Monday, 29 June 2015

An A -Z Guide to Translation Buying

Finding a decent translation provider is not an easy task. The number of questions you have to ask yourself: Is it expensive? What does the price depend on? Agency or freelancer? Will they get it right? is never ending.

With this blog, I've been trying to answer the questions and solve the potential problems that turn translation buyers into insomniacs. Take a look at the Client Zone for some useful articles, and then enjoy an early night.

Some time ago, I carried out a #buytranslationwisely campaign with tips on translation buying. The tweets became quite popular, and this is why I decided to compile them into a nice and easy-to-read blog post.

This A-Z Guide will answer at least some of the questions you'll be asking yourself when choosing and using services of a translation provider. I'm hoping to get some contributions from other professionals in the comments section, so keep coming back for more tips!
Now, I'm leaving you with the ones I've prepared for you. In an alphabetical order.


For personal service choose freelance translators, but for multi-language projects use an agency.
Hiring a freelance translator allows you to directly speak with a person who translates your documents.


A bad translation communicates a lack of detail that will affect the consumer’s perception of your product or service.

Bad translation can have disastrous and very costly consequences - always have them in mind when choosing your translation provider.


The cost of translation mainly depends on the number of words in the document but there other factors that determine the price.


Say goodbye to a translator who does not respect your deadlines. Your time is a valuable asset.


Editing is one of the most important stages of the translation process. Some translators work with an editor or may hire one for larger, more complex projects. You can always request that the translation be checked and edited by another linguist.


When sending your text for translation, make sure it’s the final version. Any later changes will mean additional costs.


Good translators are able to notice even the tiniest linguistic or factual nuances that they would want to clarify or confirm with you - the client. See why.

Good translators, apart from translating your materials, may provide feedback on the original text and give suggestions.


Always hire a translator with a solid background in your industry. A degree or practical experience are the strongest indicators.


The more information and detailed instructions you give to your translator, the more tailored translation you will get.


If your documents contain plenty of jargon, abbreviations and terms specific only to your company, it's a good idea to share glossaries with your translator. This will prevent terminological inconsistencies with the language you use internally.


... and hire a professional. You don't get the translation skill as a bonus when learning a foreign language. You need a lot of time and effort to translate like a pro. Merely speaking another language is not enough, just like theoretical knowledge of human anatomy is not enough to operate on a person.


Expect your translation to have exactly the same layout as the original: fonts, paragraphs, italics etc.


"Minimum charge" (also called "minimum fee") is a fixed charge for very small projects, i.e. up to 150-300 words. 


A translation (if done properly) should have a "natural flow" - it should read like a document originally written in the other language.


You’ll spend less on translation, if you edit and revise your text first. Here's more that you can do to lower your bill. 


Professional translators ensure quality in every part of the translation process. Here’s how they do it.


Translators usually charge on a per word basis, but you might get a quote based on the number of lines or characters in your document
If the quote for translation sounds too cheap to be good – it probably is.


“Source text” means the text you are giving for translation and “target text” is the translated text – final product.


If you’re looking for a translator, find a trusted, sustainable one, not a low-cost-temporary-fix. (see "bad translation")

When the documents you are sending for translation are confidential, make sure you send them to someone you trust.


The purpose of all business and marketing translations is to add value to your product or service. The higher the quality of the translation, the more value you'll get.


Website localisation is much more than translation – it means adapting to the local audience. It makes your website look and read as locally made.


Translation is all about adding value to YOUR product, YOUR service and YOUR business. Don't buy translations from anyone who does not respect that.

There. A list of tips that will help you choose the right translation provider and give you an idea of what to expect from them.

Mind you, this is by no means a complete list - we could go on and on, so here's a suggestion: if you have already worked with a freelance translator or a translation agency, please add a tip you'd like to share with others. Perhaps there was something that really worked or you'd like to warn others against something that you've gone through. Please share!

Fellow translators: I'm sure you can share plenty of tips from your experience. We can keep expanding it endlessly! Let's create a comprehensive guide from which translation buyers will benefit.

Over to you...

1 comment:

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