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Translation services FAQ

By Julie Fry, 

Sometimes you just need the answer to your  translation queries quickly, so I have compiled a list of translation services FAQs. If you found what you were looking for great, but if you would prefer to speak to us call on 01225 580770 or contact us here we are always happy to help. 

  1. How long will the translations take?
    The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.
  2. How should I send the files over to you?
    In general, it is fine to email the files over. If they are large files you could send them using WeTransfer, FTP/SFTP, or through a link to the file in Google Drive, Dropbox or any other cloud storage system.
  3. Do you use native translators?
    Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.
  4. Are your translators in-house?
    Since our translators are all native, most are based in-country. This is extremely beneficial as it means that the translator is up-to-date with language trends, cultural trends, slang, news and the general mood in their native country. The advantages of this cannot be overstated.
  5. Can you give me a rough cost over the phone?
    Yes, for standard translations we can provide an estimate of costs over the phone. If we can see and analyse the source file, we will be able to provide a more accurate quote, which could save you money.
  6. Does the translation need to be proofread?
    Brightlines is an ISO 9001 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.
  7. What are your payment terms?
    New clients usually pay 50% of the project costs upfront and 50% on delivery. Regular clients are eligible to set up an account with us which will allow payment terms of 14 days.
  8. Is there any chance of a discount?
    Yes. When we have analysed the file you may be entitled to discounts based on repetitions (repeated words) and, if you are a regular client, matches with previous translations picked up by our translation memory. If ours is not the best quote but you would like to work with us, please do get in touch and we will see if there is room to manoeuvre on price whilst retaining quality.
  9. Which languages can you translate into?
    We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages.
  10. What do you mean by specialised terminology?
    Specialised terminology refers to any words or phrases within the translation which are used within a specific industry domain. For example, a text relating to Nanotechnology makes reference to ‘Nanopillars’. This is a specialised term and would need a specialist translator well-versed in nanotechnology to know how it should be translated.
  11. Can you arrange an interpreter for a conference?
    At present we do not offer an interpreting service but we may be able to point you in the right direction.
  12. What do you mean by typesetting?
    When we talk about typesetting (or DTP), we are generally referring to the formatting of the translated text in the target document so that it retains the same style and layout as the original. Typesetting is usually carried out in page layout software such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress, but we can also typeset in other packages such as MS Word, MS Publisher or PowerPoint. Translations can cause the text to expand by as much as 30%, so experts are needed to make sure the text fits back into the original layout without losing the design style of the original. We have typesetting specialists who can make your translated documents look as close to the original as possible in any language.
  13. What do you mean by repetitions?
    “Repetitions” or “reps” refer to repeated words or phrases within a document. If you have a clothes catalogue that requires translation of the term, “100% organic cotton”, then this may appear multiple times within the document. These terms will only need to be translated once, subsequent instances would just have to be checked. We are able to offer price discounts for projects where repetitions occur.
  14. We need a large translation completed within 24 hours; can you help?
    Yes. A lot depends on what is required and the word count of the document for translation. If the text is simple, requires only a standard translator and is for reference purposes only (meaning it will not be published, distributed or used in a court case), then yes, no problem. If the text is more complicated other options are available such as splitting the translation between multiple translators. We will always try to assist with short deadlines so please speak to us to see what we can do for you.
  15. Can you translate marriage certificates?
    We only translate for companies, not for individuals.
  16. I’ve been asked to get a certified translation; what does that mean?
    This generally means that you need a certificate from the translator to say that, to the best of their knowledge, the translation is an accurate representation of the source text. This is generally only required for legal translations.
  17. I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?
    Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.
  18. Can I send you scanned documents?
    Yes, you can send scanned documents for translation. The quality of the scan is important – if it is badly scanned or faded then the translators may have to spend more time deciphering the text which can have an impact on costs. For high quality scans we can use OCR technology to extract the text. If we receive a scanned document, we will deliver a translated Word document in return, unless you have requested an alternative format. If you would like the translation formatting in the same way as the original with images and logos etc., this can be arranged at an additional cost.
  19. This is sensitive information. What guarantees do I have that it will not be shared?
    We have secure audited workflows available for clients that need highly confidential documents translated. Please contact us for more information.
  20. Why do you need me to supply you with the fonts?
    We have an extensive font library, but if you have used a special font for your InDesign project you will need to supply us with it (if the license allows this) when you send the source files over. Not all fonts support all languages; if you have a specific font you want to use we can help you source an equivalent or a different version that does support the languages required.
  21. Why do you need me to supply you with the links?
    Without the links and images for an InDesign project we will be unable to check that the document is typeset correctly before delivering the file back to you. If the size of the links are large we can start with just the InDesign file and the links can be uploaded whilst we are translating the document. We generally only need the links at the typesetting stage.
  22. Do you need me to extract the text from the PowerPoint Presentation so that you can translate it?
    We can translate the slide text and the notes directly in the PowerPoint files so you do not need to supply the text separately.
  23. Can you supply us with a bi-lingual file?
    We don’t understand the language.Yes, we can send you a bi-lingual file when the translation is finished.
  24. Can you recreate this PDF?
    I don’t have the original file.Yes. We can re-create a file using just the PDF but we may need you to provide high-resolution versions of any images within the document if it is to be used for high quality printing.
  25. I’ve run the translation you supplied through Google Translate and it doesn’t sound right.
    Google is not as accurate as a human translator as it cannot take things like context into account. For example, the word “molestar” in Spanish can translate as disturb, bother, irritate, hassle or inconvenience. In a formal document you may want to translate this as “inconvenience”, but when translating a conversation in a book, “bother” may be more appropriate. Google cannot make this distinction, but a human translator can. Since our translators are qualified professionals you can trust that the translation you have received is the most appropriate one.
  26. Can we send the files over to you at 8pm tonight?
    Yes you can. Our office usually closes at 5:30pm and we are closed at weekends. But clients often need to deliver files later or over the weekend, and a 24 hour service is provided if required.
  27. Do you work weekends?
    A 24 hour service can be provided if necessary. Our translators can be available to work on Saturdays and Sundays, but this generally needs to be arranged in advance. Do call us if you have an urgent request.
  28. What do you use in the office there?
    Macs or PCs?We use both, Macs and PCs.
  29. The manager has made some changes and added some text to the original file. Can you take care of this? Will you charge?
    Yes we can take care of this. However, once we have started translating the file, any changes or amendments to the source text may be chargeable as client amendments.
  30. What do you mean by transcreation?
    Transcreation is a much more creative way of translating that is particularly useful for marketing text and slogans. For more information, please see our blog articles on transcreation.
  31. How many alternatives will we receive for our transcreated slogan?
    Generally the transcreators will aim to offer you two to three alternatives for your slogan, including a back translation and the rationale behind each choice.
  32. Why does the transcreator need two days to complete three hours’ work?
    Transcreators often request the opportunity to sleep on their ideas and look at their slogans with fresh eyes the next morning.
  33. It’s only a few lines – why is there a minimum charge?
    We have internal admin costs which are the same for a 50-word project as they are for a 500-word project.
  34. Guide Price. Do you charge per page? If so, what is the price for a page of French>English and a page of English>French translations?
    We charge per word. Standard translation and proofing starts at £0.135 (£0.10 for translation, £0.035 for proofing). Specialised translations start at £0.17(£0.135 for translation, £0.04 for proofing). Both use different professional translators to translate and proofread. We always recommend a separate proofread for texts that will be published.
  35. What is the turnaround time for translations? Are these times guaranteed?
    On average, a translator can process 2500 words per day for standard text, less for more technical or creative text. We guarantee project timescales when we quote, or when a range of projects have been specified and timescales agreed. We are extremely flexible and can usually help when times are tight.
  36. What format do you require the documentation in?
    Below is a list of file types we can accept. If one is not listed, we can usually accommodate it. Adobe FrameMaker (mif), Adobe Illustrator (fxg, svg), Adobe InDesign (idml, optional indd), Adobe Photoshop (asp, aspx, dita, html, htm, ini), iPhone apps (strings), Java property files (json), Microsoft Office (doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx), Microsoft Visio (vdx), Open Office (sxw, odt, ods, odp), Trados (ttx), Wordfast (txml), as well as pdf (returns MS Word doc), resx, php, po / pot, rc, rtf, sdf, srt, svg, tpl, txt, xhtml, xht, Xlf, xliff, sdlxliff, xml, yml, and yaml.
  37. Can these files be uploaded or must they be delivered?
    We can enable the upload of files to our portal where you can generate instant quotes and start translations, or you can email them to us. We also have a secure workflow where all documents are exchanged on secure (SFTP) file servers. This could be used for embargoed or commercially sensitive documents.
  38. What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?
    All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.
  39. If we use your agency often, will we be able to use the same translator for consistency?
    Yes, we try and keep translators for specific projects and clients, this does increase the consistency, and the translator will learn more about your business and the way you like the text written. For one of our longest clients (13 years and rising) we have used the same German translator for 10 years! We also use translation memory and glossaries to increase consistency.
  40. How do you guarantee the accuracy and quality of the translations? This might seem like an obvious question but we have recently used an agency that provided us with a translation that had clearly not been proofread.
    To provide the best quality we only use tried-and-tested translators, matched to the specific industry domain of the client. We always recommend the translations are proofread by a second translator to guarantee the quality. The client is also free to deal with this themselves if they have employees willing and able to carry out proofing tasks.

Would you like to chat to Brightlines Translation about our translation services? For a quote contact us here. We are happy to help, and advice is always free.

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