Skip to content

4 Tips to Working With a German Translator

When you conduct business internationally, or simply communicate with professionals around the globe, a professional translator is inevitable. Particularly countries like Germany, who have frequent business engagements and communications with United States business, necessitate a professional who equally understands both languages and cultures.

But finding the right professional to work with your translations is only half of the equation. Chances are that your need is not singular; you will need to work together on multiple projects, and the quality of work will improve over time as you get used to each other’s capabilities. To ensure a productive long-term relationship and many successful projects, here are 5 tips to successfully working with a German translator.

1) Allow Time for Research

Especially for the first few projects, you should allow enough time for your translation partner to do research. To get the tone and details of the translation project done just right, they’ll need to read into your company documents in English, mission statement, and more.

For example, you may want to translate a product catalog into German. In that case, your translator will need to read the entire catalog a few times first to ensure consistency throughout the translations. They may also want to read past catalogs to understand the tone of your brand and what exactly you want to communicate.

2) Understand Both Cultures

German translators tend to have one thing in common: they understand both German and English equally well. Beyond that, though, they can differ significantly. Though they’ll know both, they may be immersed into either German or American culture, which can impact the way they work and communicate with you.

Germans, for example, tend to be more direct in communicating feedback or opinions. For an American exposed to that way of communication for the first time, it may seem rude–which is why to successfully work with a German translator, you need to understand both cultures at least to some degree. This article gives a great overview into the differences between German and American business cultures.

3) Communicate Frequently (But Don’t Micromanage)

Working with a translator is similar to working with any external contractor or freelancer in that you should keep up regular lines of communication. You won’t see each other in the office on a regular basis, so frequent (scheduled) check ups via email, call, or a digital meeting should be a specified part of your relationships especially for larger projects.

During these check ups, you can get the progress of the project, and the translator can get answers to any questions they might have. However, you have to be careful not to turn it into an opportunity to micromanage your translation partner. Doing so can sour the relationship, and actually decrease the quality of work.

4) Establish Mutual Trust

Finally, working with a German translator for the first time is a perfect opportunity to establish trust that will pay off at a later time. As long as you were thorough in the selection process, giving your translator some freedom in the course of their work will allow them to perform their job to the best of their ability.

At the same time, a professional will pay back that trust at a later date. If you need a document translated to German on a tight timeline, they’ll be more likely to agree to help you get it done.

Of course, establishing this trust is only possible if you have done a thorough job in selecting the right translator for your needs according to their expertise and experience. To help you in that endeavor, and to ensure that your documents are correctly translated into German over long periods of time, contact us.

Back To Top