Translation and you: getting a translation

If you have never had a translation done before, you may wish to read this page to understand the process and what you should expect when you order a translation.

If you already have experience of translation and want to submit your enquiry, you can contact me here.


What to do when getting a translation

When you decide to have your text translated, there are a few things to have in mind.

Ensure you have a finished text that you are ready to get translated. While it is possible to make changes to texts after translation has started, this may cause confusion if multiple changes are being made throughout the process. Having a finished text/file will be much easier for both parties. That said, your translator may be able to take this into account and work with you to accommodate these changes.

Set a realistic deadline: enquire with your translator as to how long the translation is likely to take. Translators will often be able to do work faster for a higher price, but there is a limit – they’re only human after all. Make sure you and your translator understand when you need to provide files for translation and when your translator should be giving these back to you.

Agree a price: translators generally work in a rate of “[currency] per word”, whether that be dollars or euros per word or any other currency. Make sure you know the likely amount your translation will come to and that this will be within your budget. Translations involving more uncommon languages may cost more, as translators for these languages will be less available. You should also agree payment terms with your translator (will the invoice be paid in 30 days, 60 days?) and although it seems obvious – make sure you’re talking in the same currency.

Be available: even experienced and specialised translators will sometimes need to ask you for further information or context on your text, and may need your input to help them make style choices that will suit you in the text.


What happens with your text

Once all the terms and timescales have been agreed, the translator will begin the process of translating your text. This is often done with the help of a “Computer-Assisted Translation” tool (CAT tool, for short). This isn’t quite the same as Google Translate or the like – it’s a program that helps identify repeated translations and likely translations that help a human translator to do their job faster and more accurately. The most widely known CAT tool is SDL Trados.

Most CAT tools used by translators will be able to translate all normal file types (doc, PDF, txt, html, and so on) If you are providing your translator with files that are specific to on CAT tool, make sure they have this software available to them.

During the translation, the translator will, to the best of their ability, take your text and parse it into the target language. This is usually done with the aim of being as faithful to the original as possible, while still making it relatable and understandable to someone of a completely different language (and quite possibly, culture). If you have specific requirements about how faithful the text should be translated (i.e. you can give the translator quite a bit of lee-way, or you need the target translation to match the source text as closely as possible) then you should discuss this with your translator.

Once this process is complete, your translator will provide you with your completed text in the format upon which you agreed. You should check that you are happy with the translation, and you may also wish to have it professionally proofread. While a translator will do their best to guarantee the accuracy and quality of their work, another pair of eyes can give that extra little polish to your text.


Get started

If you’re looking for a French to English translation, you’re in the right place – click here to get in touch with me about your translation needs. Need a translator for another language? You may want to check out, which has a directory of translators who may be able to assist you.