A simple search on Google will instantly bombard you with 318,000,000 results. If you're not sure where to start, you've come to the right place.
Many of our clients have reached out to us about their challenges in finding the right talents to assist with their translation projects.
Hence, we created this resource to share where you can find a translator online and how you can approach the hiring process smoothly from screening to onboarding.
- Where can I find a translator?
- Online Language Service Providers (LSP)
- Freelance Talent Marketplaces
- Translator Communities
- How much does it cost to hire a translator?
- What should I consider when looking for a translator?
- How do I integrate translators for hire into my usual workflow?
- Do I actually need to use a translation management system?
Where can I find a translator?
You can easily find a translator from online sources. We’ve divided this compilation into four main categories. Click on any title to jump to the section:
- Online Language Service Providers (LSP)
- Freelance Talent Marketplaces
- Translator Communities
Online Language Service Providers
Language service providers (LSP) support businesses in connecting with their global audiences. Their services may include translation, transcreation, copywriting, and proofreading - anything that relates to cross-cultural communication.
Here are 10 popular LSPs you can find online today:
- Day Translations
- Mars Translations
- The Word Point
Lionbridge is an American company that offers regulated and certified translation services in five industries: banking and finance, games, industrial manufacturing, legal services, and life sciences.
Established in 1996, they claim to be fluent in more than 350 languages, having collaborated with 500,000 experts in various sectors.
Pros & Cons
LanguageLine is another American company that provides document translation in more than 240 languages. They cover different industries like healthcare, legal, education, and business.
Being in the industry for 30 years, they also offer interpretation services, which can be done on site, over the phone, or through video.
Pros & Cons
Gengo is an online translation agency with over 1,000 certified translators worldwide.
You can find a translator here with confidence as their freelancers must pass the Gengo translator test before joining the agency.
Translation rates are calculated based on the number of words.
Pros & Cons
Based in the United Kingdom and established in 2015, Speakt is a rapidly growing online company that offers translations in 35 languages.
Pros & Cons
5. Day Translations
Founded in 2007, Day Translations is staffed by certified professionals who provide translation and interpretation services in over 100 languages.
Pros & Cons
Founded in 2007 by Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes aims to help businesses overcome language barriers and expand their market with quality translations.
They offer their translation and localization services in more than 120 languages across various sectors. Some examples are legal, marketing, technology, and finance.
Pros & Cons
Translated has been delivering professional translations and custom localization solutions since 1999. Some of their services include Google Ads translation, website and software localization, and multilingual chatbots.
They've developed a unique system known as T-Rank™️, which matches your project with the most suitable translator based on over 30 factors.
Pros & Cons
Nitro is an online platform where you can order translations in 60 languages from native-speaking professional translators.
Orders are made on a self-serve basis whereby you input your text, write down any instructions to the translator, and then pay for your order.
The platform was by Alconost back in 2003, a company that does localization for websites, software, apps, and games.
Pros & Cons
9. Mars Translations
Located in Shenzhen, China, Mars Translation is a relatively young LSP on our list as it was founded in 2012. Nevertheless, they are a good choice when your need to translate Asian languages.
Their services come in four package options: Standard, Professional, Standard PLUS, and Professional PLUS. The difference mainly lies in whether the translation would be prepared with the help of an expert translator or a reviewer.
Pros & Cons
10. The Word Point
Last on our LSP list is this fast-growing company that specialises in translation, localization, and transcription in over 50 languages.
Pros & Cons
Freelance Talent Marketplaces
Since localization projects involve different languages and budgets, you'll find that outsourcing to freelancers or translators from overseas is a fairly common practice.
Luckily, hiring a translator is much easier now with online marketplaces and translation communities. Here are 3 websites where you can find a freelance translator who suits your project needs:
Upwork is the world's largest talent marketplace so it's a good place to find and hire a freelance translator. You can either:
- search for translators based on the language pairs you need, or
- post a job listing to describe your requirements in more detail.
Pros & Cons
Fiverr is another online marketplace that gives you access to freelancers from all over the world, including those offering translation services.
The website works like a huge catalog where each freelancer has a standard offering of basic, standard, or premium service packages. If you like what you see, you can place an order immediately.
However, if your project needs don't quite fit into any of the packages offered, you can always message the translator directly for a quote.
Freelancer is an Australian freelance talent marketplace that launched in 2009. And of course, one of the services you could get there is translation.
Just like other talent marketplaces, Freelancer enables clients and freelancers to create profiles, write and receive reviews, and post or bid for projects.
Other freelance Talent Marketplaces worth mentioning:
There are dedicated online communities where translators flock to unwind, network, and have insightful discussions related to their line of work.
As a client, you can also post about your translation projects to seek the services of community members who would be interested. There's usually a mix of freelance and professional translators in these groups.
ProZ is one of the largest online translation communities where professional translators, freelancers, and agencies promote their services.
An important thing to know about ProZ is that it runs on a membership model where translators pay a fee to get access to better clients and better features.
This could be a double-edged sword for clients searching for translation services.
LinkedIn is the social networking platform for professionals from all kinds of industries, including translation and localization.
There are three ways you could use LinkedIn to find talents for your translation projects:
- You can post a job listing (yes, even for one-off projects).
- Using keywords related to your project, you can search for translator profiles marked with "Open to Work". Examples of keywords are gaming translation, Chinese to English translation, and so on.
- Join a LinkedIn group about translation and localization where you could share about your project needs.
Here are some of the most popular LinkedIn groups we've found:
- Language Jobs: A group created back in 2008 with almost 69,000 members in the translation industry.
- Certified Translation Professional Group: Translator Jobs, Projects, Tools, Networking & Training: Created back in 2007 by the Global Translation Institute, this group gives you with access to almost 45,000 member, many of whom are certified translators.
- Translator Jobs & Services: Powered by the Global Translation Institute: Founded in 2009, this group with more than 24,000 members aims to connect translators with like-minded people and relevant opportunities.
- Interpretation, Translation & Localization: A group created in 2010 that's currently around 8,000 members strong. The goal is to create meaningful connections among people in the industry.
- Language Translation and Interpretation Jobs: Launched in 2011, this is the youngest group on the list but it has amassed around 6,000 members to date. Just like in the other groups, you could post about your translation job and have professionals respond to you.
If you're looking to start a career in translation, the websites mentioned above are also a good place to set up a translator profile and promote your skills.
3. Reddit Community
Reddit might be an unconventional way to find a translator but it works when you need to translate something personal for your own understanding.
The process is as simple as joining a relevant Reddit community and creating a post. The main subreddit for translation requests would be r/translator.
Occasionally, you'll find kind-hearted Redditors who would help you translate a few lines of text for free. But do buy them a coffee if the option's available (they'll usually leave a link to their Venmo or something similar)!
As a side note, be prepared to see some very interesting translation requests from other members.
They're basically the yellow pages for translation! Find the contact information of translators or companies that specialize in different languages and industries.
- American Translators Association (ATA): Founded in 1959, ATA is one of the oldest and largest professional association of translators and interpreters in the United States. ATA's directory includes 6,939 individual translators and 596 LSP companies.
- ProZ: While we've mentioned ProZ in our list of translator communities, Proz also owns one of the most popular directories for translators and translation agencies. You may filter their list based on the translators' languages, services, fields of expertise, and location.
- The Open Mic: This translator-only directory offers the contact details of more than 3,000 professional translators. You can adjust the search filters according to the language pair you need, the type of service, the average translation rate, and the translator's area of expertise.
- TM-Town: This is another translator-only directory with regular search filters. They also offer a unique search engine Nakodo where you can paste your sample text to be matched with a translator based on their previous work.
- TraduGuide: You can either browse their translator directory for a variety of translation and localization services or post a translation job and receive a free quote.
- Translation Directory: Another directory that's quite popular, containing more than 55,000 freelance translators and 7,000 translation agencies.
- 2PolyGlot: A directory with more than 40,000 translators. In addition to that, it also provides contacts for copywriters, tutors, and interpreters, covering just about every language need you might have.
- Translator's Cafe: A directory with a simple search engine that connects you with translators, interpreters, and language service providers. It also doubles as a translator's community but you must be registered in order to post a translation job.
- Translators Base: Here you can find translators by selecting the language pairs you need or by posting a project for free to get a quotation from different translators.
- Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI): A UK-based independent professional association for translators, interpreters, and language service providers.
- Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario Directory: As the name states, this is an association of certified translators, interpreters, and terminologists based in Ontario.
- International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters: You can find translators from across the globe and refine your search by filtering through countries, language pairs, specializations, and service types.
- The French Society of Translators: In case you need a professional French translator, you could easily find one by going through their 1,609 members.
- Spanish Association of Translators, Copy-editors, and Interpreters: Look here if you need a professional Spanis translator or interpreter.
- Translator Directory of Japan: A database containing almost 5,000 translators and 500 agencies for the Japanese language
- TranZilla: Their database is most suitable when you're searching for translators who deal with East Slavic language pairs.
- Gala Member Directory: The Globalization and Localization Association's Directory with 257 language service providers from across the globe.
- Multilingual Directory: It provides the contact information of 2,444 companies in the language industry - divided into 48 categories like blogs, marketing, and technical writing.
- Elia Association: An alphatheical list created by the European Language Industry Association that contains almost 250 language service providers.
- Association of Translation Companies: A database of 211 translation companies who follow the association’s Code of Professional Conduct to ensure fair business practices.
How much does it cost to hire a translator?
Translators usually quote a project based on the number of words, characters, or pages in your text. Some may also charge a minimum fee if you only want to translate a very short piece of text.
To get an approximate cost for a project you have in mind, check out this translation pricing calculator we developed by gathering online data.
HOWEVER, keep in mind that the figure is just an estimate because translation costs will vary greatly according to several factors, such as:
- The language pair you need: For popular translation pairs like English to Chinese, you may be able to find cheaper options more easily than rare translation pairs.
- The length of the text: Translation costs may be cheaper for larger volumes of text.
- The subject matter of your text: Complex content, such as technical, historical, or scientific texts, may cost more to translate.
- The expertise and experience of the translator: Those who are specialists in a field tend to charge more.
- The availability of existing language assets: Some translators may provide a discount if your company's translation memories (database of past translations) can be reused.
In short, there is no straightforward answer as to how much a translator will cost because most professionals determine translation pricing from the project context.
However, you may utilize existing resources, such as previously approved translations, in new projects to minimize your expenditure.
What should I consider when hiring a translator?
Here are some things you should consider when talking to potential hires (other than their fluency in the languages and cultures involved).
1. Avoid assessing candidates based on rates.
While one can find translation services at almost every price range, hiring a translator is not just a matter of identifying who is the cheapest.
Some translators and agencies might offer you what seems to be a good deal (such as a fraction of what other translators may cost). However, this could sometimes be a warning sign that you might receive a subpar translation.
Consider why a translation service could possibly be so cheap. In my experience, it's either because:
- The translator is less skilled or not very thorough with their work. You'll likely end up with an unsatisfactory translation that you need to refine at best or redo at worst.
- The translator uses Google Translate, then edits the output hastily to deliver a quick job. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with using machine translation to boost productivity, remember that you're paying for a translation service, not an editing service.
Therefore, it's important to set a realistic budget that is fair to both your business and the translator. After all, people rarely give their best work when they're underpaid.
2. Identify the scope of their expertise and writing skills.
Translation is more than just switching words from one language to another. If that was the case, everyone would only be using machine translation instead of relying on people.
Good translators are also skilled writers. They manipulate the flow of words in different languages so that the meaning and the feeling of your original content don't get lost in translation.
To do that, they also need to be highly experienced in the subject matter of your text. For example, translators with a finance background would be more capable of translating a finance piece and using the appropriate terminology without much guidance.
The main question you must ask yourself here is: Who is my target audience? The right translator would be someone who can appeal to this audience through accurate translations that are further enhanced by their deep knowledge and impactful writing.
Hence, while you're in the process of interviewing a translator, it's also good to assess their writing skills and relevant experiences. And you could do so with a paid trial project.
3. Ask them about their communication style.
Localization projects typically occur in stages - from content creation to translation to final review to publication. Maintaining a good project flow often depends on how well the people in different stages communicate with one another.
Hence, the translator you bring on board should be a good communicator as well, even if they aren't a permanent addition to the team.
With some online translation service providers, you might find that communication is minimal throughout a project. You simply give them a document, tell them what you want, and wait for them to deliver the final product.
While it's pretty straightforward, what happens if there are changes to a project? What if they're unclear about the details of a project but do not reach out? What if your workflow involves other collaborators heavily?
Therefore, while interviewing a potential hire, it's helpful to ask questions to probe into their communication style, especially if you plan to engage them in long-term projects.
- What is your process when you encounter confusion or ambiguity with a request?
- How comfortable are you with asking multiple parties for information?
- Would you be comfortable using this communication tool? (if your team uses a specific platform, such as Slack, for all project-related exchanges)
Again, a trial project is the best way to test whether a translator can work well with your team.
4. Establish an onboarding process before hiring a translator.
Before you hire a translator, it's useful to assess your current systems and determine how smoothly you can onboard new translators.
The goal is to avoid confusion, miscommunication, or delays, especially if your company runs multiple projects involving different translators at the same time.
To be clear and efficient, you should aim to establish a routine for integrating your localization hires. For a start, you could consider the following questions:
- What tools does your team currently use to communicate and implement projects?
- How would managers brief the incoming translators and keep track of their progress?
- What file format do you prefer the translations to be in?
- How would you send your documents and related assets to the translators?
- How do you ensure the safety of your company's data while working with external translators or agencies?
- Who should the translators approach if they have questions throughout the project?
How do I integrate translators for hire into my usual workflow?
Hiring external translators or translation agencies could be disruptive to your usual routine. It's normally because both parties are trying to communicate and navigate their roles in a given project.
Thus, the ideal localization workflow should be efficient, flexible, and scalable to the demands of different projects and teams. The most common solution here is to use a translation management system (TMS).
What is a Translation Management System?
A translation management system (TMS) is a software solution for managing your localization projects and assets.
It's essentially a centralized platform where you can run your projects, collaborate with your team, and store approved translations for continuous use.
Need to pitch the idea of using a TMS to the team? Download our free ebook about translation management systems and share it with your teammates.
Do I actually need to use a translation management system (TMS)?
If your company's localization efforts will be continual, then yes. Having a translation management system, in this case, is futureproofing.
Translation work that falls under the same brand or company never occurs in isolation. It's more of a cycle where you might need to reference past work while translating new content to develop a consistent voice.
By implementing a TMS-based workflow, you're establishing a core system that makes it easy to onboard (and offboard) external translators for your projects. With a simple and efficient TMS like Redokun, you can also enjoy the following advantages:
1. Avoid a translation slump
Most translation management systems come with a computer-assisted translation (CAT) interface, which includes tools like translation memories and machine translation engines.
They mainly help boost your translators' productivity by providing automated translation suggestions while they're working on a document.
This feature is particularly useful when it comes to translating a huge volume of text or repetitive content that has been translated before. Computer-assisted translation tools help translators take that first step in starting a project so the work feels overwhelming.
2. Optimize your translation costs
On the business side, computer-assisted translation tools also help you save money as you translate more content.
Many of your documents will likely contain text that overlaps, such as tag lines, headings, and product descriptions. As these texts reappear in new documents, your team wouldn't need to translate them again.
In this case, your translation management system doubles as a translation memory software. This means is that it will automatically store all approved translations and generates suggestion when it detects similar content in a new document.
3. Give and receive feedback in real-time
Quick and open communication ensures that projects are completed on time. However, email threads aren't always the best way to keep everyone on the same page when there could be multiple parties involved, internal or external.
If you use a cloud-based tool to translate a document, people who are part of the project can be looped in at any time to give feedback or move things to the next stage.
For project managers, this instant feedback also comes in the form of progress tracking. When they open their translation management system, they will see an overview of all ongoing projects and the progress made for each target language.
4. Generate translated versions of your document automatically
When translating documents with styles and graphical elements, you won't need to worry much about preserving the formatting if you use translation software.
Some teams create translated versions of their original document manually by copy-pasting the text into a template. This becomes very tedious and inefficient when you have translated the content into multiple languages.
A TMS offers a better solution by automatically generating a translated document with all the original stylings and formatting intact. No copy-paste work would be needed - only a quick review by the designer to make sure everything is in place.
Moreover, some translation management tools like Redokun also offer automation for content revisions. If you make changes to your source document, you won't need to edit its translated versions one by one manually.
I hope this post helps you find a translator in no time! When you do, don't forget to establish a translation workflow that optimizes your resources and promotes productivity.
If you're thinking about adopting a translation management system, here's an invitation to try Redokun for free today. See you soon!
Till next time,