Linguistics is a complex field and translations even more so. A bad translation can ruin the very purpose of language – transmission of meaningful messages. Therefore, one needs to be extremely careful in choosing the perfect translation company. For an internationally used and vibrant language like German, extra caution is needed. While you will find translators by the dozen, good and authentic ones are a rare species. Perhaps you could keep the following aspects in mind while selecting the perfect service for German translations:
It is worthwhile to ensure that the company employs native German speakers or locals with near-native fluency in German.
If the subject matter to be translated is highly technical (e.g. legal documents, marine guides, electronics installation manuals etc.), it pays to check with the company if they have previous experience in technical translations.
In many cases, translators are more comfortable in one direction – either German to English or English to German. While large translation companies should not have such constraints, do ask if you have a chance. Usually different rates are applicable for the two directions, depending on the language spoken in the country where the company is located
If you document is rich in slang and idioms, make sure to emphasise this to the company – slang and idioms certainly cannot be translated verbatim – the correct reproduction of the context is crucial.
If you have an in-house glossary of translation – which is common in large companies which want certain terms to be translated in a particular way – do share it with the translation company you choose and make its use a precondition for the translation. So here’s another criterion – the company should be willing and able to follow your glossary of technical terms.
While many of the above aspects apply to translations in any language, they are especially relevant to German translations – given the increasing use of German as a key language of business, trade, international cooperation and political exchange – all of which not only enrich the language but also make translations more challenging. So keep the above tips handy and choose your perfect translation company for German translations. After all, you don’t want your meanings to be lost in translation!