How to Get an Interpreting Quote 2020

Quoting Projects:
What a Language Agency Needs to Know  

HOW TO GET AN INTERPRETING QUOTE

Do you need TRANSLATING or INTERPRETING?

  • Translation is writing from one language to another.

  • Interpreting is speaking such as in meetings and conferences. As an oral process, interpreting is usually face-to-face but also can be done over the phone or by video.

FYI, Chinese is written either in Simplified characters for China or Traditional characters for Taiwan, Hong Kong and the US. Its spoken dialects include Mandarin, Cantonese and 500 more.

If you are requesting a quote for TRANSLATING, as much as possible please let us know:

WHICH languages (and dialects) you need. If you are not sure, please tell us which country your audience is from. Knowing needed dialects such as Argentine Spanish or Egyptian Arabic is essential
to source the right interpreter. If you don’t know the dialect, just please tell us the language.

WHAT the subject of your event is. It is essential to source interpreters specialized in your subject terminology to ensure an accurate rendering and smooth communication.

WHEN your interpreting event is scheduled. Dates are very important. The sooner you book your event, the better. Great interpreters are rare and they are very busy. The earlier you book them, the
better chance we have for finding the best qualified professionals suitable for your event.

HOW LONG your event will last. Is it over one week or a few hours?

WHERE your event will take place. Location is very important. It is easier to find excellent interpreters in San Francisco then in Loveland, Ohio. We always try to find interpreters as close as possible to your
event city so they do not have to be imported from far away.

Special needs – Will you require any interpreting equipment such as microphones, headsets or interpreting booths?

In general, interpreting happens onsite at your selected location. Interpreting can be simultaneous, consecutive, whispering, over the phone or by video – depending on your needs. Not sure what you need? Please provide us as many details as possible and we’ll suggest the best interpreting solution for you.

How to Get a Translations Quote 2020

Quoting Projects:
What a Language Agency Needs to Know  

HOW TO GET A TRANSLATING QUOTE

Do you need TRANSLATING or INTERPRETING?

  • Translation is writing from one language to another.

  • Interpreting is speaking such as in meetings and conferences. As an oral process, interpreting is usually face-to-face but also can be done over the phone or by video.

FYI, Chinese is written either in Simplified characters for China or Traditional characters for Taiwan, Hong Kong and the US. Its spoken dialects include Mandarin, Cantonese and 500 more.

If you are requesting a quote for TRANSLATING, as much as possible please let us know:

WHICH languages you need. If you are not sure, tell us in which countries you intend to use your documents or which countries your audience comes from. That will help us determine your needed dialect such as Brazilian Portuguese or Canadian French.

WHAT format you need. Specify if your document is in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, InDesign, a scan from a hard copy or any other format.

WHEN you need it. It is best to plan one business day per each 2000 words of text.

WHAT your budget is. Translation is a service like every other, and it has a structured price range. It is best to let us know your project budget so we can quickly determine whether it is realistic. For example, $500 for 50,000 words into technical Japanese is not.

WHAT your subject matter is. Rates, delivery timeframes and the entire process can vary depending on the subject of your files.

Supporting material – Let us know whether you have any glossaries, specific terminology databases, or particular vocabulary your company uses.

Have your files ready – Please send us your files for evaluation. While we can provide a quote from simple PDFs, we will require the original files from which your PDFs are created to start your project.

Translation Pricing

“How much is it to translate my 64 pages?”  As a full-service language agency, this for us is a common question with a long answer.

Unfortunately, this is like asking what the rents are in your city. Just as you must know what neighborhood you are referring to; the kind of building you want (a duplex? a high-rise with a doorman?); and your budget, quoting translations requires specifications.

A full page for one firm may be a light page for another. That’s why (at least in North America) rates depend instead on the number of words in your file as well as the essential question of what languages you want. Spanish and Chinese, for example, are far less costly than Japanese, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian.

As importantly, no one can quote accurately without seeing your file.

  • Is it a doc or a PowerPoint?  In that case, language agencies can discount for repeated terms after they do an analysis.
  • Is it a scan?  Then each word must be counted individually.
  • Does your file have charts, pictures with captions, or graphics with writing inside them? Then agencies must count the words inside the graphics and add an hourly or per-page fee for laying out your charts in each target language.
  • Do you want full translation, reviewing and proofreading for spelling, punctuation and grammar?
  • Or do you just want a translation that a qualified, native speaker in your company will review?

Other factors affecting a quote include some additional questions:

  • Do you need your translations by tomorrow? The answer depends on how short it is, into what languages they are going, and how backed up the translation teams are for your desired languages and subject.
  • Has your agency translated other .doc files for you into the same language? In that case, the agency should be capturing all your translated terminology in a cumulative Translation Memory. When you send a new file, it is analyzed against the existing Translation Memory and you get discounts for ever-increasing repetitions. But if you are a Government, that quoting method does not apply.

Each professional translator specializes in various technical subjects. Although most learn business, legal, and IT vocabulary, they may not speak Plant Diseases or Automotive Mechanics.  Each file for each project must be matched with a team of translators (the first drafter and the second reviewer) who speak your subject terminology for each of your desired languages.

Translations are definitely not like fast-food hamburgers. Especially if they are technical, translations must be done with extra attention to terminology and details. The speed for that accuracy as well as for the expertise and experience to get your files right the first time around all reflect the cost.  While we do not strive to be the cheapest on the block, we do seek to work with clients who appreciate value and whose products or services are also of the highest quality.

Pricing & Interpretation Timing

As we launch our 25th year in business, we are pleased to present an e-newsletter series of 25 Language Tips as well as examples of some of our most interesting projects.

1 – Be careful when comparing prices. Is the value equal?

Recently, a law firm came to us for a quote to translate its client’s Trust documents into Russian. Fortunately, they called to say that our price was too high. When we asked what some of the comparable quotes were, we quickly discovered that they were comparing apples to grapefruits.

The lower prices they had obtained were for one translator only. As a full-service, professional language agency, we quote with a method called TEP: initial Translation, Editing and Proofing.

To maintain accuracy, the Editing phase (called Revising in UK English) is critical.  This provides a second professionally trained translator to check the work of the first as a quality-assurance review.

The editor ensures that the translation is correctly acculturated (such as with the grammar patterns of your target market in Chile vs. the grammar patterns of Spain); that the nuances and expressions are rendered accurately for that country; and that the terminology is appropriate for your industry or your region. With Editing, we can guarantee accuracy.

The Proofreading step is for the editor or another translator to check for correct spelling, punctuation, grammar and formatting. For example, where English would write Caution! with no space between characters, French would write Attention ! with a space after the word.

Moral of the story: Do not assume. Always ask your language agency about major price discrepancies. They may see elements in the other’s process that are not obvious to you … or offer far greater value.

And if your project is sensitive and accuracy is critical as in legal contracts, why would you want to rely on only one translator to get it right?

2 – Remember that consecutive interpreting takes twice as long.

Consecutive interpreting is where the speaker speaks and then is silent while the interpreter interprets. Simultaneous interpreting is where the interpreter interprets while the speaker is speaking (as at the UN).

If you want consecutive interpreting for a two-hour meeting, remember that:

  1. your meeting time will have to double (to four hours) if all points in your presentation must be covered; or
  2. you will have to cut your presentation in half if the time frame cannot be extended.

PROUD PROJECT

One of our very first projects almost 25 years ago was from a US client called Storybook Heirlooms. They sold girls’ clothing through a catalog that they wanted us to translate and lay out in Japanese. All was find until we came to the “Refer a Friend” section.

The English original had four referral blocks for name, address and contact info.  But “four” in Japanese and Chinese sounds very close to the word for “death.” Therefore, Japanese presents four of nothing. Instead, we advised the client to have three referral blocks or five. Had we not caught this critical cultural issue, the client would have received almost no Japanese referrals.

Thank you for helping us to become one of the oldest and most experienced language agencies in the world. Please contact us for your next ethnic or global expansion needs.

How to Get an Interpreting Quote

Quoting Projects:
What a Language Agency Needs to Know  

The Fundamentals:
  • Translating deals with written text (manuals, brochures, PPTs, software strings, etc);
  • Interpreting is for spoken projects (trials, depositions, meetings, conferences);
  • Localization is for websites or software apps (which often require changes to the code).
INTERPRETATION
Q: “Can you provide a translator for my meeting with Japanese clients?”
A: “We think you mean an interpreter. If so, yes we can. Is your meeting here or in Japan?”
The Basics:
  • Interpretations are priced on a rate per hour for spoken communication. Longer sessions are priced by the half-day or the full day.
  • Most interpreters have a two-hour minimum per session.
  • A language service will strive to source a local interpreter in your destination city, and he/she may charge travel time or mileage fees to the venue in addition to hourly rates.
  • A full-service agency can provide local, professionally trained and subject-specific interpreters in any country to accommodate your overseas travel.
  • If you want a specific interpreter to accompany you on a trip, be prepared to pay his/her travel costs, hotel room and meals.

FYI: Interpreters are at the top of the language industry. While translators can consult with others or research terminology in their written texts, interpreters literally must think on their feet, know your terminology, the presenter’s spoken dialect, and how to phrase your words or concepts within a very minimal timeframe. It is therefore essential for businesses or government to hire a professionally trained, qualified interpreter, not an amateur.

1. What kind of project do you have?: a trial?, deposition?, in-house meeting?, seminar? conference?, multiple break-out sessions running at the same time? Please discuss this with your agency since each case follows a different scenario.If you have a legal project, must your interpreter be:

  • Court-certified?
  • Federally certified?
2. For what languages and dialects? Brazilian Portuguese? Mandarin? Cantonese? etc. If you don’t yet know the dialects, at least state the language(s).
3. What is the format of your session?a. Consecutive?: Here, the presenter speaks and is quiet while the interpreter interprets. Then the listener replies and the interpreter renders the listener’s speech to the presenter. Note: This format doubles the time of your session.

b. Simultaneous?: In this case, the interpreter interprets while the speaker is speaking, as at the United Nations.

  • Will you want sound booths? If so, for how many language teams?
  • Will you want whisper equipment (interpreters’ transmitters) and participants’ headsets? If so, for how many people and how many languages?
4. What date(s) and duration? A language service can give you a rough quote assuming an interpreter’s availability. Qualified interpreters’ schedules book up very quickly, and they will tentatively hold your advanced dates only for a short time. The sooner you know your exact dates, the better. You must contract first before the language agency can lock your dates with the interpreter.
5. What Time? Interpreters book:

  • morning sessions (say 8 am to noon)
  • afternoon sessions (say 1pm to 5 or 6 pm); and
  • night sessions (say 7pm to 10pm).

Accordingly, interpreters can give half-day or hourly rates. Please do not schedule your session crossing the lunch hours (say from 11 am to 1 pm). In that case, interpreters cannot take other appointments that day and can charge you a full-day rate for a lunch-time session.

6. Where? If you know the specific hotel, conference center or venue address, that’s best. If not, in what city will it be? Interpreters’ rates in Kansas differ from those in New York.
7. What subject? What is your session / trial / deposition / conference about? Your language service needs to know the level of technical terminology the interpreter will need.
  • If it’s a conference, will you be able to provide background info or a reference website in advance? That helps the interpreter to prepare specific technical terminology.
8. How many interpreters? Imagine a week-long conference in five languages with sessions running all day. In this case, two interpreters for the same language and the same subject specialty are usually needed. Intense simultaneous interpreting causes rapid mental burnout. And when interpreters get tired, their speech can get garbled, dropped or misunderstood. That’s not the result you want.

Two interpreters per language work as a team: one on for 20-30 minutes and one off for 20-30 minutes. This alternation prevents burnout. But it means that you will need to budget for two interpreters per language, not just one.

9. Advanced notice: It is extremely helpful to have at least two weeks’ advanced notice of your needed dates. Language agencies do not enjoy calls at 5 pm the night before your session. While expert agencies can usually fulfill emergencies, those make the agency staff prematurely gray and they might have to charge you extra for hair dye.
CONCLUSION

Knowing what questions to ask in advance can save you a lot of time. Especially for rush projects, many days are lost when assistants or contractors need to go back to their bosses or clients for clarifications. A professional agency should always be willing to help you but will ask you the questions above before it can fulfill your request.

How to Get a Translations Quote

Quoting Projects:
What a Language Agency Needs to Know  

The Fundamentals:
  • Translating deals with written text (manuals, brochures, PPTs, software strings, etc);
  • Interpreting is for spoken projects (trials, depositions, meetings, conferences);
  • Localization is for websites or software apps (which often require changes to the code).
TRANSLATION
“We just need an estimate. It will be 52 pages into Spanish and Portuguese.”
Sorry! To give a quote, any agency will need more info.
The Basics:
  • Translation rates are based on the number of words in the source-language file.
  • Translation rates vary by your desired target languages.
  • A professional language service will discount for repeated terms within the file or for previously translated terms from past projects in that language.
  • Asking for the base rate per language is very misleading. Too many other factors apply to the quoted price.
1. If your document is not written yet, please estimate the number of words per page or the anticipated total word count of the file.
2. Ideally, your translation service needs the source file in the layout program in which it was designed. Usually these programs are InDesign, FrameMaker, Illustrator or QuarkXPress. A professional language service will then analyze the file for its word count and text repetitions, and apply discounts from the base rates.
3. If the layout files are not available at the time of quoting, document translation services can work with PDFs. But please be prepared to send the layout files to start the project.
4. If your files are copies of articles or were received by fax, language translation services may apply a fee to re-create the tables, images, graphs, etc., if needed.
5. Be sure to specify your desired languages. Saying, “I’d like a quote for this file” is not clear unless it originates in another language and goes into English.
6. Ideally, your translation service will also want to know your desired dialects at the quoting stage since dialect rates may differ:
  • French: for Canada or Europe?
  • Spanish: for the US, Spain, Mexico, General Latin America or a specific country?
  • Portuguese: for Brazil or Portugal?
  • Chinese: for China/Singapore or for Taiwan, Hong Kong or Overseas Chinese? Please click here to understand how the writing systems differ and why no one can translate into Mandarin. We will need to know which country/ies you are targeting.
FYI:
  • German is generally understood as for Germany, but also covers Austria and Switzerland. This will work well for subjects like finance, business or sports. But if your project relates to local food specialties, culture, history, tourism, etc., our linguists will need to choose the right terminology for each country, even for the smallest nuances.
  • The same applies to French for France, Switzerland or Luxembourg as well as to Dutch for the Netherlands or Belgium, a dialect called Flemish.
  • English assumes US unless you specify that you want it for the UK, Australia or elsewhere. Remember that spelling, grammar and word choices vary by country.
  • Arabic is usually written in one version called Standard Modern Arabic regardless of the target country.
  • Japanese uses three writing systems – kanji, hiragana and katakana – all together in the same sentence or paragraph, not just “kanji.”
7. What other language translation services will you need?
  • Acculturation? Especially for advertising, this service could rewrite the text with alternate benefits and appeals that speak to your target country, all before translating. Consumer / retail ads from one country often do not resonate with audiences in another. A language service with a global-marketing orientation should be able to research these points in your industry and target country.
  • Layout? This flows the translations back into your source-language template/file. (Layout comes with post-layout proofing for accuracy).
  • Dubbing or Voiceovers? As in foreign movies, these replace the English original with a foreign voice or narration.
  • Subtitles? These keep the original (English) narrative but write the target language on the frames of the film, video or flash file.
8. Please specify at the outset whether your project will encompass many manuals, websites, films, etc. Special discounts may apply.
CONCLUSION

Knowing what questions to ask in advance can save you a lot of time. Especially for rush projects, many days are lost when assistants, ad agencies or contractors need to go back to their bosses or clients for clarifications. Your language service agency should always be willing to help you but will ask you the questions above before it can fulfill your request.