Finding a translation partner: how and why

A contact of mine just posted this blog post about why you need a translation partner, and how to find one.

So what is a translation partner? According to Corinne McKay, the translator who made the video, the ideal translation partner is another translator in the same language pair and specialisation as you. This person then becomes your go-to ‘backup’ for if you’re not available, or you need someone to split work with.

Say I’m sent a 20,000 word legal translation by a client, due on Friday. Perhaps I can’t finish it in that time, but I don’t want to lose the work. In this case, I could call my ‘partner’ and split the work 50/50 with him or her. Or if I’m away on holiday, I’d have someone to ‘recommend’ as a replacement for me. Therefore it’s ideal to have a partner who is someone similar to you, with roughly the same areas of specialism and working style, so that they make a great replacement. You might wonder why you’d want to give work to another translator, but this could be helpful in two ways: firstly, they’d hopefully reciprocate when they had excess work, and secondly, you’d know that the client wasn’t simply going to ‘wander off’ and find a replacement for you and maybe not come back to you later. It’s also a good way to offload excess work without letting your client down.

I’ve not come across this idea before, but I think it could be a great idea. I’d also love to have someone to discuss particularly difficult translations with – especially someone who is familiar with the types of work that I do. So I’m thinking of getting in touch with another of the translators who works for one of the same clients or agencies as me. Or, if any other German to English translators, especially in the business field, would like to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

Secondly, though, this video has given me an idea of another type of ‘partner’ that I’d like to find if I can. Whilst I speak fairly fluent German, I’m still a million miles from being a native speaker. Sometimes, especially when I’m faced with the kind of paragraphs-long sentences that German legal documents favour, I get pretty stuck and spend hours searching for the end of a separable verb that’s about 8 lines away from its other half. I could avoid a lot of headaches and wasted time if only I had a native German speaker who didn’t find it too much of a hassle to help me out with difficult sentences or concepts. I’d obviously offer the same with English in return, in case there was an odd idiom or unusual cultural concept that sprung up. So if there is an English to German translator out there who’d like to get in touch, this could be great for both of us.

So, I feel a bit like this is a dating profile and I’m hoping for someone to come ask me on a date 😉 I’m quite friendly (especially to other translators) and I have a good sense of humour, honest. If you think you might be my translation soulmate, just leave me a comment!

Cheers, Alex

One thought on “Finding a translation partner: how and why

  1. Hello, Alex!
    I`m English-Russian-Uzbek-Turkish or all in combination freelance translator…but alas not the expected one as you are expecting your soul Eng-DE translator…but I`m really interested in your posts and sharings on the hot topics that are very key in some points in my work path.

    I`ll be very grateful if you`ll be interested to get in touch with me ))
    my mail ID:
    skype ID: zulfiya.bazarova

    Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours, Zulfiya


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