11 Quick Questions to Get the Right Business Translation Services

Last updated Jan 22, 2024
By Gwenydd Jones

Business translation services come in all shapes and sizes. These quick questions will help you know what to ask for. By asking the right questions, you’ll get the right results.

Question 1. Are you going to use the translation as a sales tool?

Yes. Then the translation is part of your marketing investment. And not all translators are equal. In fact, you will probably want to ask for transcreation. A combination of translation and copywriting. This type of marketing translator adapts the text. We make sure the translation stays true to your brand, while stirring the right emotions in the buyer. These types of translations require an investment. But, in the right hands, the text will generate more than it cost. More about transcreation.

No. If you’re not going to use the translation to sell, consider whether you need it to impress anyone. That should help you decide whether you need a boutique translation. And whether or not it’s worth asking for a quote that includes a proofreader.

Question 2. Are you going to publish the text?

Yes. Are lots of people going to read the translation and judge you on its merits? If you’re going to be judged based on the translation, better get a pro translator and proofreader. And remember, both should both be native speakers of the destination language. Among these other factors that affect translation quality.

No. See question 3.

Clients will judge your company based on the quality of the translation. Get a pro #translator. Share on X

Question 3. Is the translation for internal use? 

Yes. Then tell your translator this. We may assume you want publishable quality, when what you really need is a rough guide. Business translation services for internal texts cost less. This is because the translator doesn’t need to obsess over getting every word just right for you. And you probably don’t need a proofreader.

Equate it to looking for a builder: pay more for a service that adds value to your investment; pay less for poor structure, missed deadlines and bad language.

Question 4. Is your translation high volume?

Yes. If quantity is more important to you than quality, it’s worth asking about PEMT (post-edited machine translation). That is where the translator uses special machine translation software to get an automated translation. They then check the translation and edit it for style. They can be more or less finickity, depending on what the text is for. This isn’t Google translate. It’s a special software that the translator subscribes to.

If you need quality human translation, we may still offer a discount on large projects. See this translation quote guide for the lowdown on prices for business translation services.

Question 5. Do you just need to understand what the text says?

Yes. Business translation services can include phone translations. Or the translator can write a summary. With the right information, a professional translator can make suggestions and adapt to what you need. How do you know you’re talking to a professional translator?

Question 6. Do you have a maximum budget?

Yes. Save a tonne of time by telling the translator how much you can spend. That way, we can tell you what we can offer within your budget.

No. Then it’s best to get several quotes. But translation prices vary. So, don’t just look at the numbers. Make sure you know what you’re buying. Expert translators like us, who care about your business, will help you make money. Equate it to looking for a builder: pay more for a service that adds value to your investment; pay less for poor structure, missed deadlines and bad language.

An amateur #translator is like a cowboy builder. You get poor structure, missed deadlines and bad language. Share on X

Question 7. Have you considered making life easier and getting copywriting instead?

Do you have an ongoing need for texts in English? For a blog, for instance. It may be worth discussing a copywriting service. With us, you can explain what you need in Spanish, and get it written directly in English. You could also write notes and have us write the article. A transcreator can offer a whole spectrum of translation-transcreation-copywriting services. This way, you get a professional text that ranks on Google, and save masses of time.

Question 8. Do you know what back translation is?

Back translation is a literal rendering of what a text says. If you get copywriting in a language you don’t speak, back translation can show you roughly what is being said. Back translation is less costly than normal translation because it’s fast. The translator doesn’t worry about style, and just writes what they see. You can also achieve this by doing a quick telephone translation.

Are lots of people going to read the translation and judge you on its merits?

Question 9. Is your text repetitive?

Yes. Don’t waste time deleting parts, and then adding them in again later. Professional translators use CAT tools (computer-aided translation). As part of our business translation services, we use CAT tools to analyse your text against all past translations we’ve done for you. And to automatically translate repetitions. You pay a small fee to cover our time. But it’s much less than paying for all the repetitions to be translated again from scratch.

Question 10. Do you just need correction?

Sometimes my clients need me to correct a text they’ve written themselves in English. When their English is advanced, this can reduce the price. As a very experienced corrector, you would be amazed how much I can get through in an hour. Sometimes my clients cap the price, and I do as much work as I can for them in a set time. Lucy and I are happy to advise and adapt.

Question 11. Do you need a specialist?

If you needed a lawyer, a scientist or an engineer to write the text, you need a specialist translator to translate it. Otherwise, the translator won’t be able to understand it. That means they won’t know if they’re using the right terms and phrasing in the translation. It’s that simple or, perhaps better said, it’s that difficult. If a text falls outside a professional translator’s specialist area, they should bring in a colleague.

I hope this article has shown you that business translation services encompass a lot more than literal translations. You can find out about the whole process from pre-quote to post-delivery in this customer guide on How to Get a Translation.

Deal direct with freelancers like Gwenydd Jones and Lucy Williams at The Translator’s Studio. We can adapt, to make sure you get what you need. Communication is the key. It’s also our business. So let’s talk.

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Written by Gwenydd Jones

Gwenydd Jones is a Spanish- and French-to-English translator, an SEO blogger and a course creator. She is the founder of The Translator's Studio and the lead teacher on its courses. Connect with Gwenydd on LinkedIn or contact her through this website.

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