A top ten list of major languages ranked according to native speakers includes:
1. Mandarin Chinese
Every translation situation is unique, as unique as the parties involved. Whether it is translation of private correspondence, business or legal documents, website translation and localization, or any other special translation circumstance, it is important to get it right. The first step in getting it right is choosing the right translator. If you’re in the market for Translation Services, here are some things to consider:
-Experience. How long has the Translation Service been in business? Do they have a list of satisfied customers? If so, ask if you can contact two or three for references. In addition, ask about their range of experience. Perhaps they only have experience in one or two particular areas, for example: Import and Export and/or Immigration.
-Quality. If possible, ask the Translation Service to translate a small sample of your choosing. Of course, checking the sample for accuracy might present a problem, however the professionalism with which they handle this request will tell you a lot. Also, look over their website. If you find spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and clumsy language it’s obvious their quality is not what it should be.
-Knowledge. Spend some time discovering if the Translation Service is familiar with your particular field and needs. For example, a Translation Service well versed in Maritime Law may not know much about Manufacturing. Also, a working knowledge of the political situation, especially in Third World countries, is important.
-Teamwork. While it would be unwise to go with a one-translator-fits-all approach, it may also be unwise to hire a company claiming to have myriads of translators at their disposal. Many Translation Services say they have local translators. However, consider that in every country in the world there could be hundreds, or even thousands of local dialects. The best approach is the Translation Team approach.
-Certification. There are a small number of International Translation Service Certification Agencies. Ask the Translation Service if they are certified, and by whom.
-Price. Although price is obviously important, consider the potential costs of a poor translation. Bad impressions are very difficult to overcome. Therefore, you should balance cost against other factors listed above.
Another thing to ask about when hiring a Translation Service is their familiarity with the latest developments in translation technology. While it is doubtful that computers will ever be fully capable of navigating the subtlest nuances of conversation and language to language conversion, there seems to be a steady stream of breakthroughs on this front.