Get a FAST
If you are in need of translation services you may find the following guidelines helpful. These are based on the ITI guide for buying translation as well as our own experience:
The golden rule of translations
Work with professional translators who translate into their native language AND are specialised in the field of your text
A Dutch text to be translated into English and French should be translated by a native speaker of English and French respectively. Likewise, a French text to be translated into Dutch and Spanish should be done by a native speaker of Dutch and Spanish respectively.
Beware of people who claim to be bilingual!
Very few people can claim to be perfectly bilingual, and even fewer can claim to have a perfect written command of two languages. Professional translators usually translate in one direction only – their mother tongue – and in their area of expertise. Many people who think of themselves as bilingual grossly overestimate their language skills.
Doing the translation yourself might seem the most cost-effective solution, but you will be deceiving yourself. Never underestimate the work of a professional!
Speaking a foreign language does not guarantee an idiomatic translation and the ability to converse in a foreign language with a business partner does not make you a translator. Even if it may sound correct to you, the translation may not read fluently to a native speaker and might even contain mistakes. Leave translating to the professionals!
Schedule sufficient time for the translation
Rush jobs are a recipe for disaster. Translation work is more than just typing words – it requires research, editing, quality checking, revising, etc. Depending on the type of text, the standard output of a professional translator can vary from 2,000 to 3,000 words a day. Enough time to finalise a translation is a key ingredient for a high-quality end product.
Translators and translation agencies who promise ridiculously high outputs within stringent deadlines should be avoided at all costs. They are most likely going to split the text between several translators, which will result in inconsistencies and a poor-quality final product. Just imagine a newspaper article written by five different people – it will nearly always lack coherence and unity of style.
Always perform a DTP check after typesetting
We speak from experience when we insist that our customers always have the typeset version of a translated catalogue/flyer/brochure checked one more time by us after typesetting and before sending it to the printer. If we do the typesetting ourselves, the DTP check is always included as part of our quality procedure.