To make your translation order run smoothly, it’s always beneficial to be informed of the process and understand the steps involved. It’s good to have as much information as possible, but it’s also easy to fall in to the trap of believing common misconceptions which can cause issues with the final product. In order to avoid these pitfalls in your expectation, here are several misconceptions below.

A perfect translation should be done quickly

The world’s getting busier and we’re demanded to have things done now or things done yesterday, and we expect the same from a translator. It is normally expected from an agency that a translator translates approximately 2500 words in a normal 8 hour working day, and that’s not including the proofreading done on top of that by another translator.

Although professional translators and agencies are aware of the demand to produce translations quickly; if you want the best quality, then giving the translator(s) as much time as possible to work on the texts, is one of the most vital steps.


Cheaper is better

We all want a deal and we all like to feel that we’ve achieved a bargain, but that in itself can come at a price. The best agencies will be working with the best translators and they have their own price. These are individuals that have specific translation qualifications (usually in addition to their degrees), several years experience, specialise in certain sectors (such as legal, medical, marketing etc.), are technology trained in translation tools and have spent time living in the country of the language that they translating from.

Translation agencies can offer excellent price deals depending on certain factors such as the word count quantity, regularity of work etc. and translations should never be an expensive cost. However it’s worth spending a bit more on quality than having to spend more money fixing and re-translating poor quality translations that were offered to you at a ludicrously cheap price from unqualified ‘professionals’.


Machine translation is enough

This is a growing business and it is the quicker and cheaper option, but it will never be able to replace the ‘real deal’ of an actual translator or human intelligence. Machines can’t understand context, idioms, puns, jokes, subtle hints that only a human being can understand. Can you imagine the great works of literary fiction being machine translated? That’s why it’s always best to have a qualified proof-reader check these translations.

What’s the point in having a proof-reader?

If it’s translated by a professional, it should already be perfect, right? So why bother having a proof-reader? Having your translations reviewed by another translator isn’t supposed to be a way for an agency to try and get more money out of you.  For quality reasons, everything needs to be checked. No matter how good and thorough the translator, there are always ways to make even the tiniest grammatical mistake. Having another pair of eyes check over the work can make a big difference and save you a lot of embarrassment in the future.


It’s just translating words

Sentences and words can be understood differently in certain contexts so it’s recommended that you discuss with the agency your expectations and objectives of what you intend to create. This can be particularly true with marketing campaigns: is it translation you need, or transcreation? If you want a document to be translated in to Portuguese, the translation would be different depending on whether it’s for a Brazilian audience, or for an Angolan one. Sending reference files and glossaries can make a huge difference if you want certain words to be translated in a specific way. Also the types of files you send to the agency can make a difference to the price and deadline.

For example Microsoft Word documents are easier to use than scanned PDF files with pictures and diagrams. With the latter, DTP work would need to be carried out by the agency as well as translation. All this would need to be discussed in depth with your Account Manager at the agency.

A lot of skill and effort goes in to creating and delivering the perfect translation and it’s not a simple step-by-step process.

Are there any other misconceptions that you know of?


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by Wolfestone Admin

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