Professional Translation FAQ
What is Professional Translation?
Professional translation, also known as "human translation", is
a process involving an actual bilingual person or group of
bilingual people translating written documents from one language
to another. Some translators use Computer Assisted Translation
(CAT) tools like TRADOS, others rely solely on a multilingual
word processor and their own experience. Since professional
translators are always native speakers in the language they
translate into, results are expected to approach perfection.
Prices for raw human translation normally range from as low as
17 cents per word up to 75 cents per word for highly technical
or poetic translations.
What sort of documents are best suited for
Documents in which your company name, credibility, or reputation
is on the line are suitable for professional translation.
Incoming foreign documents of dubious value are generally good
fodder for machine translation programs like SYSTRAN. This way
you can scan a document to see if it is worthy for professional
translation before you spend the money. For example, you
wouldn't want to use professional translation for a piece of
Japanese spam. In short, all outgoing documents are particularly
well suited for professional translation. Why? Because a poorly
translated document can mean the difference between an
international success and a complete failure.
How can I get a quote for my translation
Most companies and organizations outsource their translation
projects. Many agencies require a complicated procedure in order
to get a quote. We use a simple web form. No matter how large or
small the project, make sure you get multiple quotes until you
grow familiar with a company and their offerings. No single
agency is best for all translation jobs.
Why can't a bilingual staff member
translate our documents?
When a business or organization translates an important
document, they are literally at the mercy of their translator.
Perhaps you are lucky and the employee is gifted linguistically
in both languages and has agreeable writing, editing, and
proofreading skills; or perhaps not. You are assured of quality
with professional translation. Here is a good test to determine
if your employee is up to the task. First, they must be native
speakers of the language into which they are translating.
Second, have them write a marketing piece or business letter in
English. If they can pass these two tests, they will probably
suffice. Otherwise, hire a professional. All of
Translation.net's translators are approved by regulating bodies
such as the American Translators Association (ATA).
Why is there so much difference in pricing
for professional translation?
Different translation agencies have various strengths and
weaknesses and work on different scales. Some questions to
consider are: How educated and experienced are the translators?
What country do they live in? Is the translator aware of
available technology to improve accuracy and consistency
throughout the document? Is proofreading included? Do you need
professional or technical expertise? Is there a project manager?
Is there a team of translators or just one? The more questions
you ask before you accept a bid, the less surprises you will
have when the project comes back.
How can I maximize costs / benefits from a
When you consider a translation
agency, specify the project in as much detail as possible. Make
a list of things important to you and e-mail or fax them to the
translation team. Explain the nature of your document. Is it a
scientific translation? Is it marketing or legal terminology?
Make sure to ask your important questions up front. Be aware
that time constraints may affect the price and accuracy of a