Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I already know somebody who is bilingual who can probably help me to translate my website. Why do I need a professional translator?
-A: Knowing more than one language is no guarantee of knowing how to write in either of them. Just as you would not think of asking your neighbour to write up a press release, company report, or transform an advertising slogan, you cannot assume that anybody who knows more than one language has the required writing skills. Similarly, a translator who specializes in law may no be able to write texts on history of art.
Q: I have asked for quotes from three different translators or agencies, and each of them has given me very different prices. Why?
-A: Just as in all other sectors, there is a wide range of prices in the translation market that are likely to reflect the quality of the work and the service provided. If you are looking for a low-cost translation, the end result is likely to reflect that. Logically the same result will not be achieved by somebody who takes half the time to complete the work, nor by translators with different levels of writing expertise. A badly written text in any language can damage the image of any company.
Q: My text is highly confidential. I don't want the content to reach just anybody.
A: A professional translator will always treat your work with utmost confidentiality. That is why it is essential to always work exclusively with industry professionals, who are used to dealing with confidential work.
Q: Should I choose an agency over a freelance translator?
-R: Freelance translators and translation agencies not only co-exist, they also collaborate continually with each other, because each of them have their own individual advantages and disadvantages, and one cannot exist without the other.
Three advantages of translation agencies:
- The ability to absorb very high volume and/or high repetition texts such as computer software / programs in less time. Agencies have a wide range of translators at their disposal and can also share large files among translators, provided that the vocabulary and style of the text allows for this.
- They generally have the ability to turn around very urgent texts in less time.
- They can deal with 30 language combinations per project at once, or more! Agencies tend to be able to offer more language combinations than individual translators, although individuals do usually have access to an extensive network of industry professionals, and are often able to assist you, but an agency can generally provide that service better.
Three disadvantages of translation agencies:
- They often cannot guarantee the same translator for your projects every time. If you really liked a particular style or writing expertise, the translation will possibly be taken on by a different translator the next time, who often has a different style. This may cause a lack of uniformity in the way your company communicates.
- There is less, or no direct communication between the company and the translator. If you are unsure about something, or wish to ask several specific questions, it is unlikely that you will be able to directly contact the person in charge of your project without going through the agency.
-Agencies cannot always guarantee the quality of their translators. A very good agency can have a bad experience with a translator. However, they will of course, always resolve any issues that arise in this area.
Three advantages of freelance translators:
- Once you have found a translator with a style that adapts well to your company, you won't want to let them go! You can also mould them to meet your needs in a more personalized way.
- Availability. A freelance translator will work in closer collaboration with each company. Excellent translators will provide an impeccable service at any time of day and any day of the year.
- Translators who work directly with companies often have more experience and a greater degree of speciality because they target sectors they know well, rather than receiving projects assigned by agencies. However, the majority of highly experienced translators will always work with agencies too.
Three disadvantages of freelance translators:
- They can be hard to find! At least exceptionally skilled ones can be, and even then it can be hard to distinguish their different qualities.
- They are perfectionists! Translation is no easy task and companies tend to underestimate the time required to achieve a perfect result. But freelancers are sure to treat each project as their own, so they will not return it until they are happy that it is flawless. They may ask more questions in order to achieve the ideal result according to the exact context or destination of the text.
- Other companies find them, and they will have to prioritize their work. They may take two days instead of one, but you can be sure that your work will be in great hands.