Research paper in English: shall I hire a translator or an editor?

9 Nov. 2022

You may be a first-year student that just came to a new country to study or a postgraduate pursuing a PhD abroad. What unites both? The language barrier. You can be the most qualified expert in the field, but it’s all different when it comes to writing an original research paper in English. Is it better to write it in your mother tongue and hire a translator? Or to write everything yourself and look for editing services instead?

Research paper 1: English

As you know, English is the modern lingua franca, which means it’s also the international language of science. At this point, you are most likely able to read articles and speak to your peers in English without misunderstanding. Though it’s a sign of proficiency, it is also a source of doubt: which kind of help with academic writing will suit your needs best? 

Ask yourself the following questions and decide whether it would be better to hire a translator for the research paper or to use editing services after having written a draft version in English on your own:

Are you going to publish your research paper? 

If you are preparing your work for publication, it must be submitted for review in perfect English. There is no doubt that experts won’t spend time checking spelling and correcting grammar. The best scenario is that they will return it to you with a suggestion to look for editing services or some dissertation help. 

Research paper 2: a woman is reading a journal

However, in case the work in question is an essay, a term paper or a draft, and your plans don’t include publishing it, it might be a good decision not to fight for impeccability. Sometimes good enough is good enough. 

Is your level of writing in English comparable to the level of a cultivated native speaker?

You may find the evaluation of your own skills pretty challenging. 

Therefore, we recommend you answer the question: is creating complex texts in English a part of my routine? It could be your hobby or job responsibility. If this is the case, you can be perfectly capable of working on a research paper in English yourself, even if it’s going to be published.

Research paper 3: a man is writing

Is your English less advanced? Indeed, it is still enough for a draft. Though, if you wish your work not only to be free from mistakes but also coherent, you will have to accept that you can’t do it without some help with writing. 

Do you have enough time to write the research paper by yourself? 

It is possible your knowledge of English is at the top level. Yet you might be forgetting to consider another important aspect, which is time. Writing in another language will always take more time than in your native language. To be more effective, you might want to get help with academic writing. 

If this is your case, the last question to answer is:

How much money are you willing to spend on translation and/or editing services?

You must be aware that Google Translate is never an option when trying to translate a serious academic text. Especially, if it is meant to be published. Being difficult to detect, Google translation errors can absolutely ruin your research paper. 

Research paper 4: a woman in shock is looking at her laptop

If you understand that you require dissertation help, you will have to choose between translation, translation editing and general language editing & proofreading.

For sure, translation is the most expensive option out of the three. As for translation editing and language editing, you should clearly understand the difference before making the decision. If you want someone to compare the translation to the original paper to make sure everything is correct, choose translation editing. But it costs more than simple editing of a paper as a separate text. 

Creating an academic text in another language might be really stressful. Sometimes it’s just more effective to hire a translator or an editor who will help you present your work to the global community. 

Post a Task on Insolvo to hire the necessary expert.


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