Fiverr Forum

How do you prove your translation skills?


The other day I got an order from a buyer through my translation gig, and the order itself wasn’t for a translation, it was more like typing in some words to an existing file in Japanese so it will be easier for the readers to understand. The file was something like a beginner’s Japanese textbook. Around the third sentence I noticed something was quite off with the grammar, and as I read further, I realized the whole translation was overall pretty darn cr@ppy.

I contacted the buyer saying that if she was aware of how wrong and unnatural the sentences were, she replied with “another Fiverr translator worked on it, I couldn’t tell if the person did a good job.” She seemed shocked, of course.

I offered to fix the whole file since it was short and the sentences were all very simple. The buyer also wanted me to explain how exactly were the translation poorly done, so I explained it the best I could.
There was of course no way to really prove that I was right unless she can find another bilingual person she could trust and have that person compare the translations, but luckily she trusted me.

I do have good ratings, I typed some stuff in Japanese in my profile and the images to let people know I understand the language, but still it doesn’t prove that I am right for the job.
I can work on sample translations, I can show my past work, I can record myself speaking in two languages and post that video, but again, I can’t prove that the person in the video is me.
(I can always hire a cute or hot looking bilingual girl, I’m sure I can find one!!)
I guess it’s just blind faith.

I’m curious, I’m sure there are lots of legit translators here who ended up fixing/editing other “translator’s” work, but how did you convince the buyer that your skills were better/legit, and the original seller’s work was cr@p?


This is pretty much exactly what I told a buyer recently in such a case, I guess it´s pretty much the only way to ‘prove’ it.
Of course if they don´t have a person like that, or don´t want or can spend the money on some kind of ‘double/cross check’ every time, it comes back to a question of whom to trust, and I suppose if you already tell them how they could check what you do or say, that´s trustworthy in itself, because they could do what you say, so they might assume you wouldn´t have given them that tip if you weren´t sure of your work.

Else, well, it´s not hard to prove my skills to German buyers, usually some inbox conversation is enough for that, and to people who speak German themselves of course, as even if their German isn´t that good, they can see the difference or understand it, when I pick out some obvious things. Mostly when ‘fix this’ translation happens, it´s that the seller they got before used Google Translate though and then it´s usually not hard to find sentences that have major mistakes, like the verb missing and such, which is easy to explain and nobody who they´d ask to cross check would sa y anything different there. It´s more difficult of course if the ‘mistakes’ are no ‘real’ mistakes, but a general ‘sounds off’.

It would be pretty bothersome to ‘prove’ that and cost so much time that I probably am better off with not doing the job, if they want proof but not want to pay for another bilingual/native to cross check in such cases. I think trust plays a big part. There are people who trust sellers with, to me, definitely fake profiles and claims of being able to ‘translate all languages in 24 hours’ and such, but those who are a bit less trusting or made bad experiences with too much trust, probably check a bit more thoroughly, and then are maybe more tending to “but luckily she trusted me.”, especially if you tell them how they would be able to cross check if what you tell them is true.


One of my regular clients gets his Swedish documents translated into English by a Swedish translator and then gets them rewritten/improved by me as the translators really do a very basic job on most occasions. So he has to pay double for the same work. For example, they translate “site load speed” as “speed of the site weight” :wink: (can somebody get rid of this stupid cake already).


Yes, that, it´s a question of how much they are willing to pay to have a proof. It’s certainly doable, but I often get English files to translate into Gerrman, which have been translated from language x into English, and badly. Not talking about a typo here and there, but something that, like writer says, would need re-writing/improving.

I usually tell those customers that I´d recommend to get a proofreader at least for their English file, but usually they apparently don´t want to pay the added cost, as the next file will look just the same. I had a case where I´ve been asked to ‘fix it’, but they didn´t want to accept my price for it (again, not talking about some typos or grave mistakes like obvious copy-paste errors and such, I often will send them their English file back together with my German translation (the job I´ve been paid for) with comments on the mistakes and a fix, but they expect a ‘proofreading’ to be much cheaper than the translation - only that if the whole text is bad it doesn´t take me much less time, or even the same time to fix that as my translation does).

A lot of people who understand the issues with translation, native speakers, source and target language etc. a bit more, will either go the ‘safe route’, like in writer’s example, if they can/want to afford it, or else, say it´s self-publishing authors who don´t really have the budget for the ‘officially recommended best practice’, will, or at least should, take the trouble of finding a translator they feel they can trust.
Of course that feeling may be deceptive, but if there are any doubts, it´s still possible to cross check for only a part of a job to keep the costs at bay and trust that the rest of the work will be done as well. I think regular forum readers among the buyers are at an advantage already to figure out a few hints for well placed or misplaced trust. :wink:

Also, @writer99025 if you don´t give them the date, they can´t give you the :cake: Happy cakeday! :stuck_out_tongue: :fireworks:


Awweee, your cake is gone…

So “site load speed” became "speed of the site weight?"
That’s pretty funny, hahaha :grin:
A recent Google translation I had to fix was the sentence "Once you start, you need to stick to it!"
The Google translation was something like “You start one time, you become sticky.”

Become sticky? Eeeeeewwww…


Soooo true, if you take a sentence/paragraph and ask 10 different people to translate it, I’m sure each person will translate it in their own way, and for some people they might sound off, and other might disagree and say it’s perfectly fine. There are some gray areas when it comes to translations and those are hard to explain…if the mistakes were hilariously bad though, it’s MUCH easier to convince the buyer! :stuck_out_tongue:


Off topic:
What do you mean? I can still see it.

In order to celebrate @writer99025 anniversary, I ate :cake: , :doughnut: ,:pizza: , and washed it down with :wine_glass: .

Just kidding, no I’m not, well, maybe a little - okay, I had the :cocktail: .

On topic:
I’ve had my book blurb translated into several languages. I’m going to work it into Amazon when I publish it in the late Fall or Winter this year. I am very concerned about the quality of all except the French, German and Japanese version.

All the other ones, I’m going to get it edited/proofread by another translator to be sure. I may even get it translated back to English, to test quality. It’s less than 150 words so it won’t be too bad costwise.

I wanted interpretation and not literal translation.


Eating cake, doughnuts, pizza with wine!!??
Why wasn’t I invited!!??? WWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYY!!??


Maybe explaining what your gig provides in many different languages will help?


There are cases where quality/perfection doesn´t matter that much or it would cost a disproportionate amount of money/time to get it perfect, and there are cases, where it makes sense.

If you publish blog articles, it´s not that important that it is 100%, if you publish a book of course it´s more important, and if you publish a book that´s going to be printed, it´s still more important obviously (but even in books that are printed and have gone through the hands of several proofreaders and editors, errors are found lol perfection really is hard to obtain).

Some people interestingly aren´t ready to invest a bit even into things that make them money right away like Amazon products other than books with real companies behind them and not ‘just’ an indie author.

Some of the English texts (translated from another language into English) I get are gruesome, I often recommend to get a native English proofreader (at least, sometimes a copy editor would be needed unless the proofreader doesn´t mind to re-write the whole thing under the label ‘proofreading’). I´m not sure if they think or know that people will order the products anyway, but since there are peope who are aware of quality, and look for sellers here who can deliver quality translations for such products as well, I´m inclined to think that those think and know that their products will sell better, if the text is correct and ‘trust inspiring’.

I´m not sure what to think when a professional Amazon seller doesn´t even want to spend 10$ on a proofreading+correcting/re-writing of their English text, when they are told that they really should - they’d only need to sell 1 piece more because of the better/correct/real English sounding text, and the costs would usually be more than recouped already, and I´m pretty sure there always is at least 1 potential buyer of no matter what kind of item who´ll click the next search result, when they see an obviously bad translated text - they´ll expect the product to match the text and won´t feel safe in the purchase as they’ll feel communication would be a problem in case there´d be a problem, if the seller doesn´t speak their language nor seems willing to pay someone to take care of that.
But I digress, I should write a blog or book or something on that some time. :wink:

Proofreading for a translation that was done well actually even could be a problem, in case the translator was good but the proofreader isn´t lol they might ‘correct’ things that were done on purpose :scream_cat: :wink: . The ideal would be a proofreader who is a native speaker of the target language and speaks the source language very well too and would proofread with the source language on the left side and the target language on the right side of their monitor (or vice versa ;)) but that of course is again a question of available funds and available sellers.

But a proofreader or second opinion or re-translating to check and at least ‘avoid the worst’ is a good idea either way if it´s important and or one isn´t sure about the quality.

Maybe it would be a viable solution to ask a native speaker (translator, writer, proofeader, any native speaker with a good general education and command of their own language probably even in many cases) to just check a page or chapter (just long enough that they can read and comment on it for 5$ or whatever you´re wiling to spend on it), without actual proofreading or anything, and depending on what they say, you have peace of mind, or can find someone to fix it, if its too bad.

Some time ago I read a very interesting blogpost on the topic of perfection and errors and publishing blogs and books, as I had an order for a translation of that post into German, it might be an interesting and helpful read regarding your doubts, @gina_riley2, I don´t want to put the link here, but you can PM me for it, if you want.


You should, seriously!..


I was concerned about that as well. Unlike English, I can’t reject something that is hard to interpret - to have meaning.

BTW, I’ve had limited Internet for the past few days. Let’s not mention really weak cellphone signals. Reason why I’ve been so quiet lately.

If I had my laptop, first I wouldn’t be editing so much from spelling errors on my post. Second, I’d be typing a heck of a lot more. :slightly_frowning_face:

Love to read the article. Although, I won’t be able to until next month. Can you send to me?

//It’s taking me over 10 mins just to type this. What a pain. :disappointed: //


Aw, limited internet sucks. You have my fullest and heartfelt compassion. Sure, I´ll send you the link. :slight_smile:


EDITED: Wrong place to post the comment. I was reading different posts.