Answered By: Kelsey Corlett-Rivera
Last Updated: Mar 29, 2017     Views: 47


If you find an article that is not available in English, there are a few ways to get a translation (UMD's Libraries do not provide this service). Depending on the quality you need (are you just trying to get the gist of the article? do you want to quote it in your work?), these range from free to rather pricey.

Google Translate: this is probably the best free machine translation system. It works better for some languages than others, but the product probably won't read like natural English: words will be out of order, but you can still usually get the general meaning.

Grad Students: Some graduate students on-campus offer translation services. While this can be a lower cost solution, grad students may not always deliver a high-quality, publication level product. You can contact language departments on-campus or UMD's International Student & Scholar Services to pursue this option.

Professional translators: If you need a high-quality, publication-level English version, the American Translator's Association (ATA) tests and certifies translators in the US, who are available in a directory on its website.  ATA also has a nice brochure called "Translation: Getting it Right" that makes good recommendations and points out common pitfalls.

Some things to look for in a translator are that she/he is a native speaker in the target language (most people only translate well into their native language, not both ways); has a degree in translation/interpretation (Monterey and Kent State have the best programs in the US); has at least 5 years of experience; and has passed the translation test at organizations such as the World Bank, State Department, etc. 

Translation companies: There are many translation companies in this area (also listed on the ATA website), but they may not be the best option unless you have a very large project, as they usually charge minimum fees of up to $300.


Good luck, and thank you for using AskUs!


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