How do you find a good professional translator?

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How to find a good translator

You know you need a professional translator, but how do you actually go about finding a ‘good’ translator? Presumably by ‘good’, you mean qualified and accurate in their work, as well as reliable and professional when dealing with clients and their needs.

Agency or individual freelancer?

If you have multiple languages to deal with, a particularly large project, or prefer the confidence of knowing a larger business is taking care of your needs, you may decide to look for an agency.

A freelancer is usually a specialist in one or two languages and subjects, while an agency will have multiple freelancers on their books, to ensure multiple languages and areas of expertise.

An agency also usually guarantees standard service levels for things like delivery times and fees, whereas a freelancer’s delivery times will depend on how many projects they are currently working on.

Professional institutions

Like many other professions, translating has a number of nationally and internationally recognised accrediting bodies, who hold lists of agencies and qualified freelance translators, in all language combinations. These are available online and are an excellent place for you to search.

Trustworthy agencies will be audited and accredited by professional institutions, to verify their quality and customer services processes. The main body for companies operating in the UK is the Association of Translation Companies (ATC).

For freelancer translators in the UK, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) are highly regarded. The professionals listed have met both a minimum qualification standard and a minimum amount of years’ experience, proven by favourable client references. In the case of the ITI, members have also passed a further in-house exam, to satisfy the board of their expertise. In each, translators must submit evidence each year of their continuing professional development, showing that they remain up-to-date with their language and cultural knowledge.

If you’ve found a translator through google searches, look for the MITI, FITI or CIOL logos on their websites. They may be either an Associate, Member, Fellow, or Chartered Member or Linguist.


Some agencies are accredited by the same professional institutions as their freelancers. Look for their Corporate Member logo, and check if their individual translators are members.


Reputable agencies and freelance translators will be able to provide you with testimonials to reassure you of their quality and customer service. Professional references from recent clients reassure us the expert is who they say they are, and can deal with the subject matter you need.

At Quality Languages, we have been accredited by the ATC and we only work with qualified linguists who are members of the ITI or CIOL, or equivalent European institutions or government agencies. For more information, read about our team, and check some of our customers’ testimonials on Trustpilot, where we are consistently rated Excellent.

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