Recommendations for translation agencies for educational materials
January 10, 2019 8:05 AM   Subscribe

I need to have a 45-page educational guide translated from English into Italian, Spanish and French. The guide contain culturally sensitive material that needs careful translation and localization. I would appreciate AskMefi's recommendations on service providers.
posted by azzurra to Education (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Must it be one? LinkedIn Profinder might be a way to go individually
posted by tilde at 8:38 AM on January 10, 2019

Translators have accreditation bodies that have searchable databases. For instance, the American Translators Association

One thing I would advise is that you hire a translator who is translating from English to their mother tongue. And bear in mind that you could encounter translators who seem pricey and some who seem cheap. While translation may seem pretty straightforward, like most things in this world you will get what you pay for (my mother and her husband are both translators, so maybe I'm biased!)
posted by fso at 9:20 AM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Professional English to Spanish translator here. fso's advice to look up translators in the ATA database is sound, as long as you don't mind the admin overhead of dealing with three separate linguists. If you're looking for a one-stop shop that can manage all three languages, I'd avoid the huge corporate behemoths of the translation world (SDL, Lionbridge, Translateplus et al), which tend to focus on high-volume clients and projects. In my experience, smaller providers with carefully vetted freelancer databases are better suited to dealing with jobs requiring careful attention. Be wary of companies offering rock-bottom prices.

You don't mention whether the subject matter is very technical; if it is, you may want to skip translation agencies altogether and focus your search on individual translators specialised in that particular field, ideally with actual working experience in the field. On the other hand, if the main hurdle is the culturally sensitive nature of the content, I'd dare to say most qualified professional translators are pretty much bicultural to begin with, and will be able to detect and avoid any potential pitfalls. However, you should expect proficient translators to ask questions; they will probably need your input to tailor their translation to your needs, and/or will want to discuss how to approach specific cultural issues.

Since you're asking for specific recommendations, I am personally fond of Spain-based Wordlab; it's a smallish agency, but highly competent and careful in their approach of the source material. They should be able to handle all three languages and their rates are pretty fair (full disclosure: I have worked for them occasionally as a translator, although my plate is pretty full with other projects for the foreseeable future).
posted by doctorpiorno at 10:41 AM on January 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

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