The Telltale Signs of a Good Translator: How to Recognize Them

Recognizing the telltale signs of a good translator is essential when recruiting a freelancer. Selecting the correct person will save you a huge amount of time and hassle in the long run, as it will avoid poor quality work and unhappy clients.

Here are some of the main points to look out for.

CV and Cover Letter

First impressions are paramount. CVs and cover letters tell you a lot about writing skills and should be well-written and faultless. If a freelance translator hasn’t taken the time to ensure this, then you simply can’t trust their skill.

As well as spelling, punctuation, grammar and structure, you should also be looking for excellent content. If the translator is replying to an advertisement, then all the required information should be covered. Have they taken the time to research your company and include relevant references to it? Above all, it needs to be original enough for you to be sure that it hasn’t been copied and pasted from stock examples online.

Social Media

Look candidates up on social media. Translators should keep their social media platforms up-to-date and professional looking. A high-quality photo is a great first impression and completed profiles should give an idea of their experience and activity.

Referring to social media should be done even before contacting a translator. A stagnant, badly created social media platform may indicate that the freelancer is not as immersed in the industry as you would like. Are they worth taking the time to contact?


Once a translator has passed the CV, cover letter and social media checks, put their communication skills to the test. When you contact them for a quote or to ask questions after receiving their CV, they must respond in a timely manner. Taking too long may mean that you have to chase them on work deadlines.

Do their replies indicate that they understand what your project is about? Do they ask the right questions, showing that they know what a translation project involves? Even better if these questions make you think of issues you didn´t anticipate.

These are the basic telltale signs of recognizing a good freelance translator to work with in your agency. Each one is a minimum requirement. If a translator fails on any of the above points, you need to keep looking.

Best Hashtags for the Translation Industry

Who knew that with the launch of Twitter would come such a change for one simple symbol that had already existed for decades? The hashtag. An integral part of the world of Twitter and other popular social networks. Here we look at the best ones for translators to use.

First though, let’s a have a look at exactly what they do…

The purpose of the hashtag

Placed before keywords, the main purpose of the hashtag is to connect people with others who are talking about the same topic as they are. This can be done in two ways:

  1. By including a hashtag in your message, you will increase its exposure, making it visible to others who are interested in that topic. This reach goes beyond your followers and can, in effect, increase your number of followers if they want to hear more from you.
  2. In a world where there is too much news, content and information at our fingertips, you can search for a specific hashtag to see the latest conversations around a certain topic. For example: by searching #translation, you will see all the other tweets talking about this topic.

It’s not as simple as #translation

#translation may be one of the most used hashtags in the translation industry, but they are not all quite so simple. According to, these are the top hashtags used by translators:


Hashtag Impressions Reach
#translation 2,122,167 1,600,656
#xl8 1,178,968 463,199
#t9n 975,865 355,148
#l10n 991,527 537,649
#linguistics 245,756 234,076
#medxl8 13,886 6,211
#CrossCulture 230,991 123,698
#MT 7,902,023 1,335,027
#translators 523,129 273,877
#t9njobs 672,904 85,579
#translatorslife 4,302 4,302
#Interpreter 672,546 339,851
#t9y 708,306 183,275
#LSPs 19,715 19,715
#xl8events 28,376 20,055


How to Translate Translation Hashtags

For newbies in the translation industry, this will all look like another language that needs translation in itself. Even for the pros, there may still be some explanation needed. In order to be able to use the most relevant translation hashtags, there are two main points to understand from the list above:

Hashtag Explanation Meaning Similar Hashtags





x = trans

l = the sound for the letter L

8 = eight/ate





#medxl8 =

medical translation


#techxl8 =

technical translation








t + 9 letters + n




#l10n =



#t9njobs =

translation jobs


These ‘coded’ type of hashtags is more popular, as only people within the translation industry know about them, so it keeps content and information more relevant to the actual field.

As trends change, hashtags will change, so it is important to keep up-to-date to be able to use social networks to its full potential to gain and share information within the translation world.

Is Being Bilingual Enough?

Parents of different nationalities who are raising their children to be bilingual are often met with comments that their children will grow up to be translators. This begs the question though of whether being bilingual is enough.

Whilst a child may grow up to be able to speak two languages, if they have been immersed mainly in only one culture, they will not necessarily be bicultural.

Here lies the question: does a translator need to be bicultural as well as bilingual?

Bilingual vs. Bicultural

Looking at The Oxford Dictionary for the definitions of bilingual and bicultural, we find the following:

  • Bilingual: Speaking two languages fluently
  • Bicultural: Having or combining the cultural attitudes and customs of two nations, peoples, or ethnic groups


Being bicultural is a lot more involved than being bilingual. Many people can become bilingual: university graduates, people who use a second language in their job, children of parents with different nationalities, and basically anyone who is willing to put in the hard work it takes to be able to use more than one language proficiently.


Becoming bicultural is not as straightforward as, generally speaking, it means somebody has to have lived within a certain community, experienced everyday life, eaten with them, taken part in traditional celebrations. Basically, they need to have lived and breathed the culture in the same way they have their native culture.

Why is Being Bicultural Important as a Translator?

Turning to the Oxford dictionary again, the definition of translation is ‘the process of translating words or text from one language into another’. Surely being bilingual should be enough if we take this definition literally, so why is it important for a translator to be bicultural too?

In reality, a translator needs to understand so much more than just the words and grammar of a language to be able to produce a true and accurate translation. Being bicultural as well as bilingual means that amongst many other aspects, the nuances, allusions and idiomaticity of a language and culture are understood; basically the information that a dictionary cannot always convey. Without this, a translation risks being stilted and awkward.

Bilingual is a Gateway to Bicultural

It is believed by some that being bilingual is a gateway to being bicultural. A person can be bilingual without being bicultural, but it would be very hard to be bicultural without being bilingual. Without language, it would be very difficult to enter into a community with enough depth to gain sufficient understanding and knowledge and meaning to be counted as bicultural.