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  • Writer's pictureCathy Castling

Why do I need a professional translator to translate my marketing copy?

Updated: Feb 15

Flawless translation is an asset to your business, not just the final task to be ticked off your list. Think of the translator as a business partner as well as a supplier. They are there to help add value to your business by translating your marketing copy into the target language.

Your product is your baby, you created it and you’ve nurtured it. You’ve no doubt spent a lot of money to get the marketing campaign just right, so don’t ruin it by running the translation through a machine translation tool. Using software, such as Google translate, might seem like a bargain at the time, but you’ll get what you pay for in terms of quality: weak marketing copy that is lacklustre at best or offensive at worst, costing more money to fix it than it would to have it professionally translated.

Why is it so expensive?

If it’s the first time sourcing a professional translator and you’ve shopped around a little, you may be asking why translations are so expensive?

Translators are professionals, they have a post-graduate university degree (or equivalent) and have studied for years to become a specialist in their field. They can often help with a lot more than marketing copy, they can spot errors in source texts or proofread other marketing copy.

You’d pay a lot for a stellar marketing campaign, so why should a translation be any different?

Where can I find the right translator for me?

Choosing a translator to match your company is like a sommelier choosing a wine to complement a meal. You want to work with a translator who will help your copy shine in the target language.

There are many routes to finding the perfect professional translator:

  • Look at professional translation bodies, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) in the UK, the Bundesverband der Dometscher und Übersetzer (BDÜ) in Germany.

  • Search for “translator” on LinkedIn or Twitter. A lot of translators are very active on these platforms, so you’ll have no trouble finding a professional.

  • Look on forums such as Proz or Translatorscafe. These platforms allow you to contact translators individually, or post an advertisement on their jobs board.

  • Ask colleagues who have worked with translators in the past for recommendations.

  • If you’d prefer a translation agency instead, look at the Association of Translation Companies in the UK or the Qualitätssprachendienste Deutschlands. Working with an agency may save time, as they will manage the entire translation process for you, however it may be more expensive.

How can I judge the quality of my translator?

  • Look at their language pairings and specialisms. Professional translators tend to have multiple source languages (languages they translate from), but only one target language (the language they translate into). The same goes for industry specialisms – if they have too many they may not be a specialist in a particular field.

  • Look at their professional background and qualifications. LinkedIn is a great place to find out information about their professional qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates) in both translation and their specialism.

  • Look at their testimonials. Are they good, bad, or indifferent?

  • Ask them for a short sample translation to assess whether they’re the right fit for you. Keep these samples short, no more than 200 words.

These tips will help you to clarify the quagmire when searching for a translator who can add value to your business and bring your brand to life.


Hi, I'm Cathy, language nerd, lake-swimmer, long-time rower 🚣

I’m here to help you communicate in English with authenticity and accuracy. Get in touch here.

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