Document Translation Services

Accurate and engaging texts in any language

A legal document that has been translated

Document Translation into over 60 languages:

Do you have a technical specification to translate into Dutch and Danish, or maybe Dari? Do you need a legal contract translated from English into Estonian or Eskimo? We’re here to help with all kinds of document translation services.

Okay, we don’t translate much into Eskimo languages like Inuit, but we can if you need us to.

Please note that we only work with corporate clients.

Types of text

We translate a wide range of technical documents. You can view some of our top specialisms on this site. Many texts don’t sit easily in a single category. For example, a few years ago we translated news articles about an archaeological dig in France. There were marketing elements, as the translation was for press use. The text was also educational, it explained the work involved and its historical significance. There was also specialist archaeological terminology. 

One of our key skills is selecting the right translators for your project. The above example required a translator with a broad range of quite specialist technical knowledge. You can read more about our range of technical translation

We also work with a range of sectors as described on our typical sectors page.

How will we deal with your documents?

We treat any text as confidential. Our team only uses your documents for the purposes of a quote, and then to undertake the translation, once you decide to go ahead.

In most cases we don’t need original documents. For the purposes of a quote it is best to send us electronic copies of the text. Preferably in an editable format. If your text is uneditable, we will estimate the word count. In this case it may take us a little longer to quote.

  • All communication is confidential
  • You can send us documents electronically
  • We work with most major formats

document translation

File formats and layout:

As you would expect, we work with most major file formats. You can send us text in any of the Microsoft 365 formats including, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. We can also work from editable PDF files. If they aren’t editable, we will translate and supply the translation in Word, following the source layout as logically as possible. We also work with HTML and XML. 

In addition to translation, we also offer DTP and typesetting services. We normally supply print proofs for your approval, and then fully finished artwork in InDesign, Illustrator or high res PDF. Our expertise includes working with right to left languages such as Arabic and Farsi. These corrupt in standard versions of Illustrator, InDesign, and most other major design formats, and need to be specially typeset.

Following the source text:

The normal rule in document translation is that we will match the source format as closely as possible. If working with an editable Word document as the source, we will usually supply a Word document with the translated text. Our translation team will match the layout of the original as closely as possible. Most languages will be longer than English, so it may not be possible to fit the target language text in the same number of pages as the original, without some compromise such as reducing the font size. Some languages are particularly long, for example Russian is typically more than 50% longer than an English equivalent text. Some languages are shorter than English, for example Simplified or Traditional Chinese, as each character is a word.

We can follow your brand guidelines, however there may be important required differences in a given target language. A good example is use of capitalisation in titles and sub-headings, German routinely capitalises many common nouns, which would be lower case in English. It can be quite trendy in English to have lower case headings, but in German this looks horrible.

Nikki Peskett, Host Systems Ltd. “We were very impressed with the quick turnaround of our translation, and will be coming back to you with any more leaflets that we need translating.”

Translating uneditable documents:

We can work from uneditable documents. However,  we do need sight of the files before acceptance. We normally estimate word count for uneditable files. Additional charges may apply if we have to manually input the source text. We may also have to charge extra for complex formatting.

Translation document legibility:

There are limits to what our translators can achieve if you source document is of poor quality. If we are providing a certified translation, for example translating court documents, we will identify any text which is not legible within the translation. It is quite common for official stamps to include illegible wording.

A couple of years ago we translated a large volume of photocopied medical records for a court case. The original notes were hand written by different medical staff over a period of time. There were also differing levels of legibility, making translation very difficult. Many court documents include photocopies disclosed by the other side in a case, which again may have legibility issues.

Translation approach with illegible or unclear text:

Translators won’t guess at the intended meaning, they will only translate what is clear. They will highlight words or sections which aren’t clear. If translating an official document and 50% of it is illegible, you will receive a translation with “illegible”, “illegible”, “illegible” appearing many times within the translation. No, you won’t receive a discount because the translator has only translated 50% of the text, as the amount of work involved is actually more than if the source text was fully legible.

How can you help us with document translations?

  • If the source text is editable it will help us when quoting, and will speed up the process. For large none editable text we will estimate the word count.
  • Background information is always useful for translators, for example do you have a required house style in the target language? Do you have approved glossaries of terminology, or previous translated material you would like us to be consistent with?
  • Promptly answering queries really helps. We won’t query things every 5 minutes, but if the text is unclear, we do need your input. For example English has many words, and collocations of words, which have a number of possible meanings. If there is a typo in the source text, but the meaning is clear, we will just correct it, but if it makes the text unclear, we will have to query it with you.
  • If you are authoring the document, writing with translation in mind helps the process. Short sentences are easier to translate. Some things won’t easily translate such as humour and plays on words.

Next steps

If you would like a quote, please send us a copy of your documents, together with your full contact details. We don’t give prices over the phone, or based on your estimated word count. This is because document styles and formats vary significantly, which can affect the amount of work involved. Uneditable documents are normally significantly more expensive, as they are very time heavy to get a reasonable layout. It is much safer and better for us to work from live editable files. Contact us to discuss your requirements.