TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
In general, it is money that decides what translators to hire. It is
very expensive to hire translators who live in another country. It is
also very difficult to control a project when translation takes place in
another country. In addition, can you be assured that the translator is
familiar with the technology/subject matter of the translation? An
analogy is: can you write a User's Guide without using the product? I
think that translation--good translation--has to be a bit more
intelligent than mere word translation. Good translators need to be
writers, too. They should also be familiar with the technology about
which they are writing when they translate.
Non-native translators are a good alternative if you don't have the money
to pay native translators, those who live in your country or those who
live in the target country. This works ONLY if you have native editors!
If you can send the translated work to people in the target country who
are intimately familiar with the subject matter for editing, then you
will have a good chance of getting a quality translation in the end.
Many companies in the US are doing this now. They send the translated
work to their distributors and foreign sales agents and foreign technical
support people for review. These reviewers are very familiar with the
subject matter, the target language, and with the expectations of the
users in the target country. These reviewers are also affordable--they
already either work for the company, or their future income is directly
related to the success of the product and the translated material.
There are many other variations out there of similar strategies for
saving money and maximizing quality.