Translation and Interpreting in 150+ Languages
Fishing for Translators
March 5, 2012 - By: - In: Translation - Comments Off on Fishing for Translators

In my last post, I was ranting about all the bad translators trying to clamber aboard 1-800-Translate after whatever translation shipwreck they might have survived. Heartbreaking as it is, we must fend them off with our oars and gaffs and such, as even one bad translator can sink our quality assurance boat. Operations Captain Rodrigues stands athwart the  thwart, the rain lashing her face, whistle in one hand, flare gun in the other,  “Stand off, you erroneous son’s of guns! Stand off I say! No room on this boat for bad translators!”

OK. I’m exaggerating a bit. Think of that incident as a metaphor. We would never fend off unqualified job applicants in that situation, and I want to assure readers that the steely determination of Captain Rodrigues is the only part of this story of shipwreck survival  that is factually accurate. All that oar-beating drama is a waterlogged dramatization of a business process dry as dust, but as important as all hands to the pumps –the recruitment of the  kind of translators who are essential to our success. Talent first. All the quality control in the world will not get you around a bad translator. So, we have to go all-out to  recruit only good linguists.


  1. In-country native speakers with professional degree and accreditation.
  2. Demonstrated translation mastery in the subject area.
  3. Five-years plus professional translation experience, (promise-keepers only).
  4. Client dedicated, customer service-dedicated. This is a service business.


  1. Hunt…

Accreditation makes it easier for everybody. Accredited linguists are likely to be the pros our clients need to get the job done in the target language. A cleaner input into a QA process means a cleaner output.

A long professional track in the subject area makes for best outcomes.

  1. Peck…

Subject-specific testing: We administer our own translation testing program, a selection of passages relevant to the initial assignment that the candidate must translate into the target language.

Metrics: We use a proprietary version of the Localization Standards Association Quality Assurance Model to score results. (Under review, we’ve got something better in mind for later this year).

Involve the audience:  We want our clients to work with us on selecting the right vendor. (I have to admit that most prefer to leave it to us, however.)

  1. Preferred translators

Operations calls this “preferential” recruitment as opposed to “pool recruitment,” meaning that we pick the translator for the job, not the other way around.

Pooling is the method used by those single-pass swarm translation shops and other language service providers like TransPerfect. I think “ponding” would be better, since its basically talking about a bottom-feeder fishing expedition. Put some old bacon on the hook, toss it into  translator pond and gig the first sucker to take the bait.

When I was a kid, my Dad used to take us out evenings on Goose Pond to fish for hornpout, which is what they call brown bullheads in New Hampshire. Same kind of bottom-feeder  action as they get in those  translation pool carp ponds.  Except for the snags and skeeters, it was a lot of fun back in the day. But that kind of fishin’ hole recruitment doesn’t work for what our clients need in these here modern times.

Keep your bait wet until next time!

-Ranger TranslationGuy

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