TRANSLATION AND LOCALIZATION FAQ


What's the difference between translation and localization?

Will I know exactly how much a translation will cost before ordering?

Is there a minimum fee for translation?

How long are your quotes valid?

How do you guarantee your translations?

Your translation looks different from the original document and uses symbols I’ve never seen before. What happened?

The document I gave you was 3 pages long, but your finished translation is 5 pages. Why?

What languages do you translate?

How do I start?



What's the difference between translation and localization?

Localization takes translation one step further by specifically tailoring the product culturally to your target audience. For a good localization of a software manual, for example, a change in tone is sometimes necessary. English language technical manuals often strive to be more accessible by adopting a breezy style and a familiar tone. However, the typical Spanish-language reader would expect a more serious, formal approach in a technical manual, and a Japanese reader would appreciate very detailed, step-by-step explanations. We also make sure that the examples used in your document are appropriate to your target users: examples that may seem perfectly natural to an English language audience may appear artificial or foreign to your Spanish readers.

Names, currency symbols, time and date conventions, and other regional variations are all localized to ensure that your target audience will receive a product that feels like it was made specifically for them.


Will I know exactly how much a translation will cost before ordering?

Our translation rates are based on the word count of the document in the original, or source, language, as well as the content (does it contain a lot of technical, medical, or otherwise uncommon vocabulary?). This way, you know exactly what you will pay for the job from the very beginning. Some companies charge according to the number of words in the target language. This method has several disadvantages. First, you never know what your job will cost until it is done. Second, we believe that the only thing on the translator’s mind should be the most appropriate expression in the target language. He should not be penalized for brevity. A translator could conceivably abuse this system by using longer sentences on purpose, degrading the quality of the resulting text and inflating your price.


Is there a minimum fee for translation?

There is a minimum charge per project for our translation and localization service, which depends on the type of translation needed. This minimum may not apply in ongoing or corporate contracts.


How long are your quotes valid?

Every quote is valid for 30 days from issuance.


How do you guarantee your translations?

If, within 10 days of receipt of the finished translation, you notify us of any discrepancies or are otherwise not satisfied with our work, we will correct any errors made by the translator at no cost to you.


Your translation looks different from the original document and uses symbols I've never seen before. What happened?

A proper translation is not just a matter of putting words correctly into another language. All translations, even technical texts, must take into account cultural considerations and styles. The way documents are organized and written in one country may not be usual, or even understandable, in another. A translation that is localized for its destination language and audience will include the proper punctuation symbols, currency, units of measurement and temperature, and more. The goal, as we see it, is that a native speaker of the target language will glean the same meaning from and understanding of the text as a native speaker of the source language. A document full of foreign symbols or references impedes understanding. Imagine an upside-down question mark in an English text... Or weights and measurements in kilograms and degrees centigrade... Not to mention the more subtle, nuance-based differences that emerge when translating text.

Computerized translations fail miserably in this respect. A computer does “word for word” translation; there is no way for it to take into account context, emotion, and the nuance that is the beauty of human language. We’re often given “translations” to edit that were obviously done mechanically. These translations are usually so far from adequate that they need to be completely re-translated from scratch, the original being a waste of time and money for our clients.

Here are some more examples of common translation and localization concerns. In English, there is one word for “you”, and it is used for singular and plural, masculine and feminine, familiar and formal. In Spanish there are different forms of "you" and a good translator should carefully choose the right form of "you" in each context. Even within the same language of Spanish, there are vastly different conventions between the Spanish of Latin American countries and the Spanish of Spain, and still more amongst the different countries in Latin America. For a simple example, Latin American calendars start on Sunday, while calendars in Spain start on Monday. This would lead to a difference in formatting depending upon which Spanish-speaking country was the target.


The document I gave you was 8 pages long, but your finished translation is 10 pages. Why?

Word length and sentence construction vary greatly from language to language. You should expect the translated version of an English document to be approximately 15-25% longer in Spanish, for example. While this will not affect your translation costs, this can lead to some necessary adjustments in layouts, raising or lowering font sizes to reflect this change if a similar layout style and size is to be maintained. Moreover, if you are having a document translated to be subsequently recorded, please take into consideration that recording time (and number of words) may be longer in the target language than in the original English source script. This awareness should help you plan your timeline and budget more accurately.

When translating from English, please prepare for a possible increase in word count in the target language according to the following percentages:

SPANISH
FRENCH
ITALIAN
GERMAN
15-25%
20-25%
20-25%
10-20%

 

KOREAN
CHINESE
THAI
JAPANESE
20-50%
0-5%
30-50%
20-50%



What languages do you translate?

Between our in-house translators and our translation partners, there hasn't been a language so far that we couldn't handle. The most commonly-requested languages are the "FIGS" (French, Italian, German, and Spanish), and Asian languages such as Japanese, Korean and Chinese. We also handle versioning from US English to UK English or Australian English and back.


How do I start?

Email us for a quote. If possible, include your document or a sample of your document so that we can tailor our response to your unique project.