality of the work their translators and other freelancers are able to deliver. Companies are then treated with highly localized and accurate texts for new international audiences in order to maintain business goals throughout any tough economic situation.

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Loïe Favre is a localization expert at Alconost, a US localization company that specializes in software, apps and game translations whose aim is to disseminate useful information about the translation industry for language professionals, localization managers and companies. Originally from Canada, she has worked for ten years as a translator and translation manager.

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Creating a workspace for your home-based localization business

freelancing

space for home businessThe localization industry is built on freelancers and small businesses started from home. Sometimes, though, working from home can be challenging. Having a dedicated workspace can help.

However, it can take some planning and patience to create a functional workspace. 

When you need a lot of extra space…

If business is booming for your home-based business, then you may need to up the ante when it comes to creating more workspace. Instead of spending a fortune on leasing that extra space, however, consider these ideas for expanding your home’s potential.

Buy a new home

This is a drastic step for finding some additional workspace, but if you think that you may be ready to buy a new home, you can use home-buying guides to simplify the process. These useful guides will give you all of the tips and tools you need to determine a new home budget, apply for home loans, locate a local realtor, and get started with your home search.

Convert a garage

Do you have extra room in your garage? If so, you can convert it into a dreamy studio or home office space. You can start by clearing out any clutter and then making your garage space more functional, with better lighting and convenient access to the rest of your home. 

Update an attic  

When folks look for ways to create more space for their home-based business, they also tend to look at attic conversions. Turning an attic into a productive home workspace can be a simple project, depending on your business needs. You may still need a contractor for more complex work, like installing outlets or hanging sheetrock, but it will be a worthwhile business investment.

Invest in a shed

If you have some spare space in your yard, you could always buy a shed to serve as your new home office. Sheds can have some serious potential for functioning as living space, so there’s no reason why you can’t convert a shed or outdoor building into a stylish home workspace that helps you continue expanding your home-based business

When you need more affordable options…

If you are a freelancer who is just getting started or who runs a tight budget, you may need more economical ways to create the productive workspace you need to thrive.

Use a spare closet

When you don’t have a lot of money or space to spare for your new home office, you may need to get a little more creative. For instance, you can fit a stylish workspace into an empty closet in your home, with minimum expense or effort involved. Just add a small desk or a low-cost shelf, and you have a workspace that is just as attractive as it is cost-effective for your budget.

Transform a corner

If you have an empty corner in your current home, you can also makeover that small space into an upgraded home workspace. Use the same design tips mentioned above to transform your spare corner into a stylish new office. Of course, you will need a new desk to complete this project as well, but you can snag a fashionable and functional desk for $100 or even less.

Give rooms more purpose

If you are working with limited space, you may need to think about finding ways to use one of your current rooms for both work and downtime. While it may not be optimal, there are effective ways to fit an office into your bedroom and still stay productive during the day and stay relaxed at night. If you want to maximize your living space, you can also look for convertible and compact office furniture, such as fold-up desks or versatile standing desks.

The steps needed to create your perfect new home workspace will depend on your business needs and budgets. But hopefully, the tips and tricks above will help you figure out what you need to do in order to build a new workspace that will help boost your home-based business.

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Tina Martin stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

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