22 Apr 2022
by Emma Plested MITI

How do you find a good professional translator?

You know you need a professional translator, but how do you actually go about finding a ‘good’ translator? Emma Plested MITI from Quality Languages explains.

If you have never used professional translation services before, it can be difficult to know where to start. You know you need a good translator, but what does that mean? Well, you need someone who is qualified and accurate in their work, as well as reliable and professional when dealing with clients and their needs.

Agency or individual freelancer?

If you have multiple languages to deal with, a particularly large project, or prefer the confidence of knowing a larger business is taking care of your needs, you may decide to look for an agency.

A freelancer is usually a specialist in one or two languages and subjects, while an agency will have multiple freelancers on their books, to ensure multiple languages and areas of expertise.

An agency also usually guarantees standard service levels for things like delivery times and fees, whereas a freelancer’s delivery times will depend on how many projects they are currently working on.

Professional institutions

Like many other professions, translating has a number of nationally and internationally recognised accrediting bodies, who hold lists of agencies and qualified freelance translators, in all language combinations. These are available online and are an excellent place for you to search. 

Trustworthy agencies will be audited and accredited by professional institutions, to verify their quality and customer services processes. The main body for companies operating in the UK is the Association of Translation Companies (ATC).

For freelancer translators in the UK, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists  are highly regarded. The professionals listed have met both a minimum qualification standard and a minimum number of years’ experience, proven by favourable client references.

In the case of the ITI, members have also passed a further in-house exam, to satisfy the board of their expertise. In each, translators must submit evidence each year of their continuing professional development, showing that they remain up-to-date with their language and cultural knowledge.

Logo for Qualified Members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting Logo for Fellows of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting








Remember, translation is not a regulated profession, so if you’ve found a translator through a google search make sure they are accredited by a reputable body. 

Some agencies are accredited by the same professional institutions as their freelancers. Look for their Corporate Member logo, and check if their individual translators are members too.


Reputable agencies and freelance translators will be able to provide you with testimonials to reassure you of their quality and customer service. Professional references from recent clients will reassure you that the expert is who they say they are, and can deal with the subject matter you need.

The translation and interpreting industry is not regulated. Therefore, it is important that you work with freelancers or language services companies who are members of a reputable professional body like the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).

Have confidence in who you hire. Use the ITI Directory to find an ITI Qualified translator or interpreter, or a Language Service Provider that is an ITI Corporate member.