Black and white and hands

How to find a good translator who doesn’t use Google Translate

Black and white and hands

Either at work or in your personal life, it’s relatively possible that you needed a translation at some point. If you are a company owner, you might want to expand your overseas business, thus, needing a translator to localize your product or translate your company´s website. Or maybe you are an employee and need to deal with the overseas customers through email or need to prepare a French or Spanish contract for your international clients. Even if you work for a local company, you might also have the necessity of coping with the foreign clients in your community, right? If any of these experiences might resonate with you, you might want to find a translator.

Nevertheless, what kind of translator should you look for? Free online translators or translators for hire? Well, it depends on the importance of your translation. If you don’t need a professional translation then you would be alright by choosing a free online translator. Yet, when it comes to the formal and critical translation, you certainly need some professional translators. Professional translators can offer you accurate, well-organized and localized translation, which can provide a good impression of your company to your customers.

What makes a good translator?

Before we get to know some excellent websites to use to find a translator for hire, we need to define what a good translator is, so that we can own clearer standards and requirements to find a good translator. Except for not using Google Translate, we may consider the following factors:

1.  Translators should never translate words into words

Translation is a professional skill which needs to be cultivated by many years of practicing and learning. A good translator should never translate words into words. To make no textual interpretation, we may consider some criteria to judge whether the translator you hire is a conscious and outstanding translator.

First and foremost, the obvious and essential criteria are the language skills.Everybody knows that it is one of the most important requirements for a translator. There are some criteria for us to consider if he/she can reach our ideal standard.

The first one is the translator should be able to master his/her native language. A translator may take many years to be proficient in a second language, yet, it is inadequate for them to make a qualified translation. A professional translator must be able to master his/her native language and a second language. If the translator is unable to master his own language, how can he/she convince the clients that a good translation from other foreign languages to the mother tongue can be accomplished? It is a must to think over a translator´s ability in his/her native language. It is not to mention that the basic grammar and spelling mistakes should not appear in the translation.

For example, the sentence structure in Arabic and English is different. The verb is positioned in front of the sentence in Arabic. Arabic translators working on English texts sometimes put the verb in the middle of the sentence, as they do not have a good understanding of the sentence structure. It finally comes up as a product of a strange Arabic sentence.

good translator should preserve the concept of the original text

A good translator should know how to analyze the words, preserving the meaning in a different set of words. Language is about the idea, not words. The importance of the translation is what the words are about instead of the word itself. The words in the language just assist us to convey the message. What a translator should do is translate the concept or idea of the text. Therefore, it is crucial for a translator to understand and analyze the meaning of words, as well as to retain the original interpretation so that the idea can be corrected, translated, and conveyed.

Localization of the text

It brings us to the third point; a good translator should know how to localize the text. It is worth it to note that localization has become increasingly important. Localization of the text refers to adding some local cultural elements, such as fashion, religion, and music into the translation. An outstanding translator should localize the translation and make it more attractive and accessible to the local people of the targeted region.

Localization requires cultural sensitivity. To find a translator, try to learn how much they know about the culture. Cultural intelligence facilitates that the translator works with people from different cultural backgrounds. Some of the translators could have studied or worked in that region or country. It enhances their sensitivity to the specific culture.

Except for the above requirements, language also involves various factors. Specialization is one of the important qualities of a good translator. A good translator should specialize in different types of translation. The written translation includes literal translation, word-for-word translation, interpretative translation, faithful translation, etc. Different styles of translation should also be emphasized. It refers to recognizing what kind of text you are translating, such as public speech, literature, fiction, news article, and email. Different texts require different styles and formats of the translation. Moreover, does the translator specialize in a certain field? Specialization includes different fields, such as advertising, business, arts, hospitality, tourism, education, computing or finance.

It is rare to find a translator who is familiar with all fields of translation. If you can find one, I believe the price would be extremely high, making it unnecessary for you to hire this translator. It is because most of the people only require a specialist to assist in translating in a particular field. You should recognize your need and find a suitable translator for yourself.

Skillful in computer and communication

Furthermore, equipping technical skill and multiple sources should be valued. A good translator should know how to use multiple software and hardware required by the translation. Multiple sources, such as different dictionaries and academic resources, are also indispensable for the accurate translation.

Last but not least, we should also underline the significance of communication skills. A great deal of communication is required in the process of translation. A good translator should be skillful in communication so that they can comprehensively recognize and fulfill all of the requirements of their client.

2.  Educational level and certification

One of the easiest ways to find a translator is by looking at his/ her education and certification. Many of the good translators have studied language related subjects for their bachelor’s degree or master´s degree. A bachelor’s degree in translation illustrates a standard of the research skills and writing skills of the translator. A master´s degree also demonstrates that the translator has further developed their linguistic ability, technical expertise, and commitment in translation.

Professional translation qualification provides you with the assurance of the qualified ability of the translator. Qualified membership status in certain institutes, such as the ATA (American Translators Association) and the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting), assure the quality of the translator. Yet, the translator acquiring related certification may not own a full master´s degree or take DipTrans (The Diploma in Translation). These requirements are not absolute. Many other variants are simultaneously influential.

3.  Good qualities

Some valuable qualities are essential for translation work. To find a good translator, some virtues are considerable, such as their sincerity and honesty. These are especially critical in communicating with you and whether the translator can produce a good translation.

A good translator should be passionate about his/her work. Additionally, he/she should also be serious. For instance, a good translator should always be particular of the translation, repeatedly checking their work and should never use automatic, free translation machines, etc. Assuredly, the utmost importance is that a good translator should always deliver their work within the deadline.

Why a good translator shouldn’t use Google Translate

Fulfilling the above requirements, your translator can be perceived as a professional and favorable translator. Basically, we can eliminate the possibility of the free online translator, especially Google Translate. Naturally, Google Translate has the following drawbacks:

1.  Direct translation, and lack of cultural sensitivity, localization, and specialization

Clearly, Google Translate does not always provide you with the true meaning of a word. It only presents you with the possible meaning of a word, but it always makes you question the accuracy of the translation and whether or not the word or text has the underlying message. Google Translate simply cannot easily catch the idea in the text.

Also, a robot does not own the cultural sensitivity. They never possess any cultural knowledge. It may detect various misunderstandings and embarrassments in the translation due to the absence of the understanding of the culture.

Besides, without good localization, the translation becomes plain and uninteresting to the local people. Even though the translation is accurate enough, it may not be appealing to its targeted audience.

In addition, Google Translate does not specialize in any field. A word in one field may mean one thing, but in another field, it represents a completely different thing. Google Translate clearly does not understand that.

2.  Google Translate is not going to talk to you

Communication is so important for translation work. It is obvious that Google Translate is unable to receive your specific requirements and to adjust the translation. Communication is less important in the system of Google Translate.

3.  In the absence of good qualities as humans

Do not expect Google Translate to be picky in their translation. You also cannot judge whether or not a robot is sincere and honest. Providing you immediate translation and assisting you to deliver on deadline maybe it’s one and only virtue in the translation work.

How can I find a good translator online?

After getting to know what a highly qualified and professional translator should look like, we may want to know what exactly we should do to enhance our possibility to find a translator. To save some time to find a translator, here is a procedure you may want to follow:

Step 1: Specifying your search terms and requirements

The first one is what language you want to translate. Is it English to Spanish or English to French or vice versa?

Also, you may have to identify the type of text you have. In which field do you want the translator to specialize? You probably want your translator for hire specializing in law, tourism or real estate.

Additionally, you should specify the delivery time and money. Sometimes, your desired translator is handling more than one translation job, and you will need to negotiate the deadline in advance. Moreover, the budget for your translation is better to be listed out in the beginning.

Other preferences such as gender, experiences, native language, and qualifications should be considered well before you search for translators to hire online. Sometimes a face-to-face meeting is also provided by some translators.

Step 2: Shortlist the translator

After specifying your search terms and requirements, the internet will present you with a list of suitable translators. You may simply shortlist your desired translator.

Step 3: Filtering the translator

Sometimes, screening all of the translators for hire to see which one is your best choice shows that the quality of some of the translators is higher than your expectations. It may take you some time to consider all of the options.

Step 4: Picking the most suitable translator

After taking an extended conscious consideration, you may finally find your expected and desired translator. Click on his/her profile and start your conversation!

These steps are important, especially the first step, as they help you to narrow down the possible options and to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in looking for a suitable translator.

In the following section, we will recommend some popular translation marketplaces for you to find a translator. But, you may wonder why we use marketplaces instead of translation agencies.

Advantages of hiring a translator in a marketplace

A marketplace is a platform where clients and providers can get in contact. A translation marketplace is a platform where clients can find a translator for hire, and at the same time, it’s a platform where translators can find clients through publishing their profile, detailed with information such as working experiences or education.

1.  Less Expensive

To find a translator, the translator in a marketplace offers a lower price than a translation agency. If your budget is limited, the marketplace would be your better choice in looking for a good translator for hire.

2.  You can choose your own translator for hire.

You are unable to pick out your own translator in a translation agency, as they will choose for you. Your translation work will be assigned to some anonymous translators whom you are unable to acknowledge the quality of their work.

A marketplace has a higher transparency with the profile, photo, educational level and working experiences of the translator. Multiple choices are offered to you.

3.  Better communication

It leads to the third point that, when it comes to higher transparency, you and your translator can better communicate with each other. You can better transmit your requirements to your translator and it is easier for the translator to adjust your work.

4.  Sometimes higher quality

As we cannot tell the quality of the translators in the translation agency, sometimes the translator we choose on our own does a better job than the translator in the translation agency. Translators in the marketplace can also offer professional and quick translation for their client.

To find a translator, translation agencies have their own limitations. If you are interested in knowing more about the differences between a translation agency and hiring a translator through a marketplace, you can read this article: Why You Should Ditch Translation Agencies and Use A Marketplace instead

What’s the best website for finding a translator?

If you want to find a translator, the below marketplaces may assist you in finishing your task:

The Open Mic

The Open Mic is one of the free, largest online communities for people to find a translator and for the translators to find more job opportunities. With more than 3000 translators for hire, The Open Mic provides you with multiple choices of translators. It helps you to translate not only text, but also apps, websites, documents or even video games. After registering as a translator or client, you can write a blog post and share your stories with the community. It may be easier for you to look for the evaluation and review of the translator.

Yet, the registration is a bit complicated. If you want to check for the profile of a translator, you need to create a free account or follow certain steps to answer more than 10 questions, including your name, your company´s name, the types of translators you are looking for and the document type. You may need some patience to finish the whole registration.


Proz promotes itself as an online community and workplace for language professionals. The registration is also free. Additionally, it is easy for you to find a translator. When you open its website to find a translator, the search engine will immediately be presented in the top column. All you need to do is choose what language you would like to translate, and they will present you the result. It is convenient and efficient. Also, the design of their website is clear and easy to manipulate.

Nevertheless, you might hear that the translator needs to pay for the advertisement of their profile so that their profile has a higher chance to be presented in the top of the result. In other words, for those who are looking for a good translator for hire, the search result in the first page will be those translators who paid the fee instead of those who are the best. It may create difficulties for the client who wants to find a good translator for hire in Proz, as they need to take more time to find the suitable translator.


EazyLang allows over 60 possible formats of documents to be imported. It is not difficult to upload and to look for a translator for hire. You only need to upload your files to the website, then define the context of your project, select the translator profile you are interested in to ask for a quote, and finally, you just need to log in. In addition, you can choose to work with the translation agency or other translators.

Yet, the above procedure also implies that you can only choose your translator after you have defined the context of your projects, such as language pair, deadline, the area of expertise, and technical specialties of the document. The system may already help you to select and to filter some of the translators. In fact, the freedom of choosing your own translator for hire is limited.


Parlam is a relatively young translation marketplace founded in 2016 where almost 50 languages are provided. Parlam is a platform assisting you to contact, hire and work with freelance translators that specialize in specific languages and topics.

All you need to do is open the website and choose your language pair. The photo and the description, including their language pairs, employment history, work experience, specialization, and education of the possible translator will be presented to you. You don’t need to sign up and create an account to look for the profile of the translators for hire. You are free to choose your best translator.

Additionally, it has a clear interface and web page. There are only some simple steps to take for you to sign up, create your free account and start your project. When you move downward on Parlam’s home page, you can see the guidelines to follow. There are three steps to knowhow it works: first, create a project and ask for quotes; secondly, accept the quote you prefer and work in a friendly platform; finally, accept the translation and safely pay your translator.

Parlam is also responsive in the transaction between you and your chosen translator. The platform Stripe is used to ensure the security of every payment. Also, the client deposits funds after a quote is approved, and the payment is made after you have approved the translation. Once your translation has been completed by your translator, it will send you a confirmation email. If you are not satisfied with the quality of your translation, relax. It will try to resolve the dispute in the best appropriate way. If the translation really does not hold up to the minimum standard, the payment can be refused, or it will offer a major discount on the services or may even demand to redo the translation.

You can click on the home page to know more about Parlam and to find a translator.

The article Best English to Spanish Translation may help you to get a deeper understanding of why we should hire a human translator instead of using free, online translation tools in English to Spanish translation.

Irene Yau Author
Guest Author , Parlam Inc.
Irene is a student majoring in Applied Social Studies in Hong Kong and she is a guest author at Parlam. She is passionate about reading and exploring the world and is dreaming of being a global citizen.