“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.”
– Ruby Dee
I am asked questions by clients at every stage of a project. Though no question is ever a ridiculous one (especially if you have never hired a translator before) I do get asked some of the same things time and time again.
I’ve compiled a useful Frequently Asked Questions section to help you understand what kind of service I can offer while answering some common queries I have received in the past.
If you have any more questions or need to know a little bit more, do not hesitate to get in touch via my Contact page.
Why do I need a translator? Can’t I just use Google Translate?
You need to consider the purpose of the piece of writing. If it is something that is really important to your business and customers are going to read it you want the translation to be as professional, polished, persuasive and well-written as the original.
You simply do not get that kind of quality by putting it through Google Translate. At the very best you will get something that is very stilted and isn’t in anyway optimised, and at worst you’ll be left with something that makes absolutely no sense. Ultimately it reeks of shoddy customer service and makes potential consumers and clients who read about your business in another language feel unimportant.
My ideal customers put so much care and attention into creating content for their websites, marketing materials or putting together reports, and I believe that work deserves a good translation. All the work my clients put into their business just needs that extra step to hire someone to give that care and attention to their copy and create an exceptional end product.
What languages do you translate?
I translate French into English and Russian into English, but I also work with a fantastic, highly qualified team of expert translators who work with many other languages. If you have a request about another language, please do get in touch and I can help you meet those requirements.
It is considered best practice to only translate into your mother tongue (in my case, English). Though I do not personally translate English into French or Russian, I can also recommend some excellent colleagues who can help you with that brief.
Why did you become a freelance translator?
In the translation business, most in-house translation jobs are with big companies referred to as translations agencies or language service providers (LSPs for short). While there are some really fantastic agencies other there, and I have worked with quite a few, there are a large number that almost feel a bit like mass-produced translation factories and you often get very little choice about the kind of work you do – you have a target number of words to translate in a day and the focus is on getting the volume of work completed rather than focusing on the quality of work and the problems you have been tasked to solve for the client.
As a freelancer you get to decide the focus of your business and what is important to you. That kind of large-scale low-cost agency model has never really appealed because to me translation is more than just a job. I am genuinely passionate about helping a business achieve its goals. It’s the emphasis and the care you put into the work that matters most to me.
Why should I go for an ITI certified translator?
Being a translator in the UK is not a regulated profession with essential qualifications to practice. Anyone who speaks more than one language can call themselves a translator, but that doesn’t mean that the work you receive from them will be any good for what you need, nor will it meet an experienced translator’s professional standards. After all, you wouldn’t ask a friend to replace the plumbing in your house just because they owned a spanner.
The best way to make sure you choose someone who takes their job seriously, abides by ethics of business and has the appropriate qualifications is to choose someone like me who is part of a professional body such as The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). My clients have peace of mind in knowing that the work meets the highest of standards and is backed by a highly regarded industry body.
Can you provide certified translations?
Yes, I can. As an assessed member of the ITI, following a rigorous exam and qualification process, I can produce official translations using the ITI certification seal if requested.
What kind of businesses do you usually work with?
Quite a large range! My clients mainly include small to medium-sized businesses.
Recent clients have come from within sustainable travel or tourism industries, commissioning super fun work involving a lot of website content writing and translating a few monthly blogs. I have also translated for a couple of French thinktanks that carry out public opinion surveys around the world on various subjects, as well as translating for drug manufacturing companies too.
I have teamed up with a few different energy companies on things like feasibility projects for future wind farms and impact assessment studies. Along the way lots of translation is required within the research, so I love getting involved in that. In that same sector I’ve worked with solar panel manufacturers and companies that roll out smart meters to help manage consumption.
Projects that mean a lot to me are ones where I can help someone make an immense and important change in their life. For private individuals I assist in document translation, a recent example of which was for a French doctor who was applying for a job within the NHS and needed a certified translation of their birth certificate, university degree transcripts and professional references.
Can you visit clients in person?
I have visited clients in the past. My base is central – Leeds, UK, to be specific – but I am very happy to travel if the project required it. The beauty of my job is that I can work with my clients while at home via telephone, email or video conferencing, but if you need me to work on-site, I am able to do so too.
What information do you need from me to get started?
It’s probably quite obvious, but first and foremost I’ll need the source text that you would like to be translated. Furthermore, I’ll definitely ask for any in-house style guides or brand guidelines that I must adhere to. Without handing these materials over, you will run the risk that the work submitted will not meet your business specifications from the outset.
Please also give me as much information as you can give me about why you need the translation in the first place, such as: who is going to read the translated text, where it is going to be accessed or whether the text is for external or internal use at your company.
It is especially important that you are clear about what you are trying to achieve with the translation, for instance if the text needs to be search engine optimised (SEO) to attract customers via Google or if it is due to be published in print or advertising media for a particular audience.
Once I start the project, I won’t need too much of your time at all, but you do need to be prepared to answer any questions I may have throughout the process. Please be open to fulfilling any further clarifications I might require via email or a quick phone call. This will ultimately ensure that the draft you receive at the end will be as close to your initial brief as possible.
In what format do you require information and original text to be sent?
Preferably as a Word document, but I can also be sent the copy as a PDF if necessary.
Do you require a deposit at the start of the project?
For a first job with a new client I will require an upfront payment. For future jobs with you however there will be no deposit needed. The only exception may be for large-scale, longer term projects (typically lasting for over a month) when regular instalments will be put in place to cover the time I am working for you.
How much do you charge?
I do not have a ‘one size fits all’ price to offer clients. I charge on a per-project basis which will all depend on how many words you need me to translate and other specific factors. The fee will incorporate whether or not I’ll need to put a team of translators together to fulfil your brief, as well as considering how much research time will be required to make sure I can authoritatively translate for your industry.
Get in touch to tell me more about your project and to receive a no obligation quote.
For payments, which currencies do you accept?
I accept payments in British pound (GBP) or Euro (EUR).
How much time do you need to complete a translation?
It all depends on the size and subject of the project. As a rule of thumb, I can generally translate around 2,000 words a day.
I have something that needs translating by next week! Can you help me?
Probably! But once again, it really depends on the specific details of your project, so please contact me so we can discuss it in a bit more detail. Please note that how quickly you need the translation back will factor into the cost of using my services.
Can I see examples of your work?
You can if it is really essential, but as I usually have signed NDAs with many of my clients, much of my work is subject to confidentiality agreements. I have a limited portfolio that I can show you, but my usual practice is to provide prospective clients with a small free sample translation (200 words maximum). This way you can get an accurate idea of the quality of my work in a way that is directly relevant to you and your business area.
Do you have any knowledge of my industry?
I have written for a broad range of businesses across an equally diverse range of sectors and industries throughout my career. Part of my job, and essentially what you will also be paying for, is conducting extensive research on your business and requirements to make sure that the final copy and terminology is accurate and appropriate for your industry.
As stated elsewhere, I do have certain industries that I specialise in, including medical, renewable energy and technology, sustainability and marketing. However, I often work with a team of other translators, so if I do not cover your topic in-depth, I will collaborate with translators who do focus on your subject area.
What happens if I do not like the first draft?
I aim to produce perfect copy first time, every time, but I understand that tweaks may have to made. Your honest feedback or comments are vital. Included in my project fee is one round of editing so you can let me know in a timely manner about any reasonable changes to be made.
I need to cancel a project. What’s your policy?
I’m very sorry to hear that, but depending on how far into the project I am, and how much work has already been completed for you, a percentage of the project fee will be due. Once you have signed the agreed contract then you are subject to my declarations about cancellation fees.
Can you translate my website?
Yes, absolutely. I routinely translate websites for clients and can make sure that your web content best represents you and the product or service you provide.
Do you offer SEO translation?
Yes. I can make sure that SEO is incorporated into the translated copy for your website or for any articles that may appear on an online platform. Maximising the visibility of your product or company is one of the many marketing skills I weave into my translation service.
Do you offer general copywriting services?
I don’t, but I do work with a talented copywriter. Should you require any written content in English, get in touch and I can point you in their direction.
Is there a minimum order size?
Yes, my minimum order charge is £30 or €35. However, no project is too small or too large so I look forward to helping you in any way I can.
Can I see your terms of business?
Of course, you can find my industry-standard terms here.
I would love to work with you! What happens next?
The best thing to do is to firstly send me an email, with all the details you can give me about the project. I am also available to have a phone or Skype call once I’ve initially been contacted by you.
So I can understand what you require, I usually ask to see the documents that you would like to be translated (or a small sample if available), and the content will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. I am also more than happy to sign an NDA if requested at this stage.
When are you likely to reply to my correspondence?
My office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (UK time) and I will endeavour to get back to you within those hours. By prior arrangement I can be available at other times, but that is not how I usually conduct my business.
Having some form of work-life balance is important to me, as is being disciplined with how I use my time (and yours). I do my best work for my clients when I am well rested and ready for another working day, so unless your correspondence is regarding a life or death situation, I will only get back to you within my office hours.