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By Nora Jennings

Spanish is one of the world's most widely spoken languages. It's the official language of Spain as well as most countries in Latin America. Moreover, it's spoken by communities of Latin American immigrants in countries like the USA and Australia. If your organization can address people in their own language, it will not only boost your corporate image and bring you more clients but it will also prevent misunderstandings because of language barriers. However, it's very important to choose the best candidate to translate English to Spanish.

The first requirement for a good translator in the language pair is that the person should be fluent in both languages. For a translator, it's always best to translate from the language he or she is less confident in to the language he or she speaks most fluently. In other words, you need to look for someone whose first language is Spanish.

Try to find someone who comes from the community that you're trying to target. In Spain, people speak differently from people in Mexico or Argentina. Even neighboring countries like Guatemala and El Salvador can have very different regional expressions. Therefore, if your target market is mainly of Cuban descent, try and find a translator with a Cuban background too.

Many people think that they can simply use online translation tools. However, these tools simply take a text and translate it word for word, with no consideration for context or different meanings for the same word. The result can be either a garbled text that makes no sense at all or it can be one where the text says the opposite of what you'd really like to convey.

However, even human translators aren't all equal. Contrary to what many people believe, translation is not just a case of using a dictionary and not everybody who is multilingual is a good translator. Good translators use a variety of reference materials and think creatively. They also engage with the text, thinking about its meaning and the message it tries to convey.

Many professional translators belong to a professional association. In order to become members, they have to pass an exam with very stringent criteria. This means that when you choose a translator who belongs to one of these associations, chances are that it's a person who really can do the job. Publishing companies also select their translators very carefully, so someone with experience working in that industry is a good option too.

It's perfectly acceptable to ask a candidate to provide you with a sample translation first. In fact, it's often a good idea to do this in order to see that the person is the right one for the job. Have the sample checked by several Spanish speakers. It may even be worth asking a professional editor to go over the sample.

Just like you wouldn't trust a doctor who charges fifty dollars for brain surgery, you shouldn't trust a translator who charges very low rates. Find out what the industry standard is. Professionals will charge rates in this price range, while amateurs rarely know what the industry standard is and will charge much less. When it comes to translation, quality costs more but it's a great investment, since bad quality will just alienate your target market.

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