German to English Translation Services:
4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing A Translator
There are a variety of people and entities who may request a German to English translation services.
Several countries with a German-speaking population like Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland are leading export nations.
In 2021, Germany alone had exports worth 1.63 billion USD. This has attracted many international companies to these markets.
Likewise, many German companies export and expand internationally.
When expanding into new markets, hiring international staff, and building business relationships, doing so in the local language isn’t only an option. It is, in fact, the only way to get a market expansion strategy off the ground in the right way.
German exporters often require translations from German to English, but aren’t the only ones who may require a professional translation German to English.
Many of the people who contact me for German to English translations are individuals from German-speaking countries who are interested in Canadian immigration and who require certified translations from German to English for the immigration process.
Some are scholars (German or international) who want to publish a piece of research initially written in German in North America.
Others are small business owners who would like to start selling their products and services in Canada or the US.
If you are looking to hire a document translator for German to English, there are 4 specific questions you should be asking, in the following order:
- Where will your document be used?
- Did the requesting authority specify any requirements?
- What if a certified translation isn’t required?
- Is the translator a subject-matter expert for the specific texts?
Let’s talk more about it.
German to English Translation Services: Where will your document be used?
If you require German to English translation services, it most likely means that your document will be used outside of Germany.
Choosing a translator in your target country is one way to make sure that your translation will be well-received by the local market. That goes especially for certified translations.
Well, a local translator will understand cultural nuances.
There are certain things about a place that you can only understand by living there or, at the very least, spending a lot of time there.
So, if you want to move yourself, your business, or your expertise to Canada, a Canada-based German to English translator is what you’re looking for.
And if you need a certified translation for use in Canada, this may not even be optional, but mandatory.
German to English Translation Services: Did the requesting authority specify any requirements?
When submitting documents to a Canadian authority, a certified translation by a Canadian-certified translator can be required.
What’s a Canadian-certified translator?
In Canada, certified translators are accredited at the provincial level. Canadian government authorities often require translations performed by a certified translator.
Canadian certified translators have undergone a rigorous process and are entitled by the jurisdiction responsible for them to certify a professional translation from German to English.
For example, these certified translations are required when applying for a Canadian work permit, a Canadian study permit, or a Canadian visa. In that case, you will certainly require the services of a Canadian-certified translator. Another thing to look at are the requirements pertaining not to the translator, but to the translation itself.
Does the requesting authority want to see a translation dossier that includes the original text?
Is a stamp required on each page?
This is the kind of information you need to provide to the translator to make sure they deliver a translation that will help you move forward with your specific process.
German to English Translation Services: What if a certified translation isn’t required?
As mentioned earlier, one way to make sure that the person you hire possesses the languages required to perform a professional translation of German to English is to hire a certified translator for this specific language combination.
Choosing a certified translator is an important starting point, even if a certified translation is not required for your specific purpose.
As I mentioned, translators who are certified have to go through an arduous and long certification process.
That means you can be assured that they know what they are doing and that your legal translations are in the hands of someone who has likely seen thousands of them.
Let’s dive into specifics.
Official and non-official use
Maybe your translation is not for official use. You may be a small business owner who wants to set up their website in English to attract Canadian clients.
Or your business expansion into Canada is at a more advanced stage, and you aim to hire Canadians for your Canadian subsidiary. In that case, you may require translations of HR documents, website policies, contracts, marketing material, etc. All these documents are either used internally or in a way that doesn’t involve public authorities.
Hence, an official translator’s stamp is unlikely to be required.
While a professional translation of German to English for non-official use may not require an official stamp, mistranslations can still be very costly. Just think of the various translation blunders that have cost companies not only a lot of money, but also caused non-quantified reputational damage.
These translations don’t require certification per-se, but that doesn’t mean a less stringent approach should be taken here. They often form the basis of a company’s representation, and failure to provide accurate content may lead to serious problems, including lawsuits.
Example: privacy policies
Let’s use website privacy policies as an example.
Now, do you need certified translations of these privacy policies? Admittedly, the chances are slim.
But just because these documents don’t need to be submitted to a government doesn’t mean that failure to provide them in a professional and accurate manner won’t lead to trouble with that same government at some point.
They are not to be underestimated and should be given to a certified translator accredited to perform professional translations from German to English.
When looking for German to English translation services, official or not, hiring a certified translator is the main filter you should be using to reduce the risk of mistranslations and subsequently, monetary and reputational damage.
German to English Translation Services: Is the translator a subject-matter expert for the specific texts?
No matter the reason for which you require a translated document: You would like to hire someone who is not just a seasoned linguist with a lot of experience.
In fact, you will want to hire a certified translator for German to English who is also a subject-matter expert.
Subject expertise is a crucial aspect of translation. It refers to the translator’s knowledge and understanding of the material being translated. For instance, if you want to translate legal documents from German to English for use in Canada, the translator should have expertise in both the German and Canadian legal systems.
Similarly, a technical manual should be translated by someone who has technical expertise in that specific field.
Translating texts isn’t just about transferring words between pages. It is about conveying the meaning of what was said in the original text.
Context and culture matter.
That goes especially for legal and marketing translations.
I’ve spoken to many of my legal clients over the years, about their experiences, concerns, and bluntly, traumas when it comes to hiring translators for legal and professional translations German to English.
And the main concern isn’t even that the translator isn’t able to write in legal English.
The main concern is that the translator isn’t able to understand the original text.
Legal texts are complex and require legal expertise.
Given my background in Canadian Immigration, law, and business, I only translate texts related to these fields.
When asked to provide a professional translations German to English, the text types I work with include contracts, terms and conditions, articles of incorporation, financial statements, and official documents.
It often happens that a client requires legal and technical translations at the same time.
In that case, I take care of the legal translations. For the technical part, I retain the services of a colleague who is specialized in technical translations (client consent provided).
And if someone requests a German to English translation of an article about chemistry or even supposedly simpler things such as company websites talking about leisure and sports, I refer the person requesting the translation to a colleague.
That is because I’ve accumulated a certain skill-set that keeps manifesting itself in my work.
I may not make any fatal mistakes in texts that aren’t in my realm of expertise. However, the translation will just never sound as good as the one provided by a colleague who’s been translating in that specific field for years.
Hence, when looking for German to English translation services, look at your text and find out who the subject-matter experts are.
German to English Translation Services: Where can you find the right certified translator?
Finding the right service professional for a personal or business project will depend on a variety of factors.
These include the target market, specifications as set by an authority that requested a translation, translator certification, and subject-matter expertise of the translator.
I invite you to check out my services to see if I am the right translator for you.
And if you are interested in discussing your translation requirements directly, I invite you to send me a message right here at email@example.com.