Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Document Translation: Finding the Right Words

The following is a guest post, courtesy of LanguageLine Solutions, a company which offers a range of translating and interpreting services.

With so much international communication these days, it is often necessary to use a document translation service. If you find yourself in this position, before clicking on the first online company you see, think about what your specific needs are. Choosing a company unsuited to your particular job can be both unsatisfactory and expensive, and in worst case scenarios can lead to serious misunderstandings with legal, health, or business consequences. It may be necessary to provide technical drawings or photographs along with the text so that the translator can fully understand the meaning of the words in context.

The first thing you should ask yourself is how long you can wait for the translation. Speed comes at a premium, so choosing a company that offers fast online document translation may cost you more. The other factor with regard to price is word count. This is generally based on your original document, whichever language it is written in. However, you might want to compare how different companies calculate the job: some simply charge for the overall number of words, while others discount not only repetitions of the same word but also common words and phrases which the translator knows by heart, rather than needs to spend time working out. This could be a big advantage.

What kind of document do you want translated? It is obviously a more straightforward task to translate documents in everyday English, for instance, rather than one which contains many technical terms, such as medical or legal. These generally require specialist translators and may cost more, unless the document is identical to one they have previously dealt with.

Most online document translation companies will offer a quote if you send them a copy of your document. You still need to ensure that they are trustworthy, however. A company that is used by many multinational corporations is likely to come well recommended. Other companies may state that their work is recognized by official bodies, such as the Foreign Office or other government department of the country to which you wish to send the translation. It is well worth doing a bit of research at this stage to ensure that you are choosing the best possible document translation service for your purpose. If you are dealing with foreign property, for instance, or have business abroad, you are sure to need an accurate translation of such official documents as wills, house deeds, licenses, and contracts.

After finding a fast online document translation service that seems to fit your needs, don't forget to read the small print. This outlines how soon they want to be paid, what they guarantee to do, and how they would recompense you if they either fail to deliver on time or do an inadequate job. Some companies offer to redo all, or part, of a translation if it is not to your satisfaction. Do not expect the translation to be different from the original, though. They will not turn your factual copy into a sales pitch, or love letter into a Valentine's Day poem! 

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