Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Your Spanish Translation Quote – Tips and Advice

Choosing the correct translation services is often a very difficult and time consuming. These days there are thousands of freelancers, agencies, directories, software and methodologies. To add to this, the difference in the Spanish translation quotes from agency to agency can vary greatly. This mish-mash of decisions make it very difficult for a person to be happy with the choice they have made and may make them always wonder what they may be missing.
The aim of this article is to aid the reader to make informed decisions when purchasing translation services. The article touches many translation issues and hopefully some will be applicable to you the reader when making a safe decision.

The core resource of translation is course the translator. Let’s take a scenario where we have a friend who is bi-lingual in Spanish and English and a medical patent to translate from English to Spanish. Easy, he’s a friend and he’s cheap although he has no translation experience. Wrong, the consequences of choosing this resource, although cheap, could be disastrous. Every particular field of translation requires particular skills. In this case where we have a medical patent translation the translator needs to have grounding in medical science and be up to date with the latest medical terminology. In addition, they must also be experienced in writing in the particular style of medical patents, something which is learned over years of practice. At One Stop Shop we have medical patent translators with PHDs in fields such as chemistry, biology and biotechnology and years of experience translating in these particular fields. Even within the Medical or life Sciences field a translator with education and experience in chemistry would be a much better choice, than for instance a translator with a background in Biology, for the translation of a drug patent. It must also be emphasized that your translations should be handled by professionals. A good translator is a linguist, they have studied the art of translation, specialized in the language combination and fields they are most suited to and built up years of knowledge and experience. A linguist also has to mold the Spanish translation for an international audience meaning that the language must be neutral and not have any slang or regionalisms.

Some people may query the importance of being so selective when choosing a translator, after all, it’s only translation but take the example of the drug patent which is written by a chemist. To the average lay person the patent is double Dutch. The patent will only be understood by peers in the industry. This is why peers in the Spanish speaking drug patent field deserve to receive a high quality translation from a translator with grounding and experience translating drug patents regardless of the translation price.
The image of the company depends on it. A poor quality translation will cause untold damage within your industry and affect your standing within this industry.

Some clients may say that they have this great software that translates automatically. One thing to bear in mind that machine translation is only approximately 60-70% accurate, the rest of the fine tuning needs human intervention. While machine translation is good for informal translations and getting the general gist of something, professional translation that represents the image of the company requires a human. Then a client may say to edit the machine translation thus saving up to 70% of the costs. The reality is that a professional translation agency or translator will probably refuse to do this as editing a machine translation involves re-writing the whole translation and may involve more work than starting the translation from scratch.

The next question is whether to use a freelancer or a translation agency? The main question is what the difference is. With an agency the text is revised which is why the translation quote tends to be more expensive. The main advantage to having the text revised is that it is better to have a “second eye”. No matter how good the translator they are bound to make errors from time to time and in this respect, the revision cycle is like an extra safety net to eradicate these simple errors providing a higher quality translation.

To summarize, here are a few questions to ask oneself, before deciding on the translation service to use:
• Is the translator experienced and qualified in this particular field. Ask for a profile of the translator or better still ask for a sample of profiles and decide on the best fit
• Why is the translation so cheap from this agency? In some cases the translation rate may not include revision, hence the reduced fee. The translator may not be fully qualified either and cheaper to sub-contract.
• Does the Translation Agency use the latest Translation memory technology? This is very useful in the case of updates. The previous translation is re-used and hence reduces costs and ensures consistency.
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