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    You have a text you need to translate and don’t know what to do with it. Should you look for a translation agency online, or rather for a freelance translator? What is the reasonable price to pay? Could that friend of yours who speaks English so well do it? When it comes to outsourcing a translation, you should take several factors into account to ensure that you make the right choice and the work will turn out as expected.

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    To begin with, you should be clear about the purpose of the translation and its final recipient. As you can imagine, a translation for a public body is not the same thing as a translation for a judge, a company, or a potential customer. We could start with a basic question, which is whether you can do with an ordinary translation or need a sworn translation. Most personal documents usually sent to companies and organisations abroad (e.g. certificate of criminal record, university degree, marriage certificate, etc.) require a sworn translation. In this case, you should ensure that the company or the translator who will translate your document is approved and certified as a sworn translator by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

    Once you are clear about the type of translation you need, examine the resources available. We have already said that if you need a sworn translation, the translator must be a sworn translator, but what if you can do with an ordinary translation? Then you should take into factors into account, such as the nature of the text to be translated. You should look for translators who specialise in the topic in question. Some documents require a very high degree of specialisation, as there are complex subject with a very specific vocabulary that not all translators are familiar with. Translating a financial text is not the same thing as translating a scientific or a legal text, in the same way that literary translation requires writing skills and advertising translation requires creativity. As you can see, translators’ profiles can be very different (if you think about it, you probably don’t know many medical, legal, and financial terms in your own language).

    So once you have established the type of translator you need, where should you look for it and how should you find the most suitable one? In our next entry we will examine more tangible and material aspects, such as the price you are willing to pay, the deadline, and other factors that may have an impact on your decision.

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