I need my web site translated into Spanish
April 25, 2011 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I need to have my web site translated into Spanish. Is there an online service that will do this cheaply and that I can trust?

I do not know Spanish, and since I have no good way to evaluate the results, I want to make sure that I'm not being ripped off by someone who just takes my text and runs it through Google Translate rather than providing accurate and thoughtful translation. That has made me hesitant to use an outsourcing service like rentacoder.com

Any recommendations? Even better are if you have personal experience using a firm, and even better if it can be done as cheaply as possible.
posted by banished to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about online services, but I use students at the local university (who are majoring in Spanish) to translate for me. They usually need the extra cash and do it on the cheap.
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:34 PM on April 25, 2011

Check your local university. There are enough Hispanic students and students who studies Spanish.
posted by WizKid at 2:41 PM on April 25, 2011

I translate for a living, but not into Spanish. The suggestions above are reasonable but I'd add two things:

1) make sure it's translated by a native speaker of Spanish. A native speaker of English who is majoring in Spanish is unlikely to be able to produce a convincing result (though they may well do a good job at translating INTO English).

2) Think about what flavour of Spanish you need - you don't say where you are, but make sure you get a translator who can produce European/Latin American Spanish, as you require.

All translators these days essentially work online. You could go to an individual freelancer (probably cheaper) or an agency (who will take care of all the details for you, ideally). Things to look for to make sure you get a good translation: certification (ATA if you're in the US, ITI if you're in the UK) - it's no guarantee but you're more likely to get a good translator that way. The American Translators Association has a directory on its website.

Hope this helps.
posted by altolinguistic at 2:30 AM on April 26, 2011

I can't vouch for how good it is but have you seen Google Translate for Webmasters? I've seen it on 1 site (http://www.siliconmtn.com/ - full disclosure this is my web vendor) and it seems to do the job very well.

Last night I actually launched the new Spanish version of my companies website and we paid a couple thousand for translation. Memail if you'd like the cost and exact company.

I'd recommend looking into the Google thing and it does appear to be free.
posted by doorsfan at 7:20 AM on April 26, 2011

I second everything that altolinguistic mentioned above, but then again I translate into Spanish for a living and my answers are inevitably biased.

- Unless you really don't care about the result, don't use a machine translation system (Google Translate, Babelfish or any other computer-based translation solution that offers instant results). While good for getting the gist of a text, none of them is currently advanced enough to produce anything remotely publishable.

- You can do as WizKid and AlliKat75 said, and hire a native Spanish student to handle the translation. I'm not a fan of this, however, because language fluency does not necessarily correlate with good writing skills: if your Spanish-speaker happens to be a decent writer, the result may well be near-professional quality. However, a sizable proportion of the student population regardless of their native language has less than ideal writing skills, and if you happen to choose one of these, the end result will read... well, like a grammatically-challenged student wrote it.

- You could head to a translator directory, like ProZ, and browse the profiles there. The site is a bit overwhelming at first, but it's essentially Rentacoder for linguists. Since it's tailored for translators, however, you can narrow the search pretty easily: look for someone with experience in your field, good references (you can find them in the "Willingness to work with again" section of each profile) and who is a native of whatever flavour of Spanish you're aiming for. Translators with the "ProZ Certified Pro" seal have undergone a certain degree of additional vetting and peer reviewing which makes them a bit more reliable candidates, at least in theory.

Filtering based on the above criteria should allow you to sort through the legions of translators on the site and find someone who, at the very least, is a reasonably qualified professional. Their fees, however, will probably be higher than those of a university student. Personally, my minimum fee is 0.08 USD per word, and I'd say that's the absolute bare minimum you should expect to pay for a reasonably competent European Spanish translator.

- You can contact a translation agency, who will choose a translator from their database to handle the job and ideally a proofreader to check their work. They have already screened their translators and can ideally ensure the result will meet a minimum standard of quality. This also means, however, that their services are more expensive than those of a freelance translator, as they add their own handling fees on top of whatever the translator gets paid (easily doubling the translators' fees) and, at the end of the day, the translation generally gets done by the same people you can find in ProZ. There is nothing wrong with that, however, if you can stretch your budget and think of the fee difference as a "peace of mind" tax. A couple agencies I have worked for and generally have good quality standards are Betranslated and SDL Click2Translate.

Ultimately, whichever option you end up going for, choose a translator the same way you'd choose a plumber: look for someone who seems professional, competent and non-shady, ideally with experience and good references, expect to pay a reasonable fee and beware of any offer that seems to good to be true.

(Full disclosure: I am a Spanish translator and I'm a Certified Pro member in ProZ).
posted by doctorpiorno at 7:43 AM on April 26, 2011

« Older Tips on Fighting Irrational Anxious Thoughts?   |   Words like "birther" Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.