Business Translation Center

Qualities to look for in the perfect business translator

by OFER TIROSH 13/12/2017

If your company is new to the world of business translation, finding the perfect person to entrust with your document translation needs can seem something of a minefield. There are plenty of options out there, from translation agencies to independent freelance translators to those working through jobs markets such as Upwork. However you decide to proceed, the perfect business translator needs to have a certain set of qualities. We’ve outlined these below to help ensure that your business can source the perfect translator to meet its needs. 


The speed at which translators work varies from person to person. Factors such as the languages involved, the complexity of the material being translated and the translator’s background knowledge of the subject matter can all impact on the translation speed. As such, how long your business translation should take is a rather subjective question. However, it’s not unreasonable to ask prospective translators approximately how many words they can translate in a day, so that you can glean an idea of the timescales involved in your translation project. Naturally, even the fastest translation speeds should not be at the expense of the quality of the copy being translated!


Professional translation is about far more than being able to speak two (or more) languages. If your company is likely to need a regular business translator, communication is an important trait. You’ll need to know what to expect and when, any potential complications to the translation process and so forth. The best business translators stay be in regular contact with you on such matters and will be quick to respond to your needs and enquiries. Waiting around to hear from your business translator can cause unnecessary delays, so be sure to opt for a professional linguist who understands the value of speedy communication. 

Sector-specific experience

The term ‘business translation’ incorporates a huge swathe of sectors and skills. As such, it can be helpful to narrow down what you are looking for based on your sector. For example, if manufacturing translation is likely to be the cornerstone of the work that you assign to your translator, then be sure to seek out a professional with relevant experience of the manufacturing industry, rather than just generalised business translation skills. 

Using a professional translation company can be advantageous in this respect, as the translation company can choose from a range of translators whose experience most closely matches your business’ operations. 

Value for money

Naturally, the cost of the business translator that your company decides to use will have a bearing on your decision-making process. Translators can charge by the word or by the hour. Either way, be clear on what the cost will be before agreeing to the work. Translation costs can vary enormously, so be sure to shop around in order to get the quality of service that you need at the right price. 

Additional skills

It’s always worth bearing in mind the additional skills that a business translator or business translation agency can offer. You might not need video translation services at present, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t in the future. The same applies to a range of services. Hiring a professional business translator with desktop publishing skills could save you time and money in the long-run, even if you don’t need those skills currently, so always consider the full package that’s on offer. 

Being human! 

Human translation is an absolute prerequisite when it comes to meeting your business translation needs. Machine translation is not of high enough quality to trust it with your company documents – certainly not if you value the reputation of your business. As such, being human is a core quality that you should look for in the perfect business translator! 

Tomedes covers a vast range of business translation disciplines. Contact us today to find out more.