How to Find an English to German Marketing Translator?

photocase-com / ~mäxchen~ Maximilian Lohse

Let me guess. You're here because you're launching your product or service in the German market.

Oh wait. *Adjusts crystal ball.* Maybe you’ve already launched but you need more customers and more engagement with the German market?

You know that translating your English marketing materials, press & sales texts, or web copy could do the trick. 

And you’re 100% certain your product or service is top-notch. I’m not going to disagree. You’ve done the research, made the sales and now you’re expanding. All you need is a little translation help.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, it might not be. Here’s why.

A lot of companies make this mistake when they choose a German translator:

They think good marketing translations come from linguistic skills in both the source and the target language. Which they do. But in addition, there’s a need for cultural knowledge, product knowledge and copywriting skills. Without these, the translator won't be able to adapt the text to your ideal client group in Germany.

After all, you don’t have long to convince people that your product or service is the thing they need in their lives. And the difference between a success strategy and an exit strategy is knowing how your customers tick. A good translator, with all those skills I mentioned, can tap into that for you.

It’s not just about providing accurate translations. It’s about adapting the original text so it resonates with the target readers. All the while “getting” your brand and getting your message across. We call this transcreation. Or magic. (I prefer magic.)

Sounds like an art?

It is!

So where do you find a good German (or any other) translator these days?

Here are a few tips on where to look.

  • Google German translators who specialize in marketing texts as well as in your particular field of business. For example, I specialize in marketing, PR, food, beverage and lifestyle brands.

  • Check official translator associations' directories such as ATA in the States, BDÜ in Germany or ITI in the UK.

  • Log into your Twitter account and search for the word translator plus the language combination you need. You might just find the perfect fit.

  • Post your translation job on Twitter by tweeting "I'm looking for a German translator specializing in marketing and [add your area of business]." Use the hashtag #xl8promote. You might also want to tag @uwemuegge who tweets about translation opportunities.

  • Do you already have a translator working into other languages? Translators are extremely well connected! Check whether they know someone who works with the exact language pair you need.

  • Contact a translation agency. They work with hundreds of freelancers and there’s a high chance that they have someone that specifically fits your niche.

How can I tell if I’ve truly found a professional marketing translator?

I know. It can be daunting. How do you know if you’ve found a genuinely professional marketing translator?

First of all, let me reassure you. The vast majority of translators around the world are extremely professional, hardworking and honest. But if you’d like a few more clues that you’ve struck lucky, here they are:

  • The translator will only translate into their native language.

  • They have a translation degree or certification.

  • They have a background in marketing communications and copywriting.

  • They offer quality proofreading by having a second native German speaker read and edit the text. This results in you receiving ready-to-publish copy.

  • If the text demands a lot of creative adaptation, translators ask not just for the source text but for a thorough creative brief, including information on the purpose of your text as well as your ideal target group.

Finally: let me know in the comments: which problems are you facing when you’re looking for a translator? Maybe I can help.

Or maybe you’re already working with someone you love? In that case, what makes this translator stand out? What do you particularly like about their service? Let me know in the comments.


Picture: Copyright Maximilian Lohse ~mäxchen~ /