If you’re a new translation client with little or no experience in hiring translation services, and you’re looking for some advice, here are a few general tips to assist you in dealing with your chosen translator. You may have decided to work with a translation agency, or perhaps you’ll be using a freelance translator, but either way there’s certain information that your translator will require from you to produce a top-quality result.
Format of Original Document
In what format is your original document? Translators generally prefer to work with an editable copy of your original document, so you should be aware that some translators may charge an extra fee for working with formats that can’t be edited – formats such as image-based PDFs.
Format of Completed Translation
In what format would you like to receive your completed translation? Hardcopy? MS Office format? PDF? Your translator will need to know which formats are acceptable to you for the completed translation. If you require a hard copy of the completed translation, then you need to let your translator know because, generally, completed projects today are returned to clients by email.
Other Services Required
Will you require any other translation service besides the translation? Be aware that certain translations, such as legal documents, require authentication or certification. Also be aware that your translator may charge an additional fee for certification.
What language pair is involved in your translation? The two languages involved in translation are known as the source and target languages. Your original document’s language is known as the ‘source’ language, while the language of the translation is known as the ‘target’ language.
Be very realistic about the deadline for your translation project. In general, a translator will produce between 2000 and 3000 words per day, and it only takes one difficult abbreviation or word to hold a translator up for half an hour - or even more. So, don’t leave your instructions till the very last minute. Hire your translator as soon as possible and make sure you give them sufficient time to complete the work. A rush deadline could incur an additional charge.
Are you able to provide your translator with reference materials or a glossary? Many translation clients have words and terms they prefer to be translated in a certain way, and many also have abbreviations or in-house terminology that their translator should be aware of. Any reference materials, including a glossary, should be provided to the translator as soon as possible, ideally prior to the translator commencing your translation.
It’s really important that the client provides the translator with good quality legible documents to work on. By this we mean that documents written in very small font can be difficult to read, and some scanned documents are not entirely legible.
Make sure your translator has a contact person who’ll be able to answer any relevant questions. This is really important if you’re working with a freelance translator: it not only saves both you and the translator a lot of time, but having someone available to answer relevant questions will help the translator in producing a high-quality translation document.