Document Translation Services
Document Translation into over 60 languages:
Do you have a technical specification to translate into Dutch, and Danish, as well as Dari? Or perhaps you need a a legal contract translated from English into Estonian or Eskimo? Better Languages is here to help.
Okay, we don’t translate much into Eskimo languages like Inuit, but we can if needed.
Please note that we work only with corporate clients. We don’t translate documents for private individuals.
How will we deal with your documents?
We treat any document translation as confidential. Our team only uses documents you supply for the purpose of a quote. We will then also use them 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 document is uneditable, we will estimate the word count. In this case it may take us a little longer to quote.
- All documents are treated as confidential
- You can send us documents electronically
- We work with most major formats
Document translation formats:
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.
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.