French is a complex language, it requires a lot of attention, and not all Francophones possess the experience, knowledge and necessary level of education to accurately translate your work into proper French, especially when it comes to spelling and grammar. Individuals who do not possess the necessary experience in translating texts into French might miss the subtle nuances buried in the words, as well as the turns of phrases that are paramount to ensuring that your work is accurately translated. These nuances may go unnoticed to someone who is not fluent in French, but to your French clients, they can be at best confusing, and they can change the meaning of your work entirely.
So how do you find a competent French translator if you know nothing about the language? Here are a couple of tips that you might find helpful if you are in the market for a professional French translator.
Ask for Reference
A professional French translator, one who has the necessary experience to properly translate your work, using not only proper spelling and grammar, but also understanding your meaning and conveying it in an accurate way, is hard to find. One does not simply start translating without some sort of background, including education credentials, an excellent portfolio, and a number of references. Make sure to ask for all of these, and do not hesitate to move on to the next French translator if these are not readily available. Any respectable and professional French translator will willingly show you their credentials and their portfolio; study these at your leisure, speak to previous clients, and decide from there if the translator you’re interested in fits the bill.
Conduct an Interview
Speaking with your potential French translator goes a long way in learning about their work ethic, their experience and their overall competency. Even if the person you’re interested in is not close by, there are a number of ways to communicate with them that may give you a better idea of whether or not they are capable of handling the job. Conduct a phone or Skype interview to get acquainted. You should ask questions, such as how long they have been translating English into French, what their work schedule and timeline is like, the kind of translation work they have done in the past and anything else you might think is relevant. A word of advice: do not base your judgement on the French translator’s accent, unless it makes them extremely difficult to understand, especially if you are looking for French translation in written form. Listen instead for proper use of words and grammar, which is a good indication that they have a reasonable understanding of English as well as French.
These tips should go a long way in helping you find the French translator that is right for you. Chances are, if you are comfortable with the individual you think you like and his or her references are good, you will be satisfied with their translation work.