Friday, 26 February 2016

Working with a translator - what to expect

Found your translator? What happens next?

I have described a typical scenario below. Not all translators will operate in the same way but it may give you an idea of what to expect.


The first step will usually be to ask for an estimate (a non-binding idea of the cost involved) or a firm quote. To deliver either, the translator will:
  • ask to see the document/website/copy to be translated, The format of the files provided will influence the cost: 
    • Word is ideal,
    • PDF, PowerPoint and Excel will normally incur a surcharge,
    • not all translators will be able to work direct in HTML. 
  • ask how quickly you need the translation. Two things to bear in mind here:
    • to avoid a last-minute panic and an urgency surcharge, it's best to plan ahead
    • involving the translator early on in the process can iron out translation and/or cultural issues later on.
NB: It is not easy for the translator to quote accurately direct from a website unless it is a simple series of pages,

Price: Translators operate in different ways. Some will base the quote/estimate on wordcount, some charge an hourly rate and others will quote an all-inclusive project price.

Happy with the quote? 

Time for work to begin. 

At this stage it is really helpful if you can provide the translator with as much information about your company and/or project as possible. The more they know, the better they can tailor your translation.

The translator may request:
  • a glossary or style guide, if available,
  • images where appropriate,
  • the name of a contact person for resolving queries,
  • and for large projects for first-time clients, advance payment of part (or all) of the fee.


Don't be alarmed if a translator asks questions: 
  • even specialist translators can't be expected to know everything in their chosen field,
  • company-specific terms or abbreviations will need to be clarified,
  • not everything that is clear to the author is necessarily clear to the reader,
  • translators often pick up inconsistencies and errors in the source text which can be corrected before the text goes to print.



Notice I used capitals here? It may mess with the synergy of the document (neat freaks look away now) but let's face it, ADDED VALUE is what you're looking for, isn't it?

So, because you have:
  • taken the time to select the best translator for your job
  • planned ahead to avoid a last minute rush job
  • involved the translator as early as possible in the process
  • provided as much relevant information as you can...
... the least we can do is offer you something in return. How about?
  • a fabulous translation that:
    • is true to your corporate style
    • says exactly what you want it to say
    • flows naturally in the second language
    • and won't go viral for all the wrong reasons
  • PLUS all the added benefits this brings your company:
    • increased sales
    • visibility in new markets
    • your message in the language of your prospects
    • new export opportunities 
    • ...
You know what they are because you set the objectives!

Next time I'll be talking about feedback. In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions in the comments.