Translation Guide

A quick guide on how to get your translations right

In a nutshell, a translator will produce a written translation and an interpreter will provide a verbal translation service. So, if for example you have documents that need to be in another language, say a marriage certificate that you need translated into French, or your qualification certificate translated into German in order to study abroad, then you would need to hire a translator. On the other hand, if you need to attend court in another country or converse with someone in a professional environment whose language you don’t speak, then you’d need to hire an interpreter.

Before sending your text to a translation agency, we recommend thoroughly reviewing it and actively considering whether any parts can be shortened or simplified. Adopting a simpler and more direct approach can often be more effective. People generally prefer concise and relevant information instead of lengthy text. If possible, use visuals such as pictures or diagrams instead of large blocks of text. Additionally, it is advisable to avoid using technical jargon, as it can hinder understanding. Your translation will look cleaner, more professional and more user-friendly this way

When using a translation service agency to translate text into another language, be mindful of the fact that some sayings and metaphors simply don’t translate well! We highly recommend choosing a translation agency that employs native speakers of the target language for this very reason. It’s also best to stay clear of any references to the human body, controversial jokes, politics or any local sayings that may involve awkward wordplay! You don’t want to come away red faced and met with awkward stares or blank faces.

When considering the cost of a translation service, it can be challenging to find the right balance. There are several factors to consider when choosing the best translation agency:

  1. Native language proficiency: Ensure that the translator is a native speaker of the target language.
  2. Experience: Look for a translation agency with a good number of years of experience.
  3. Multi-language project: If you require translations in multiple languages, be aware that it may incur additional costs.
  4. Determine if the translation requires third-party proofreading.
  5. Specialized fields: Consider whether the text requires medical, technical, or legal translation expertise.
  6. Layout and additional requirements: If you need graphs, tables, or specific layout formatting, communicate this to the translation agency.

While high prices don’t always guarantee high quality, excessively cheap translation services may result in rushed and amateurish translations. It’s important to be realistic about the number of hours required for translation, any additional requirements, and the standard rate for the target language. If the price seems fair and reasonable, it may be worth proceeding with the chosen translation agency.

Make sure you clarify with your translation agency what kind of writing style you’d like and see if they are able to produce this? We strongly advise using only the service of translation agency with native speakers in your target language for this exact reason. Many translators stick to a more standard approach to writing, so you’ll want to find out what they are capable of doing. Do they know their subject well? Do they specialise in creative writing or technical writing? You’ll want the sentences to flow and run smoothly. Word order and vocabulary choice is especially important and can make all the difference in the delivery, even more so if you’re planning on selling or persuading with your translated text.
Even if you think you’re more than capable. Being able to speak and converse well in another language doesn’t mean you are able to translate to a professional standard. Any text written that hints that it may have been written by a foreigner and not a native will stand out a mile – It will appear sloppy and unprofessional. Don’t be tempted to do it, thinking it will save you time and money and in the long term it will probably cost you both.

There’s nothing worse than having to make constant amendments to a translated text or any text for that matter. It’s often time consuming and extremely frustrating for both parties. If you submit a draft copy to your translation agency, hoping for flawless translated text, you will be disappointed. The quality of a translation agency’s work depends on the materials they receive. This approach may also result in doubled or even tripled costs due to the frequent amendments required.

It may be tempting to use translating software and will often cost much less and, in some instances, may even be free. But if you’re aiming for a high-quality translated piece then it will rarely deliver. Translation software may be useful if you’re strapped for time, but you’ll also run the risk of possibly looking inarticulate. There is always the option of hiring a translation agency to then edit the text, but this process may not save you any money as the time spent copy editing will also come with an hourly rate and the need for professionalism. Algorithms are still trying to improve the quality of automatic translation but have yet to surpass the accuracy and professionalism of human translation.
Communication is key when it comes to specifying exactly what you require from a translation agency. What are you looking to achieve with the translated text? What is the translation going to be used for? All these requirements need to be communicated to the translation agency in question. You’ll get the best results from keeping in regular contact with your translation service provider and outlining your intended audience. You don’t want a technical jargon piece for a catalogue or a legal piece as a sales brochure. Style and delivery are important, and you need to clarify this early on.

It may be tempting to approach foreign language students, but it can be extremely risky. Learning a language isn’t enough to effectively translate or interpret. It’s like expecting a medical student to perform a major operation without practice and know-how, which would result in a slim chance of success.

Being a native speaker of a language offers numerous advantages over individuals who may have a degree in or have lived in a particular country for an extended period. The latter will always have limitations compared to native speakers. To be an accomplished translator, it is crucial to stay updated with the target language, even if one has lived abroad. Language skills can be influenced by residing in a different country. A truly professional translator immerses themselves completely in their target language.

It is often a cause for concern if someone claims to be proficient in translating into multiple languages or in both directions. To ensure reliability, it is advisable to hire a translation agency that specializes in a specific language. This approach guarantees a safer and more accurate translation outcome.

Translating into a language is one thing but making sure that the dialect is also correct is another. You wouldn’t translate a text into an American English document if your client was British, and the same goes for many other languages too. Make sure you do your homework and find out who your target audience are, and which dialect of a language is most suitable.
Does your translation agency want to clarify things, always asking questions to get things just right? This is a good sign! If a translation agency is really serious about their work they’ll take pride in what they do and have a sharp attention to detail. This is what you want. If they don’t ask any questions it may be the case that they are just translating into what they think is acceptable rather than going above and beyond.

Specialist translation projects can be challenging if the translator lacks expertise in the specific field. Without familiarity with the terminology, the project may become time-consuming and less accurate. Ideally, the translator should have a background or qualification in the required specialization. This ensures translators have the required knowledge in legal, medical, or technical fields and access to relevant references, improving the reliability and efficiency of the translation process.

Every translated document must be proofread, ideally by someone other than the translator. It’s common to miss small spelling and grammar errors when reviewing your own work, which is why a third-party proofreader, who is a native speaker of the target language, is necessary for your translation.

Before starting the translation, make sure that you have agreed upon the font and glyphs to be used. Using the wrong font can result in distorted or unreadable text, particularly for languages like Arabic and Chinese that require specific glyphs for smooth reading. Additionally, consult with your client to ensure the font aligns with the desired tone and layout of the final document.

While bilingualism offers numerous advantages and can enhance CVs, it is important to note that translators who are only “good” in both languages without specialization may struggle with seamless language transitions. Also speaking, reading and writing in a second language takes a lot of skill and practice. If one of the languages isn’t their specialisation then it may not be worthwhile hiring that translator.

Check that the translation agency that you use has experience in numerous translation projects in the specific language you require. Are they certified? Let them show you past work they’ve completed. Their website should clearly display the large companies they have translated for, along with testimonials.

The larger your translation project or client, the more specialised you need to go. When a glossy magazine or a legal company requires translation services, cutting corners is not an affordable option. This is where a good translation agency comes in. For business expansion and multilingual translation needs, a reputable agency should have diverse translators from around the globe. Look for a translation agency with a large database of translators and language options, awards and certifications.

Lingo Service is one such company and we have a huge database of native professional translators. We pride ourselves on our fast turn-around times and sharp attention to detail. We have catered to leading brands and businesses in the UK and abroad, providing certified translation and interpreting services. Just take a look at our certifications and testimonials on our website. Call us today for a free quote and discover how we can help your business succeed. No obligations, just valuable assistance.

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