Tips for Buying Translations

In a weekly market it is common practice for traders to offer their fruit at different prices. In Germany, for instance, passion fruit are usually more expensive than plums because they are more difficult to get. Even if they look similar on the outside, on the inside they are very different, not to mention their taste.

Roughly the same can be said of translations: Some are easy and others need more time, such as adaptations and localisations, because they include adjusting the text to the language and cultural needs of a particular target group.

Finding a translator can be a challenge. The market resembles a jungle where amateurs offer their services next to highly qualified graduate translators, medium-sized agencies and global language service provider groups. On your search for a suitable translator you should always ask several different providers for quotes. There can be huge differences in prices and in quality. Be careful of very cheap offers, they are often an omen for low quality. On the other hand, expensive pricing not necessarily equals high quality.

One reason for the often considerable differences in quality is that the professional title of „translator“ is not protected by law in Germany and other countries. Therefore you should always ask service providers about their qualifications and experience. Each translation project has different demands, for example regarding specialist terminology, scope and degree of difficulty. Not least because of this, translations should always be done by professional service providers with expertise and an acknowledged degree or diploma.

When requesting a quote for a translation, you should send your provider the complete text for viewing and add other important information, such as your requested delivery date and a briefing on the target audience. Clear and detailed information will allow your translator to make a fair and appropriate estimate that is tailored to your needs and will bear fruit for your benefit.

More useful tips can be found in the publication „Translation – Getting it right. A Guide to Buying Translations“, which is offered for free download by the Institute of Translating and Interpreting (ITI).

Vincenzo Campi - The Fruit Seller