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.


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.