A guide to obtaining a translation

October 13, 2011 by admin

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I think I often take for granted what I know about languages and translation, this is often brought home to me working here as many clients and potential clients are often (and I don’t want this to sound patronising in anyway) ‘clueless’ about the costs and time involved in order to acquire a translation.  Sourcing a suitable and reliable translation provider can be a stressful experience, particularly for clients with no linguistic backgrounds. So in today’s blog I’d like to give a quick guide to translation to help reduce stress and to provide understanding of what the process involves.

1.       What is translation? We have many calls asking for a translator when in fact the client needs an interpreter. So what’s the difference? A translator deals with transferring written text from one language to another, whereas an interpreter transfers the spoken word. Transcription is primarily creating a written text of an audio/visual file.

2.       Translation is not cheap: Costs for translation are usually provided per word/100 words/1000 words. If you are offered rock bottom prices (e.g. 5p a word) from a translation company beware- it is likely the end quality will be severely affected. There may be different fees in terms of proofreading and checking of the translation, so make sure these are transparent when obtaining a quote. As prices are quoted per word, make sure only the text that needs to be translated is sent.

3. How long will it take? Be realistic in terms of turnaround times. Think, how long has this taken to produce/write? An average translator can translate around 2,500 words or more a day, depending on the type of text and research involved. A rush turn around may result in a rush job.

4. Should I use a professional? We have all been abroad and seen the sometimes hilarious results of poor translations. If you want a professional, usable translation produced for the target market and language you require, then a translation company will provide the added value and reassurance. Machine translations such as Google Translate and Babelfish can be useful in gaining the gist or meaning of a text but should not be used as a time and money saving device for text intended for public use.

5. Know your languages. Where is text to be used? Be as specific as possible so that the translation can be given to a native speaker from that area (e.g. Mexico and Argentina have different variants of Spanish). Translators should always work into their mother tongue, and companies should be able to provide evidence or confirmation of this.

6. Who should I choose? It is often difficult knowing which supplier to go with. Talk to the project manager and ask for as much information as possible; Has the company handled similar types of documents, produced translations in the same area of expertise (e.g. technical, financial, legal translation), who their other clients are? Most should be able to supply you with a short sample translation.

My main advice would be to do some research before committing to a translation company or project. The more information you have at your fingertips and the more you know about the translation process the more likely you are to be satisfied with the end result!

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Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

We are very pleased with the services provided by Rosetta Translations. They always send very prompt responses, transparent prices and deliver their work product at the highest standards.

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Jackie Brook, Sr Product Manager

American Express

Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient service.

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Conor McLarnon

Maximus Crushing and Screening

I have translated multiple projects with Rosetta now and I cannot emphasise how great the service they provide is; quality, turnaround time and pricing is the best I have found yet. The qualities of translations we receive are of the highest standard and communication from the start of a project to the end is consistent.

For a company looking into translations, I would highly recommend Rosetta as first pick, as the support and service they provide is first class.

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