Fiverr: Do you get what you pay for? (Part 1)

jar of pennies

Last month, a friend of mine wanted a translation from English into Spanish, Italian and German, and while I recommended some of my trusted colleagues to her, she had mentioned that someone in her office had suggested they use Fiverr.

I shared my horror with my colleague and friend, Hannah Keet, and we bemoaned the fact that people seem to expect quality professional work, but are only willing to pay peanuts – but for peanuts, the quality will surely not be great. That’s when Hannah had the idea: why don’t we test this theory for ourselves through a “mystery shopping” exercise?

Continue reading

How (not) to hire a translator

pexels-photo-207480.jpeg

A friend of mine, Sarah, works for a media company that recently needed some transcribing and translation services, and it fell to her to locate some translators and take care of the project. Although this was her first time working with translators, her experience a) ends happily and b) might help others who may need a translator one day.

Continue reading

When is it OK to use Google Translate?

cogs-resized

Google Translate, and other machine translation (MT) programs, have come along in leaps and bounds in the last few years. Not only can we download apps where we can just type in words and instantly get a result in another language, but you can take photos of signs and get a translation straight away, and even instantly translate voice and video calls with the likes of Skype Translator. With the magic of deep learning technology, computers are able to “learn” more and in theory, improve the quality of their output the more it is used.
Continue reading

Can some “untranslatable” words be translated after all?

Lego

If you love languages like me, then you love coming across articles featuring “untranslatable words” or “foreign words that you’ll wish we had in English.” The bone of contention among translators and other linguists is that words like these are, of course, not actually untranslatable – you just may not be able to do a neat 1:1 substitution. You might need a few extra sentences to explain it, or perhaps you might leave it untranslated.

Continue reading

My route to becoming a freelance translator

(What do you mean, you don’t remember asking for my life story?)

Colca Canyon, Peru. © Natalie Soper, 2015

My name is Natalie, and I am a freelance translator.

It still feels weird to say to people “I’m a freelancer” “I work from home” or “I own my own business” – but I am slowly getting used to this relatively new path in my life. Maybe one day I’ll be able to swagger into a room and flick business cards at people, one-handed, like a magician, but I’m not quite there yet (and sadly, I haven’t found any marketing training that teaches business-card-tricks).

Continue reading