Thursday, 25 September 2014

How to Save on Translation Costs

Every purchase and every managerial decision is determined by one thought only: to spend as little as possible. In the pursuit of saving and cost cutting, many fall into nasty traps I was warning you against in the previous post (5 Myths of Cheap Translation). Time to move on and see if there is anything you can do to spend less on translation.

Stick with one translation provider

Take some time to do a proper research and find a solid and reliable translation provider, then hold on to them till your pension do you part.


Monday, 1 September 2014

5 Myths of Cheap Translation

They say that the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. When it comes to translation, be careful with choosing cheap options, because you might end up paying much more than you expect. Here are the most common traps that translation buyers fall into.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Certified translation of official documents

They say that the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. When it comes to translation, be careful with choosing cheap options, because you might end up paying much more than you expect. Here are the most common traps that translation buyers fall into.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Why your translator needs to be an expert.

Specialisation is part and parcel of the translation profession. Every good translator specialises in a few areas, which means that they are able to provide a professional, accurate translation that reads like an original text written by an expert in a particular field. Why is it so important and how can you make sure your translator is a specialist in your industry?  Let’s find out. 

Specialised terminology

Specialisation allows translators to handle complex, industry specific terminology that cannot be found in a general dictionary. It enables them to identify specialist terms and provides resources to accurately translate them. Only an expert can distinguish if - in a given context - a term has a specialist meaning or a general one. For example ‘fixed fee’ generally means stała opłata  (fixed-rate fee) in Polish, however, in specialised legal context it can also mean zastaw rejestrowy  (registered pledge). Only a good legal translator will be able to spot this.
Legal specialisation is particularly tricky, because of the differences between the legal systems, and this is exactly the case in English to Polish translation. It is hardly possible to provide an accurate translation of a legal text in this language pair without sound knowledge of the Polish and English legal systems. This is mainly because some of the legal notions simply do not exist in the legal system of the other country.


 Almost every industry has its jargon, slang and idiomatic expressions that are understandable only to the specialists who use them internally to communicate with other experts in the same field. A translator who is not familiar with the industry will not be able to identify the meaning of the jargon terms, which will effectively lead to their mistranslation. It is worth pointing out that mistranslations – especially in highly specialised documents – cause considerable confusion, misunderstandings and can cost the client dearly.

Specialised style

All industries differ not only in terms of terminology but also of their style of writing: technical, marketing and legal texts, among others, have their own characteristic style, tone and register. In order to convey the same style to the translated text, you need to master it. When specialising, translators read extensively in a given field not only to acquire the necessary knowledge, but also to familiarise themselves with the writing style characteristic for the industry. Why is it important? Imagine that as an expert , you are reading a document that has been appallingly written: the register is completely wrong, sentences are weirdly structured and you need to read a paragraph several times to make heads or tails of it. It does not feel right, does it? You lose your time and patience only because someone has not done a good job. This is why mastering the industry specific writing style matters. We could say therefore, that legal translators need to be able to write like lawyers, technical translators should write like engineers etc.

How translators specialise?

When it comes to specialisation, every translator has a different story to tell. In general, though, there are three different routes to specialisation: some translators complete a course at a university, some have previously worked in the industry, while others decide to self-study and also learn by experience. Whichever route they’re taking, good translators make sure they become experts in a given field and that they continue to develop their knowledge and expertise via numerous courses, workshops as well as attending conferences and speaking to other specialists.

How to make sure your translator is a specialist?

We’ve already seen that it is very important that the translator who will work on your document specialises in this field. But how do you know that your text will be translated by an expert? Can you actually check this?
If you are using translation agency’s services, you don’t really know who is working on the project and you will not be able to directly contact the translator. If you are dealing with a good agency, you can be sure that they will always check internally what the areas of their translators’ specialisation are and will never assign them any translation that is outside that area. However, a number of agencies do not care whether a project is within the translator’s speciality and you might end up with having your document translated by someone who has little or no knowledge of the subject.

With freelancers, it is easier to check their specialisations and there are a number of ways to do this.  The most straightforward is simply checking their website - sometimes even their copy will give you a hint whether they know anything about your industry. Take a look at their testimonials, blog and find information about any qualifications they have. It is also worth checking what they tweet about – many translators share links and information on the topics they are experts in. Because I specialise in business and legal translation, I often tweet about law and international business as well as marketing. On my website, you can find legal and marketing translation as separate subpages; the same pattern is maintained on my blog – both specialisations have separate pages with articles on each of them.

Over to you

 If you are looking at giving a highly specialised document for translation, it is worth making sure that your translator is an expert in this field. No professional translator can claim that they are able to translate complex documents on every topic, as you can’t be an expert in everything. A cardiac surgeon will never perform a neurological operation, because of a simple reason - he does not have enough knowledge of neurology; similarly, a commercial law solicitor will never take on a criminal case for the very same reason. As an expert in legal and marketing translation, I will never undertake to translate a text in IT, because I would not do a good job. Therefore, if a client asked me to translate a complicated IT document I can barely understand, I would kindly explain that I do not have enough knowledge of IT to perform the translation and I will recommend a colleague who I trust is an expert in this field. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Poland, advertising and ambiguous slogans.

Poland is advertising... itself! Over 150 posters of happy Polish people were put up two days ago in London as part of the marketing campaign promoting Poland. The campaign has been specifically organised for the 25th anniversary of the Iron Curtain's fall and its aim is to remind the world that it is in Poland where the process started. A video supporting the campaign will be launched in June. Yet it is the slogan - "Polska. Spring into." that causes confusion among English speakers; some even claim that it does not really mean anything. In fact, it has several meanings, and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs that coordinates the campaign says that this was the plan.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Warszawa: rozwój w czasach kryzysu

Zlokalizowane nad Wisłą; największe miasto w Polsce, a zarazem jej stolica - Warszawa jest jednym z głównych centrów gospodarczych w Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej. Pod względem populacji, jest dziewiątym największym miastem w Unii Europejskiej. Jako najbardziej rozwinięte ekonomicznie miasto w Polsce z najwyższym wskaźnikiem GDP na głowę, Warszawa uznawana jest za miasto najatrakcyjniejsze dla inwestycji.
Pomimo, iż działalność biznesowa Warszawy skupia się wokół sektora usług, takich jak pośrednictwo finansowe, usługi biznesowe, telekomunikacja i edukacja - miasto stworzyło imponujące portfolio innych branż, z których najbardziej rozwinięte to produkcja środków transportu i przemysł petrochemiczny.

Warsaw: development at the time of crisis

Located on the banks of Vistula River; the largest city in Poland, and its capital – Warsaw is one of the main economic hubs in Central-Eastern Europe. In terms of population, Warsaw is the 9th largest city in the European Union. As the most economically developed Polish city with the highest GDP per capita, Warsaw is considered the most attractive place for investment in the whole country.
Although, Warsaw’s business activity revolves around services industry – including financial intermediation, business services, telecommunications and education – the city has developed an impressive portfolio of other branches, predominantly manufacturing of means of transportation and petrochemical industry.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Does Localisation Make Sense?

International trade has never been easier and more accessible than today. Technology, infrastructure and global opportunities efficiently facilitate trading across the countries and even distant continents. The temptation to expand to foreign markets and the potential growth resulting from reaching new customers encourage the companies to eventually make the move.

When deciding to export to a different country, it would seem a natural choice to leave the website, marketing materials and product information in English since the language has always been recognised as the language of the Internet and business for that matter.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Translation rates and charges – what you are paying for

When you request a translation quote, you are given a price you probably do not understand. You also want to know why translators ask you about the number of words in your document, why the type of file matters and why some translators ask for a minimum charge.
Let us then take a closer look at what you are paying for when it comes to translation.

                                                What’s in a price?

It would seem obvious that when requesting a translation service you are paying strictly for the act of translating your document into another language. This is not always the case. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Translation Quality Control Assurance - what you can expect.

Translators very often claim that they provide top quality translations. Yet, the way they do it and methods they use is a mystery. Are translators simply walking dictionaries, or perhaps they use some tricks to achieve perfection? This post should answer some of your questions and doubts as to what the translation process involves.
Translators always strive to assure that quality is built into the translation as early as possible in the translation process. What is more, they also seek for transparency and continuous improvement in their translation quality assurance by giving their clients an opportunity to participate in the process and by obtaining regular feedback. There are a few stages, which - if strictly observed - should guarantee a well-crafted translation. This is what you should expect from a good translator.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Jak złożyć pozew do sądu - kilka formalności

Dłużnik ociąga się ze spłatą pożyczki, "majster" narobił więcej szkód niż napraw, a sklep nie przyjmuje reklamacji wadliwego produktu. Stres, frustracja i bezsilność wywołują u nas chęć uzyskania natychmiastowego zadośćuczynienia. Na usta ciśnie się typowa dla tej sytuacji groźba: "Spotkamy się w sądzie!" 

Czy warto?

Złożenie pozwu do sądu powinno stanowić ostatecznie, a nie jedyne rozwiązanie sporu. Istnieje kilka istotnych kwestii, które należy wziąć pod uwagę, zanim skierujemy swoje kroki do budynku sądowego. W tym artykule wyjaśniam, jakie to kwestie i dlaczego warto je przemyśleć.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A Dilemma of Epic Proportions…

The face of the translation industry is changing more rapidly than most of us can keep up with.

To the horror of many professional translators of my generation, machine translation entered the “mainstream” in 2013—and the repercussions will be widely felt in 2014 and beyond.

The drivers for such extraordinary developments are simple enough to identify. The global penetration of the Internet has created an unprecedented commercial demand for communications in languages other than the sellers’. However, converting messages from one human language into another is a task that requires more skill (and time) than most would-be global traders realise. This raises a dilemma of epic proportions—there are simply not enough humans who have the sort of highly developed linguistic skills to meet the exploding demand.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Predictions for the Translation Industry in 2014

Happy New Year to you! Another chapter has just begun in our lives and most of you probably wonder what 2014 will bring to you personally and professionally.

 I was wondering, however, what 2014 will bring to the translation industry and to the translators themselves. In order to find out, I asked a few successful professional translators what they think we can expect to happen in 2014. Here’s what they said:

Friday, 3 January 2014

Telling the Bad News to Your Employee (Via an Interpreter)

It is a challenge for some employers to communicate with their non-English speaking employees on a day-to-day basis. Because of the language barrier, explaining the company's policy and procedures or giving simple instructions sometimes require a bit more effort. Yet, most of the time everyone seems to be coping well in everyday conversations and get the message across despite perhaps some little misunderstandings.

However, there are situations, where you want to be 100% sure that you know exactly what your employee is telling you and vice versa. These include all types of formal meetings, especially disciplinary hearings or redundancy consultations, when it is absolutely essential that there is no confusion as to what is being said.