Portuguese is the sixth-most-spoken language in the world, so it is not surprising that it is also one of the languages most often translated from and into. An ever-increasing number of people and companies need to have documents translated from and into Portuguese, which is why we wanted to write this post to help you find a good Portuguese translator.
If you too are looking for a good Portuguese translator, here are some of the things you need to take into account:
What sort of education or training do you want your translator to have? It is always preferable to entrust your translation to someone with a university degree. But you should not be satisfied simply by the fact that your translator has a degree; you should try to find out where they studied. Was it a university with a good reputation? One that has a demanding and experienced faculty of arts? These are important questions that should be given careful consideration when you are looking for a Portuguese translator, especially if you are thinking about entrusting your text to a freelancer or someone who works alone. If you are planning on contracting a professional translation agency for the job, then these matters are less important because the company will already have taken care of them and will have verified the qualifications and experience of the translators who work for them.
Has the person you are considering for the job kept up with training since leaving university? Or did training become a thing of the past when they graduated? Ongoing learning and development are essential for a good translator, irrespective of their working languages. But a translator who works alone rarely receives feedback from a reviser, whether it’s from the customers themselves (who don’t have time to spend training their suppliers) or from a member of the translator’s non-existent team. As a result, translators who work alone rarely have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes (an important part of gaining experience) and often have a biased opinion of their work. Regular complementary training is therefore very important for translators who work alone. And this is why you should try to find out what additional training the translator you are thinking of hiring has done. When you ask the translator about their experience, don’t forget to ask them about the circumstances in which it was gained.
Portuguese is known for its subtleties Knowing how to address someone can be a minefield; government can be complicated even for native speakers; so can expressing temporal relationships correctly by using the most appropriate verb forms; the rules for capitalisation and numbers are challenging; some professionals still find the 1990 spelling agreement confusing, and so on and so forth. Regular close contact with high quality texts written by excellent Portuguese writers or journalists is fundamental for any translator who works with Portuguese. As is familiarity with a good Portuguese grammar book. Often, improvident translators invest more in their knowledge of the foreign languages they intend to translate from and consequently neglect their own native tongues. This mistake can result in the customer receiving translations which may be inaccurate or difficult to understand. Try to find out if the translator you are thinking of hiring is well read, with sound linguistic knowledge and constant reflection about experience of working in a team.
To guard against possible disappointment, it is also wise to try and find out what methods and tools are used by the translator you are thinking of hiring. To save time and money, many translators and translation agencies use machine translation to obtain a text that may (or may not) subsequently be revised. In the case of a language with the subtleties of Portuguese, this procedure may go awry, especially if the text is not very repetitive, current or commonplace. Try to find out if the translator’s method includes some form of quality control, such as revision by a second translator or by a specialist. While these aspects do impact the price of the translation, there is no doubt that they also impact the quality.
Lastly, although perhaps this should have been mentioned right at the start, make sure that if your text is to be translated into Portuguese you hire a translator who is a native speaker of Portuguese. It is perfectly possible for a translator to have more than one native language that they have learnt from early childhood, but make sure that at least one of them is, in fact, Portuguese. Of course, simply being a native speaker is not enough. Being a native speaker does not automatically make you a good translator. But in addition to their translating skills, someone who translates into Portuguese should be a native speaker of Portuguese.
Perhaps the best way of weighing up all of these aspects is to take a close look at the translator’s CV. If you haven’t been sent a copy and it’s not convenient to ask for one, you could take a look at their LinkedIn profile online. Nevertheless, whenever you can, the best option is to give the job to a reliable professional translation agency. When you contract a good translation agency, every one of the steps described above will already have been taken care of by the agency at the recruitment stage. This means that by contracting a professional translation provider you will be saving time and ensuring a quality end result.