If you want your catalog translated into German and Russian, the work will be done by a native German-speaker and a native Russian-speaker. Native English-speakers translate from foreign languages into English.
As a translation buyer, you may not be aware of this, but a translator who ﬂouts this basic rule is likely to be ignorant of other important quality issues as well.
OK, there are exceptions. But not many. If your supplier claims to be one of them, ask to see something he or she has done. If it’s factually accurate and reads well, and if the translator guarantees equal quality for your text—why not? Sometimes a linguist with special subject-matter expertise may agree to work into a foreign language. In this case, the translation must be carefully edited—and not just glanced through—by a language-sensitive native speaker before it goes to press.
Do translators living abroad lose touch with their native tongue? At the bottom end of the market, perhaps. But expert linguists keep their language skills up wherever they live.
Credits: Translation: Getting it Right, American Translators Association