When you decide you need a translator for a document or a website, you may find yourself wondering where to begin. As with most things, preparation is the key to success. Here are some hot tips to make your translation project a success.
When Hiring a Translator, Prepare Your Document in Advance
Use the word “WIN” to remember these key steps translators need to work with editable documents and you can simplify your project immensely by putting it into a simple format such as MS Word. If you have a website, take the content you want translated and paste it into a Word document. This will make it possible for the translation company to quickly review the content, do a word count and quote your project.
W – COUNT WORDS – Most translation companies charge by the number of words in your document before it is translated. This is called the “Source Word Count”. Prepare your document in a format which is easy to work with so that a word count can be determined and agreed upon.
I – IDENTIFY – While you may eventually want to translate your entire website or a series of documents, take the time to “Identify” the documents or web pages you need translated first or which will give you the best return on your investment and prioritize your project accordingly. Once you identify which document or web page you want to translate first, you can get that quoted and get a good feel for how the process works before moving on to larger volume/higher dollar projects.
N – NOTIFY – It is important to “Notify” bidders of exactly what you are looking for and what you want them to quote. Limit your specifications to a few key points and always include the following:
1. SOURCE AND TARGET LANGUAGE – American English to Latin American Spanish (US and Int.l)
2. QUOTE FORMAT – Price per Source Word in USD (i.e. $0.15 per source word)
3. WORD COUNT – 1000 words
4. LEAD TIME – Need document by 9/10/2014
5. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS – Document is text from our website and introduces our product line. We have specific terms we want to keep in English because they are registered trademarks. We have highlighted them in yellow on the source document so please do not include them in your word count.
* Tips for Websites – If you are planning to translate your website into one or more languages, prioritize by deciding which page would give you the most impact in your target language and start with that. Put text from menus and headers in an excel spreadsheet and have it translated once. You can then use the spreadsheet to update repeated text on different web pages rather than have it included in the word count total more than once.
Here’s a little more about each point:
1. SOURCE AND TARGET LANGUAGE
Always be very clear about what language the document you are submitting is written in so that the translator or agency that is bidding can be sure that they have the right translator for the job. A translator that works with American English may not work with British English. This can cause issues later in the process if it is not addressed up front. Accordingly, you should be certain what the target language is and who your target audience is. If your target audience is in Canada but you want your website to be in standard European French (France and International) so that more audiences can be reached, then ask for European French rather than Canadian French. If you aren’t sure what your target language should be, ask the translator for advice. They will ask the right questions to help guide your decision. Make sure the translator being used is a native speaker of the target language. For example – If you are translating into European French, French should be their native language NOT English.
2. QUOTE FORMAT
Ask for quotes to be submitted in the standard format of Price per Source Word and indicate what currency bidders should use (i.e. $0.15 USD per source word)
3. WORD COUNT
Translators will give you the word count of your document when they quote the project but you should go into the process with a good idea of what the word count is. If you are not including specific brand names, proper names etc. in your count be sure to let the translator know so they can subtract those items also.
4. LEAD TIME
Decide what the absolute final deadline is, then subtract about 10 business days and put that as your deadline. You will need to allow this extra time for questions to be answered and the translation to be updated as needed in the finalizing process. Indicate an exact date when setting a lead time such as “Need document by 12/31/2014” as opposed to in 3 weeks.
Make sure you give the translator any specific instructions they may need in order to bid accordingly. Don’t assume you both think alike and don’t assume they understand what you are expecting to receive. Tell them everything they need to know and what you are wanting in the way of specific formatting, type of language, who your target audience is if it is a very specific group of people, etc. Working closely with the translator and project manager will ensure that the final product is a useful document. If you have an old Hebrew document from the 1940s WWII period and want it translated into American English but want it in modern Hebrew so that readers can understand it in today’s context, make sure that is clear. Be aware a specialized translator may be needed as other languages may be included in the old Hebrew such as Polish or German and they may also need to incorporate explanations of various terms and expressions.
The final thing to remember is how a translator or agency make you feel. Did they respond quickly? Did they answer all your questions? Was their message to you clear and concise or was it in broken English? What is your gut feeling telling you and what does the quote tell you? Do you enjoy working with the project manager that quoted your project?
Once you select a translator, move forward with a short document so you see how the process works from start to finish, quote to delivery, invoicing and payment. When your first project is done you will either feel confident that the translator or agency you have selected is who you want to move forward with or you’ll want to do another short project with a different translator and agency.
Remember, the key to WINNING is PREPARATION!
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success – Alexander Graham Bell
Feel free to write us and tell us about your experience with hiring translators or to ask us questions about ours. We’d be happy to give you our input.
BeTranslated is a Network of Professional Translators (Freelancers)
It’s a beautiful spring day, your windows are open and you are listening to the news while you type away on your laptop. You take a break to walk the dog and enjoy the outdoors, run out to get groceries then sit back down to pick up where you left off.
No, it’s not the weekend, it’s a typical day in the life of a professional freelancer. It’s a life without walls or borders. An office without co-workers or cubicles, without long commutes through rush hour traffic, without any borders and definitely without 8 to 5 workdays. A freelance lifestyle revolves around project deadlines and more importantly around your LIFE.
That’s right, a freelancer “works to live” as opposed to “living to work” as the saying goes.
Forget everything you think you know about freelancing because freelancing has gone FREESTYLE!
You can adapt freelancing to suit your needs and fit in with your personal objectives. There is no set trajectory, no right or wrong way to go about it. Pick your starting point and build your own dream job.
We’ve done the brainstorming legwork to get you started:
- Work for an Agency – Begin working evenings and weekends for a temp agency or online agency in your field
Home Sweet Home office
All you need is some space set aside to call your “office” and off you go! Keep track of any money spent on your home office for tax purposes (supplies, job hunt expenses, software, equipment etc.)
Graduates of Freelancer University
You don’t need a university degree to become your own boss. All you need is an idea and a plan, then you put one foot in front of the other and take it a step at a time. In the US you can get free advice from the Small Business Administration SBA and they are great when it comes to helping you map out your ideas. They will help you see the pros and cons of freelancing and what it takes to develop a small business later on.
Balancing Full-Time Benefits with Part-Time Freelancing
Now remember, you can go as big or as small as you want to when freelancing. There’s no need to devote all your free time to your new business. Make sure you balance your life with your freelancing. Being able to work from home is supposed to help you enjoy your life more so try to keep an even keel as you begin to grow your business.
Feel free to write us and tell us about your freelancing or home business experience. Everyone can benefit from things you’ve learned along the way.
Books We Think You’ll LOVE
Glass Ceiling Smashed by Freelancing Moms (Forbes 2014)
Sources: CreditDonkey November 2012 survey of 424 independent contractors (infographic), BeTranslated Freelance Translators, Guru.com (infographics), Freshbooks.com (infographics).
When is it time to translate a company’s documents, press releases, reports or websites? Well, according to business experts, the time is NOW.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Do It?
It’s no longer a hassle to get professional translations on short notice so why doesn’t everyone do it? Well, we all have invisible bubbles around our idea of what our companies can and cannot do, limits we place on ourselves and our company market outreach. WE are our greatest obstacle to getting word out about our company or product to new markets. Translation is the key to boosting your company’s web presence and creating some buzz all via the internet. Everyone should be doing it!
Exponential Market Outreach
BeTranslated Translates Websites
Translation can truly increase your web presence exponentially. Think of it like this:
Do a Google search on your company and see what comes up; your company website, articles about your company, press releases, pictures, videos and perhaps some related documentation. Now imagine this same process in another language, say Spanish, Chinese or French. There is a good chance nothing will come up simply due to the language barrier.
What if you could bridge the language gap so that a search in several languages would bring up your company, your products, articles about your achievements and even documentation? You could increase your website or web page visibility almost overnight basically improving your SEO ranking.
Multiply the number of hits you get today in your main language, say English and multiply that times the number of languages that are out there….. the mind boggles!
Get Started Today – It’s EASY
Getting started is easy, here’s how:
- Select a page from your company website that best represents your company along with a list of key words
- Get quotes on translating it into 10 target languages (quotes should be free)
- Select a professional translation agency and get your web page translated
- Add the translated pages to your website and have the key words and more importantly, keyword phrases in each language added to your website internet title tags and meta descriptions (it’s basically the title a visitor sees in the browser tab when they visit your website or what a search engine like Google sees when it “crawls” your site)
You have just created a sort of internet level explosion of links into search engines and reached readers you didn’t even know were there before – BOOM!
This is your “Global Outreach” and you have just popped that bubble of limitations and broken into new markets.
THAT’S FANTASTIC – So What’s Next?
You now have a new reader base to tap into so choose more web pages, articles, press releases or social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube) that you want potential customers to have access to and translate your next page of content to draw them in via international search engines. Let professional translators do the legwork by making your company as appealing to new markets as it is to your current customers. Professional translation companies can then create custom “localized” content for you (webpages, articles, press releases) directly in the target languages rather than translate your original content which may not be culturally relevant. Get started today and you will be well on your way to developing your brand both internationally and “culturally”.
When life takes a detour
Sometimes the best laid plans can change. Our career, where we live and how we think we are going to spend the rest of our lives can change when we least expect it. It can be an exciting adventure if we make the most of what we have learned along the way. I often get asked how I became a professional translator and my answer is always the same:
Deciding to become a translator
Some professionals work for one company or in one career field their entire lives. Other professionals change jobs and fields, slowly building a skill-set that follows them. I had worked abroad and was working for an international student exchange program when the terrorist attack on 9/11 changed everything. Our company was one of the first affected by the events and within a month our entire team around the US had been laid off. This pivotal moment would change my life forever. I put my resume on the job hunting website Monster.com and that’s when it happened! A French aerospace company hired me as a translator and technical writer.
Working up to a career – Experience takes hard work, a lifetime of it
Why did this company think I had what it took to be a technical translator?
Education vs Experience
I had life and work experience that translated into practical skills. It was the combined experience of more than a decade of working with aerospace and high-tech companies in France, using French and English in the workplace, developing and writing training materials on technical subjects and negotiating contracts in two languages coupled with a background in English language training. I call this “raw translation skills”.
Putting practical experience to work – Hard work really does pay off!
No diploma could ever give me the what I had learned over decades in the workplace. I had practical hands-on work experience in two languages. A bit of hard work and a few more years in the field and I had become a professional translator.
Moonlighting as a freelancer
For the next two decades I worked as a full-time translator during the day while moonlighting as a freelance translator and technical writer. I was able to build a business that I could take with me anywhere in the world.
I was able to live a “translation lifestyle” and either work full-time from a home office or keep my day job and translate part-time. I can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Take your career outside the box
Don’t wait for an unforeseen event to force you to think outside the box. What life skills do you have that you can put to work for you? Whatever your career holds in store for you, I wish you the best in your journey to becoming the best professional possible!
Feel free to write us and tell us about your own lifetime of experience and career choices. We’d be happy to give you input if you are considering a change and need a fresh perspective.
Books We Think You’ll LOVE
What Color Is Your Parachute – A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers (There’s an App for it!)
Our USA Branch of BeTranslated is located in Charlotte, NC just south of the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. This Eastern state of the United States is a hub of business and military activity for the US and operates on Eastern Standard Time.
Our US based team serves US and International Customers including government contractors and businesses. We handle translations in most languages but more specifically to and from American English. We are also equipped to handle transcriptions of videos, English to English editing & proofing as well as copy-writing.
Contact our US office for all of your translation needs and thank you for your business!
BETRANSLATED – USA
EST – Eastern Standard Time (USA & Canada)
Closest Airport – CLT Charlotte-Douglas International Airport
Get a FREE QUOTE and be sure to mention our US office!