Very often, new clients ask me this question. They want to know what work I have done before they ask me to translate for them. I would like to tell them what I have translated, as I am proud of a lot of the work I have done. Much of it has been for large multi-national corporations, or national governments. However, there is something stopping me from giving a potential client a list of work I have done. It’s the non-disclosure agreement (NDA). More times than not, I have to sign one of these before starting work on a project, or working with a new client. The agreement prevents me from talking about any of the work I have done. This means that I can only give vague answers when asked what I have translated, such as “company IR information”, “government website”, “product catalogue (food, cosmetics)”.
The only work I can mention specifically is that which has my name on it. I have translated two books and done the subtitles for a DVD, all of which have my name listed.
When looking for a translator, you might be wary of the translator who is vague regarding their past work. However, it is the translator who tells you everything they have done in detail that should give you cause for concern. If they are talking openly about work they have done for other organizations, will they also talk to other companies about the work they do for you? If confidentiality is not a problem for you, and you don’t require an NDA, that’s great. The translator gets to list your work on their CV, which is helpful. But if you require a degree of confidentiality, in many cases, the vaguer an experienced translator is about past work, the better it is for you.