The need for translators is swiftly rising, thanks to the global economy. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of translator jobs is set to increase by 18% by 2026. English to Chinese and English to Tagalog translators take a big chunk of this cake as the two languages are now the most spoken mother tongues across the globe.
Many government agencies require translators to facilitate interaction between the government and citizens as well as other governments. Hospitals and law firms also need translators to work on official client documents, while companies dealing with Tagalog-speaking clients also require translation services.
As you can see, most of the clients needing translators are companies with official documents that should be converted from English to Tagalog. This means they need professional translators to do work that is above reproach. It also means that Tagalog natives studying English or generally speaking Tagalog and English may not be an excellent fit for this vital role.
So, what are the qualities companies should look for when hiring English to Tagalog translators?
- Good grasp of both Tagalog and English
Naturally, the best person for this job should be a Tagalog native who understands not only the language but also the different dialects, expressions, metaphors, and Tagalog culture. They should even understand English the same way to translate without killing the meaning and essence of the message.
So, how do you know a translator is fluent in Tagalog? Certification
Ideally, a great translator should have a bachelor’s degree in Tagalog or at least Tagalog translation. However, a certificate of proficiency is still good enough. At the very basic, they should have passed the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) or any Tagalog proficiency test to show that you are fluent in that language. If you are in the US, the American Translators Association certifies translators after a four-week membership and a proficiency test.
Universities of Georgia and Massachusetts also offer great programs if you want to be trained and certified as a Tagalog translator.
- Writing prowess and grammar skills
While some translators use some tools to make the job easier, the most important skill you want from a translator is writing prowess and experience. The person must be fluent in both Tagalog and English and write like an educated Tagalog writer. Translators work with the written word only, so they must have great mastery in grammar and expression. In this case, someone with a degree in literature, communication, or any training as a writer fits the bill perfectly.
The art of translation calls for a deep understanding of the subject, meaning not every certified translator is qualified to work in your field. The best translator must have an area of specialization, be it medical, law, marketing, or any other field. This comes in handy when translating industry-specific terms and connotations. Since there are different certification programs in every area, you should look for a translator who is certified to work in your industry. For example, a medical translator should be certified by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. In contrast, legal translators should go to the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators for a certificate.
As a government agency, hospital, law firm, or corporation, you don’t want to hire someone with zero experience translating official documents. The best English to Tagalog translators must have some hands-on experience not only in translation but also in your field. This experience may be paid work from similar organizations to yours or Wikipedia. Still, it can also be volunteer work in non-profit organizations, hospitals, and other places that need translators. The person must have proof of work done and testimonials from past clients to show they know what they are doing and assess their prowess.
- Continuing education
Like any other business or career, the art of translation is continually improving. Different tools are coming up to make the work faster, and new translators are graduating every day. While experience matters most in this job, participation in continuing education in your field of expertise is also a plus. It shows they are willing to improve their craft and provide the best possible services to their clients. Some certification bodies such as ATA require students to get recertified every three years after taking 20 hours of continuing education.
While you may want to hire an in-house translator to work from your offices, most English to Tagalog translators work remotely. You can source them from translation agencies or freelance sites such as LinkedIn, Craigslist, and job boards like Upwork and Problogger.
Besides hiring a great translator, it’s also crucial to have an editor or proofreader to double-check the translator’s work for any mistakes or deviation from the original message. Most agencies offer both services at a fee, but it’s better to have an independent person look at the work and see if they get the same message from the original and the translated document.