by Catherine Deschamps-Potter, ICD Translation Vice President of Sales and Marketing
- Translation is usually priced by the word. It is less common, but not unheard of, to charge per page, hour, or flat rate. A translation memory (TM) of words and phrases is built and stored in the cloud to use on future projects. TM is priced at a lower rate and will save you time and money, while increasing consistency and accuracy.
- Your TM should be easily accessible. Using a cloud-based translation management system, you should be able to access your translation memories and terminology at any given time. Ask the Language Service Provider (LSP) what their policy is on TM access and how long they store it for you.
- The most accurate translations are done by humans. The most important thing when translating is to keep the original meaning of the source text. Native-speaking, professional translators understand the unique nuances of each language and culture, as well as the complexity of industry terminology, allowing the original message to be maintained.
- Documents should be returned the same way they are given. Once complete, desktop publishers should be able to format your translated content so it mirrors the layout of your English source file. You should not have to worry about formatting foreign language content after translation.
- It’s important to plan ahead. In order to save time and money later, you should start planning for translation before the document is produced in its native language. Remember to leave enough white space in your document for text expansion. Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese) are usually about 25% longer than the English source text. Important table tip: tables should be formatted in columns and not inline, especially if they contain numbers that will need to be converted.
- The estimated turnaround time depends on the size and complexity of the project. It’s typical for a translator to average 2,000 words per day and it’s reasonable to expect at least a few more days for desktop publishing, proofreading, and editing based on the size of the project. Additionally, ask the LSP about quote turnaround time. Most translation quotes should be turned around in 24 hours or less.