How to Find the Best Translation Talent

Can Anyone Who Speaks More Than One Language Be a Translator? 

Good question.  A simple Google search for “translator” plus the language of your choice reveals literally thousands of contacts who claim they can translate your content seamlessly. However, just speaking the language doesn’t make someone a skilled translator. A number of subjective qualities go into bringing a language to life and remaining true to its original spirit. Your content is at risk if you entrust it to an unproven localization provider who does not rigorously screen its translation talent.

Some localization providers hire translators based on translation certifications or membership. There are universities around the world that offer degrees in translation, and many organizations offer translators membership. While this may be a plus, it says little about the individual, which is why CMI doesn’t hire translators based on that certification alone.  

How Does CMI Choose Translators?

We have a multi-step process to identify the best translators for high-quality localization.
  • All of our translators complete two written essays – one in English, and one in their native language. We review for grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary. We also evaluate how well they convey their ideas, and whether they possess a strong voice. If a translator is dry and bland about a subject close to their heart—say, their favorite book, how expressive can they be with someone else’s content? We don’t take that chance.
  • We then hold an in-depth interview to learn more about the translators and test their logic. After all, translating text is also a matter of judgement calls, quickly made, over and over.
  • We consider whether a translator is a good fit for the content: are they plugged into more contemporary vernacular, or classical language and culture? Are they likely to default to a stodgier or edgier choice of syntax? There’s no better or worse — just what’s better or worse for each script.
  • Lastly, CMI looks for linguists and independent thinkers who can add their own creative stamp and passion for language to the final product. We look for strengths they may have aside from pure language translation, especially for dubbing. Can they act? Do they have comedic timing? Or do they convey a more reflective, serious tone?  CMI hires and casts at the same time, and stores information about translators’ attributes.

The CMI Difference

Some other localization providers identify their translators by assigning them a number. At CMI, we get to know our translators personally; localization is both art and science, and the personal touch is what sets our work apart. Like our clients, translators are never just a number to us.  

How can we help you localize your video content with the best in the business translation talent?

Get in touch today!

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