As a freelance translator and interpreter, I am responsible for and carry out all orders and only in my three working languages, i.e. English, German and Polish. Should you be looking for a linguist for any other language, I recommend the searching tool of the Federal Association of Translators and Interpreters BDÜ. You are safe when using the BDÜ services as only translators and interpreters with a university degree, completed state examinations and long professional experience are admitted to this association.
There are several quality features that you should seek when looking for a translator or interpreter. Generally, you will recognise professionals by these characteristics:
- Availability: Translators and interpreters working full time in their profession answer your queries promptly and are always open to any of your concerns.
- Clearly defined fields of expertise: A good translator knows his limits and accepts only assignments he can execute with a clear conscience. Some translators specialise in law and marketing, others in engineering or medicine. You should stay away from those translators who claim they specialise in "all topics".
- Credentials: Experienced translators are usually able to show you translation samples and references from their clients upon request.
- Transparent pricing policy: You can see if someone charges fair fees when they can justify their calculation based on the amount of work they have to do, e.g. by indicating the fees in accordance with the German Law on the Remuneration of Interpreters and Translators (JVEG).
- Questions regarding your document: A professional will inform you about any consistencies he may find in the source text or any illegible words in your document.
If you want to verify whether a particular translator or interpreter is sworn-in or appointed by a court of law in Germany, you can use the official database of translators and interpreters run by the State Justice administrations here: www.justiz-dolmetscher.de
This very informative brochure "Translation - Getting it Right" published by the British Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), will also help you with selecting the appropriate translation service provider for your project.