Points to Consider When Requesting a Translation

Placing a Translation Order 101: The Three Fundamentals

January 6, 2015

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How do you choose a translation company? How do you request a translation? If you have done it before, you have a point of reference for things like cost and timeframe.

However, if you have no clear idea about cost, timeframe, quality or any other factor, you might be hesitant about requesting a translation. Let us outline some guidelines to help you when requesting a translation.

1. Translation Cost is Bound to be One of Your Concerns

If you have never requested a translation before, it is difficult for you to guess the cost of the translation. You can compare quotes from several different companies and have confidence knowing the criteria on which the prices are based.

Basically, there are two ways of charging for a translation: "target text price" or "source text price". For an English to Japanese translation, the price determined based on the number of characters in the Japanese target text is the "target text price", while the "source text price" is determined by the number of words in the English source text.

It is important to note here that the number of words or characters in the target text is not yet known at the quoting stage. The basic translation count ratio between English and Japanese is thought to be 1:2, meaning a 100-word English text would translate into a Japanese text of around 200 characters. However, this target-text volume varies between translations. Therefore, there may be a difference between the quoted price and the invoiced amount. If you are determining your budget in advance, the "source text price" gives you more confidence.

2. The Importance of Providing a Detailed Request Stating the Intended Purpose of the Translation

One text can be translated in a multitude of different ways. Therefore, bear in mind that the way in which the translation is requested can make a significant difference to the final product. For example, what might happen if the only information provided with the translation request is that it is a "translation for publication in a journal"? The translator would have to read the source text and then complete the translation to suit a type of journal, target audience, etc. of his or her own choosing.

As a result, the translation provided may differ from what the client had imagined. Sometimes a translator may have to perform a translation without waiting for confirmation of any of the detailed instructions for the translation, particularly if there is a short turnaround time. This is precisely why detailed information is important at the quoting stage. In some cases, the source text and target text even have different formats, such as patent application or confirmation documents. By all means, provide as much detail as possible when requesting a translation.

3. Make Full Use of Translation Company Trials

Many translation companies provide trial translations for their clients. This enables you to check an actual translation free of charge before you request a translation and consider whether or not you will place an official order. It is a good idea to use trials to give you a sense of confidence before you start, particularly for projects that will require translation on a regular basis. If you already have the source text at hand, using part of it as the text for the trial will make your decision easier.

Choice of Translation Company and Detailed Communication Enables High Quality in Short Delays

If you need a high-quality translation in a short period of time, it is crucial to have the right translation company. Select the most suitable pricing system for your content and use a trial to check the quality. When you request the translation, it is important to carefully convey all the required details, such as the intended purpose of the document, the medium and the target audience. Even if you have no experience with translation requests, you can expect a high-quality delivery if you pay attention to these details. So be sure to keep these three points in mind when you request a translation.

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