3 Tips for working with a translator

Did you take some time in December to start planning your content for 2023? Have you given any thought to what content you’ll be creating and sharing with your clients, donors or employees?

Think of all the content!

Depending on your organization, maybe you want to revamp your website? You might want to be more consistent with blogging or featuring your fundraising campaigns. Maybe you want to create or update HR documents?


No matter the content, having it also available in French is a must to connect with your audience.

If we’re already working together, I’m preaching to the choir!

If we’re not working together, you might fit into one of the following categories:

– Other than maybe your website, you don’t bother getting anything translated and you pray that the “language police” don’t hunt you down.

– You rely on the admin team to translate your content, thus taking time away from their “real” job.

– You copy and paste your content into Google Translate and hope for the best. This line, that famous line, in Forrest Gump: YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GONNA GET!

That’s when a professional translator is your best bet.

Yet, when it comes to finding and working with such a professional, where do you start? If you landed here, I’ve got you covered!

If it’s your first time working with a translator or if you have a new translator on board, get to know this new person. Start by asking: do they work for themselves or an agency? Do they work evenings and weekends? Are they available for last-minute emergencies? Or any other question pertinent to your organization.

Once you’ve decided to work with this person, here are a few must-do’s and must-have’s:

1. Have your content ready: This means that the document to be translated needs to be final. Don’t send any updates a few hours or days later unless agreed before.

2. When your document is ready to go: Create a new email, insert the translator’s email address (julie@juliebourbeau.com is a fabulous one 😊). In your subject line, you can include Translation Request and the name of the document, or something similar.

3. Attach the document to be translated or quoted. (If you’ve worked with this person before, you might skip the quote part.) In the body of the email, always include your deadline, that is a reasonable date by which you’d want to get the translation done.

What’s a reasonable deadline?

On average, a translator will translate 2,000 words per business day. Yet, it’s likely that your translator will be serving 5 different clients in that same week and juggling several projects.

So, keep in mind that a good turnaround time is 3-4 business days for small documents.

Want to know more about what a professional translator can do for you? Check out this article called 4 Reasons you should invest in professional translation services.

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