Ready to go Global? Two words: Freelance Translators

According to data aggregated at Babbel Magazine English is the world’s third most popular language with 360 million native speakers. Spanish has 400 million native speakers. Chinese has 1.2 billion native speakers.

Online, that podium shifts, with English being the top language with 800.6 million users, Chinese with 649.6 million users, and Spanish with 222.4 million users. English to Spanish translation is one of the more common language pairs in business; for online businesses, the language barrier should never stop a company from reaching new, and evidently lucrative, markets.

What these statistics overlook are the huge business opportunities presented by lesser-spoken/online languages. Portuguese, for example, has 215 million native speakers and 121.8 million users online. If you’re ready to grow, you can achieve greater reach (and sales) when you translate your product into the world’s other languages that have hundreds of millions of native speakers.

How To Work With Freelance Translators

Today, both businesses and individuals can make use of high-quality translation services that allow you to access native speakers in many different languages. Services like TranslationBunny provide a single point of contact across many languages with consistent pricing and a high-quality product.

From your Content Marketing strategy to your radio ads, TranslationBunny’s transcreation focus is especially goo

Once you’ve chosen your translations provider, it’s time to prepare for the actual translation work… because to ensure a successful project, you need to do some work as well!

Here are the things you can (and should) do to contribute to your translation project’s ultimate success.

What to Look For in a Translator

Before hiring freelance translators, ensure they are qualified to complete the work. If hiring directly, follow up on references and past work completed in similar domains. Check their LinkedIn profiles to ensure consistency in the qualifications they are ‘selling’. Pay attention to items like an academic background, certifications, experience and a particular skill set. For example, if you represent an engineering firm, the freelance translator’s qualifications and skills should be on the engineering domain.

TranslationBunny and Other Translation Services

Services like TranslationBunny provide a simple interface that allows you to input your text and complete a glossary. It also allows you to add details that are crucial to the translation. Explaining the desired tone of the text or whether it will be meant to be read aloud can make all the difference.

Since it’s always a risk to hire freelance translators, working with a reputable translation service provide assurances and peace of mind. These services pre-screen their translators to ensure that the translator working on your project meets a defined standard regarding qualifications, skills, background, etc. In addition, many of these services offer satisfaction guarantees.

Preparing Your Document For Translation

You will need to submit it in a format that freelance translators are most familiar with. Word by Microsoft and Google Docs are your best option—not only because of their almost universal use but also because they come with several features that allow seasoned translators to work efficiently and quickly.

Depending on the type of document your translator will work with, here are some of the most common areas of frustration that can slow your project down.

Text Boxes

While text boxes allow for free-form design, they make for challenging translation projects. Rather than worry about design, use free text.

Tip: If layout design is important to your project, use MS Word’s Styles (and Styles add-on for Google Docs) to format how text appears on the page, particularly for Chapter headings.


If your document uses tables, freelance translators prefer (if not insist) you use MS Word’s Table or Google Docs’ Table Formatter function rather than copy and paste a table from Excel or create a ‘lookalike’ table using the Tab key.

Tip: Use the Tables function, which allows text to stay properly aligned after the translator has done the work.

Columns and Section Breaks

Columns and section breaks can make the text looks sloppy and misaligned.

Tip: The only breaks you should have in your document should be Page Breaks and, even then, it is important to insert them away from the text.

Table of Contents

If your document calls for a Table of Contents, use the Index and Tables option. Failure to do so will result in manual translation and input of the components to a Table of Contents.

Tip: Separate each section of your text using a Heading style. When you generate the Table of Contents, the Headings style will automatically populate into the Table of Contents list, ensuring the translated text is in the right spot.

Create a Glossary

Depending on the scope of your project, there will at least be some terms that need specific attention. Two types of words or terms should show up in your glossary:

Words that need a specific translation. In some cases, you may want to clarify the meaning of (and behind) a given word. Use the glossary to specify what meaning, or to instruct the translator accordingly. Remember: in some languages, different words can have the same meanings. Words with multiple meanings should be highlighted in the glossary. This eliminates the risk of an improper translation that might not be suitable for your piece.

Words that should not be translated. Depending on your document, some words should not be translated, such as names of people, documents, or some technical words and jargon.

Although a Glossary isn’t mandatory, it’s important to go through your project and ensure that words requiring specific translation/attention are itemized. Otherwise, they will be translated to the best of the translator’s abilities and, as a consequence, important meanings may be lost and distort your message.

Be Prepared… Well in Advance

Before you submit your project, it’s important that your document is complete and prepared using the tips highlighted here.

Allow enough time for the work to be worked and returned.

The reason is that translators will typically read through your document four times. The first reading will take everything in, the second will identify the scope of the translation project (e.g. potential roadblocks, create a glossary of ambiguous words that may not translate properly), the third will be used for the translation process itself, and the fourth/last reading is to ensure consistency and quality are maintained throughout.

One More Thing… Feedback!

Once you get your project, do provide feedback to the translator or translation service. For both, this ensures maintaining quality standards, and also helps guide others who are looking to use the service. In your review, be sure to address issues like timing, format, and adaptability, to keep the quality high for everyone.

Author: Mr. Bunny