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Guide of practical advice for the buyer

Does all of it really need to be translated? Choose the sections well which must be translated and leave out the redundant sections or those which may be irrelevant for a foreign client. If the document has not yet been drafted, remember that it will need to be translated later and hence produce a more succinct document. You would be surprised by how much this can save you.

A picture is worth a thousand words. It is possible that your international readers might appreciate a diagram, picture, map, etc. more than technical or literary long-windedness. This diagram, picture, etc. should be as neutral as possible (and text-free) so that it is suitable for any culture.

Translation is written and interpreting is oral. Even though we sometimes speak of “simultaneous translation”, the correct term is “simultaneous interpreting”.

Think in international terms right from the start. Avoid allusions to characters only known locally, to sports or topics linked to a specific culture, as well as any sentence or joke which may not provoke the desired reaction in people from other cultures. Take special care when mentioning human body parts.

And the price? Paying more will not necessarily guarantee you better quality, but paying below a certain level is a guarantee of poor quality, and this is not what you want for selling your products and services abroad. If you cannot afford to pay for a professional translation, then perhaps your company is not ready yet for going international.

Time also plays a crucial role. Urgent projects cost more, but the quality may be poorer due to rushed work if time is not allocated to a good revision.


It is advisable to consider the purpose and the target reader of a translation as this can influence the deadline and price of a translation considerably. Translating to “merely provide information” is not the same as translating for commercial purposes or for a publication. The quality required will certainly not be the same and therefore the price will vary.

If your intention is to sell your image abroad, resist the temptation of undertaking the translation yourself. Speaking a language is not the same as writing in it correctly so that it sounds natural and has the appropriate style. Remember that a translation also entails “adaptation” work which can only be undertaken properly by a suitably qualified native speaker of the target language.

Learn more about the information contained on this page by downloading this PDF guides on practical advice for translation buyers:

• Translation: Getting It Right 
• Translation: Buying a non-commodity

specialised translators, sworn translators, interpreters, native language teachers, software and website localisation, simultaneous and liaison interpreting, language training, translation tools, linguistic advice

Guide of practical advice for the buyer 1

Guide of practical advice for the buyer 2

The added value offered by a good translation company will save you a lot of time and stress

• Selection of the right professionals for your project
• Project management
• Quality control
• File conversion
• Homogeneous presentation in multi-language projects
• Backed by a good liability insurance

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