Key points to remember when requesting a translation

For many people, the reason for turning to a professional translator is to delegate as quickly as possible a translation job that they are not able to do themselves.

However, as in many other areas, it’s important to ask yourself the right questions before placing an order. Indeed, a project that is well-prepared in advance, involving instructions clearly defined with your translation provider, is the best guarantee of both an optimal result and a considerable time saving.

That’s why we’ve prepared a list of important points to remember when you request a professional translation.

1 – Languages concerned:
Indicate the source language (the language of the original document) and the target language(s) (the language into which you wish to have your text translated).

2 – Source document:
It is essential to provide the source document(s) at the outset, so that the provider can draw up a precise quote in terms of cost and timescale.

3 – Type of text:
Specify the type of text to be translated: legal, technical, marketing, literary, etc. Each type of text may require a specific skill-set and approach.

4 – Format:
It is important to specify whether you need the source format to be preserved in the translation (e.g. for documents containing tables, charts, etc.) or whether, on the contrary, you would like the translation delivered in a format different from the original.

5 – Purpose and target audience:
Explain why you are requesting this translation and for whom it is intended. This will help the translator adapt the tone and style accordingly. Depending on your needs, our project managers can also offer you higher- or lower-cost solutions, the latter including post-editing services.

6 – Background:
Provide as much contextual information as possible about the text to be translated. This can include information about the company, the field of activity, specific terms, etc.

7 – Turnaround time:
Specify the deadline by which you need the translation. Make sure you give a realistic deadline to allow the translator to perform the work properly.

8 – Contact details:
Provide contact details so that the project manager can get in touch with you if there are any questions or requests for clarification.

9 – Specific instructions:
Give detailed instructions on the specific elements you want the translator to take into account, such as tone (formal, informal), style (concise, explanatory), terminology to be used, and so on.

10 – Revisions:
Clarify whether you plan revision cycles or expect a final version straight away. If revisions are necessary, indicate how they will be handled (by you or a member of your in-house staff; by the end customer, etc.).

11 – Confidentiality:
If the text contains confidential information, be sure to raise the issue of confidentiality and have us sign an agreement if necessary.

12 – Budget:
Discuss the financial aspects from the outset, to avoid any misunderstandings. Some projects may involve additional costs, depending on their complexity or format.

If you have the following items, you can also provide:

A sample:
If possible, provide a sample of the text to be translated. This will give the translator a better understanding of the style and terminology you’re looking for.

Reference file(s) and/or glossaries:
Please feel free to share similar or previously translated files, as well as glossaries, to ensure consistency of terminology.

As you can see, the clearer and more detailed your instructions, the greater the chances that the professional translator will be able to provide you with a result that meets your needs. Open communication and collaboration with the translator are essential for a high-quality translation.

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have; our project managers are here to help!

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Contact us at the Birdwell office nearest to you or submit a business inquiry online.

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