What information should I provide to the translation agency?
– First and foremost: the language combination, i.e. the language(s) that your text is in (source) and the language(s) into which you would like it translated (target), including any regional variants or specific target markets
– The document you want translated (or the estimated word count if the document isn’t ready yet)
– The end purpose of the translation – knowing how the translation will be used will help the translation company identify the right service for you and will enable the linguists to maintain the desired tone and style
– Clear information about the deadline
– The document format (editable/non editable) – text in file formats such as Word, Excel, InDesign etc. is easier to extract and more compatible with translation software. Non-editable formats such as PDF, JPG etc. are more difficult to work with and might require extra time, effort and money to translate
– Your preferred format for the translated text – sometimes you might want the translation to be delivered in a format different to the source
– Any style guide or framework that needs to be adhered to – for some sectors, such as medical, there are standard frameworks that the linguists need to follow to ensure the translations are fit for purpose
– Any other information pertinent to the translation process
What service(s) do I need?
Depending on the nature of the document and how it will ultimately be used, you might require more than just a translation. A professional translation agency will suggest which services you may need to make your content suitable for the intended end purpose.
If your text is technical in nature, the language agency might suggest revision along with translation, or editing for more creative text. If you have brochures or other marketing documents with design elements, the agency might recommend their DTP services. For languages with non-Latin scripts in particular, a DTP service helps to ensure that your text is properly typeset in the design template after translation.
At STB, we recommend the right service to ensure that your text is suitable for its end purpose, whether that is translation and revision for your legal document, or transcreation (creative translation) for your marketing content.
How much does it cost?
The final cost of the translation depends on several factors, including, but not limited to, language combination, word count, delivery time frame, complexity of the text, and the pricing policy of the agency. You might be charged per word, page or hour, have a minimum or flat fee, or be quoted a price specific to your project. A professional translation company will try to provide you with an accurate quote at the start of the project to help give you a clear idea of the costs.
Many companies go for the bottom line first, i.e. the cheapest quote wins. This approach will ensure a cheap translation, but the quality may vary depending on which translation agency you choose.
However, it may be worth considering an alternative. Think about how long it took you to prepare your product for your ‘home’ market. If you spent hundreds of pounds, and months preparing the source copy, and a few weeks adjusting the design and layout, why would you expect your translation to be delivered for the lowest possible cost?