Because of the influx of travellers today, especially to Europe, translators are much in demand. This means that it is easier now than ever to hire a translator. It also means that there are more fraudsters out there. And so, some precaution should be taken while hiring translators.
The embassy of your country would be able to help you the best. They have a list of reliable translators that have a proven record. It is best to approach them first.
You can ask for translators at the reception of the hotel you are staying at. They usually have some ‘regulars’ that can be hired on a schedule that suits you.
Students of foreign languages often avail themselves on a part time basis. You can contact the local colleges or the University in that area.
If your holiday has been planned via an agency, check with them. They can also set you up with some translators and that too region-wise.
You need to make sure that the translator has a certain level of literacy. There may be several locals who can translate for you, but a properly educated one can help in emergencies, speaking with authorities.
The essential thing to remember is that a translator is different from an interpreter. A translator will only be able to give you word to word of what’s happening around you. He/she may not even be from the same country. An interpreter has more information about places and the culture. This is usually a local who can help you in difficult situations. They can help you out with customs and traditions and infirm you how to behave with people and places. Accordingly, they will charge more too. So before you hire anyone, be clear about which one you will need.
If nothing works out, you can browse the Internet for options. There are several companies online that offer translating services. They may be placed in the country you are going to. Hire someone online and meet them when you land.
No matter how qualified a translator or interpreter might be, they are only human. It is not fair to have them at your beck and call. They might make mistakes while hearing or understanding something. Be patient with them and do not drive them against a wall. Also, there might be great dialectical differences between the ways he/she perceives what is being said. Trust them and let them figure out before you start a scene. He/she might be a good interpreter but may misread the tone or intention. Insight is not always a given.
Lastly, make a deal about the traveling and living expenses of the translator. If he/she is spending the entire day with you, be prepared to pay for food. You might end taking a room for him/her if you have travelled away from his locality. Work out these details before any deal is struck so that you can enjoy your trip well and your employee does not hold any grudges against you.