How to Translate in 4 Simple Steps

Half of the world’s population speaks 23 languages. Though many consider English the “universal” language, not everyone speaks it and many prefer to read in their native language.

And sometimes, governments and schools need official documents translating into different languages. No matter the reason you need to figure out how to translate a piece of text, there are a few steps and options you can take.  

Here are some tips for translating words to suit your specific needs.

Step 1: Use Google Translate

A free and simple translation tool you can use is Google Translate. This service is available as an app, a web browser extension, and its own program. You can access it by typing “Google Translate” into Google’s search bar.

If you do not know how to translate from one language to another yourself, this is a great place to start. It is ideal for casual and short written messages and sentences.

But Google Translate has its limits. 

Many romance and Latin languages like Spanish and Italian have gendered words. Google Translate does not always know which variations to generate. And more complicated translations, like Russian to Korean for example, yield mixed results. 

Step 2: Use a Translation Program

The next step further than Google Translate is a different translation interpreting program. Here are some online/software translation programs to consider:

  • Microsoft
  • Linguee
  • Babylon
  • TripLingo
  • Reverso
  • iTranslate

Some of these programs are free and some have a small fee. Like with Google Translate, only use these programs on informal and unimportant pieces of text. That is one of the best tips for translating to keep in mind because so few cheap/free services are foolproof! 

If you do not understand the language you are translating to, you have no way of knowing if the translation is 100% correct or not. 

Step 3: Ask a Friend 

The next step is to ask a friend who speaks both the original and translated language if that is an option for you.

Do not want to abuse their kindness and free labor? You could ask them to look over a Google translated option instead of asking them to translate a document from scratch. Then all they would need to do is fix the grammar.

Step 4: Hire a Freelance Translator or Company

Are none of the above options able to offer an adequate translation? Then the last of these translating tips is to hire a professional and fluent translator. You could either hire a freelance translator from a site like Fiverr or contact a company.

Only a professional will be able to guarantee the accuracy of a translation.

This is the only route to take if you need a translation for a publication or official government/medical document. It is the most expensive translation option, but 100% worth it. 

And That’s How To Translate in Four Steps

If you need to figure out how to translate, now you know the four main steps you need to take. The best option for you will depend on how fast you need the translation, the quality and accuracy, and how much you want to pay.

But no matter what, you will be able to find a translation service that works for you.

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David Griffin

David Griffin