Frequently Asked Questions

Find here the answers to the questions you may have about translation and interpreting. 


What is translation?

Translation is the art of transposing a text into another language, while maintaining its expressive and semantic value.

Translation serves many purposes: understanding a text written in a foreign language, interacting with foreign people, communicating at an international level or doing business abroad.

The translation industry

Translation is an ancient art that has developed slowly over the centuries, but which has simply exploded with international trade followed by total globalisation and has been completely revolutionised by the digital age. As a "young" industry, it lack structure and transparency. Several types of providers offer translation services: freelance translators, online translation software companies and translation agencies.

Prices usually depend on the number of words to be translated, the technical nature of the document and the deadline, and therefore can be very disparate. 

What about translation internally?

In order to assess your translation needs, you must understand that translation is a full-fledged job. A translator is a professional, expert in linguistics and in translation. Being bilingual is not sufficient to be able to translate a document. Oral fluency does not guarantee fluent, accurate and elegant writing. Syntax, style and vocabulary will inevitably reveal the "foreign touch" in a document translated by a non-professional. 

If you intend to translate a document solely to understand the content, getting it translated internally by a nonprofessional could be an option. However, if you intend to use the document abroad it will reflect your company’s reputation worldwide so you cannot afford it to be less than perfect. It is then essential to entrust the translation to a professional.

Is proofreading an alternative?

To get a document that has been translated by a nonprofessional proofread by a translation agency will guarantee a linguistic and stylistic quality. Proofreading is, in some cases, an alternative to translation which is less expensive.

How do I choose the right provider?

The different translation services offered and the lack of guidance make it difficult to choose the right service provider. Here are some recommendations:

- Define your objectives: do you need to translate a document in order to share some information or to use it as a communication tool for increasing sales abroad?

If it is the former, a translation "for content", quicker and less elaborate (and thus less expensive), could be considered.

If it is the latter, the reputation of your company (or yourself) is at stake and a translation “for publication” of high quality is required.

-Choose translation agencies rather than freelance translators. A translation agency relies on a network of translators and will identify the provider who is the most adapted to your needs, depending on his/her mother tongue,  specialisation and experience.

-Choose a provider offering a translation service which includes proofreading in order to guarantee a quality that matches your reputation.

-A translator must always translate a document into his/her mother tongue. 

-In order to reduce costs, only translate what is necessary.

-Do not hesitate to ask for a sample translation from several providers so that you make a decision based on quality and not exclusively on price.

What price should I pay?

Although nothing guarantees that a high price means high quality, it is more than likely that at a very low price, the translation provided may adversely affect your reputation.

Translation agencies often apply higher prices than freelance translators. This is due to the added value they bring when selecting the adequate translator and when proposing additional services.

Before choosing your provider, it is important to consider the budget allocated to translation as part of your international expansion strategy. If you cannot afford professional translation, it probably means that you are not yet ready to expand worldwide.

The price of a legal translation is often higher because of the technical nature of the documents.

What is a sworn translation? 

Some administrative institutions require a certifed translation of legal documents such as a driving licence, a birth certificate or a marriage certificate. A certified translator will then translate the document and affix his/her seal and signature guaranteeing the authenticity of the translation. The original translated document will then be sent to the client via post; it is necessary to include the postal delivery date in the deadline. Postal and certification costs will be added to the translation rate. 

What is an interpreter?

With a degree in interpreting and perfectly bilingual, an interpreter is a mental gymnastics genius. The interpreter must master both the context and the topic to translate orally the words and the sense of a person speaking in another language, most frequently in real time. He must retain both the original style and meaning. Many years of experience are necessary to perform such challenging work

How does interpreting work?

Each interpreting need is different: one might require a simultaneous, consecutive or whispered interpreting for instance for a conference or a business meeting in France or abroad (click here to know more). In order for us to understand your needs and to send you a proposal that meets your expectations, you will be asked to fill in a form. The suitable interpreter will then be identified according to his/her experience, language proficiency and specialisations. A date and meeting point will then be set with the interpreter. The interpreter might ask to receive some documentation on the symposium, conference or business meeting to prepare himself/herself in advance. Travel and materials expenses are usually included in the quotation.



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