Are you ready to work with a translation agency?

Before you approach a translation agency or freelance translator to translate your content there are a number of things you can do to avoid common mistakes that can adversely affect the quality, accuracy, appropriateness and timeliness of your translation project. These simple steps will help your translator(s) understand the exact scope of work, your expectations and help you understand what is helpful (and even necessary) to commence working on your project.


What is the purpose of the translation – Is it for information only, to meet regulatory standards, to educate or to market a product?

This enables us to select linguists with the right skills and expertise to ensure the translation is rendered correctly for its intended purpose.


Who is the intended reader -Is it a consumer, a technician, a customer, a training delegate or a lawyer?

This helps the translator set the tone of the translation to the intended readership, making it more effective and fit for purpose.


What are the languages – what is the source (original) language and the target language(s)? If you are uncertain, what are the target markets?

Telling us the languages in the first instance enables us to get to work right away. If you’re not sure about languages or it is a language with variants such as Spanish, this combined with understanding the intended audience will help us recommend the correct variant.


Has the source text been checked for spelling, grammatical or formatting mistakes?

Eliminating problems in the source text and formatting will enable us to deliver more quickly, because we can prepare the text for translation more readily and the translators will have fewer or no question about the text.


Do you have any reference material or glossaries that will support the project?

This can be an exceptionally important step in the translation process for content that requires a high level of quality beyond just getting the gist of the meaning. Reference material provides additional context for the linguist so they have a more complete understanding of the text and its intended use and audience. It is especially useful for highly technical or nuanced text. Glossaries provide guidance on specific terms that you prefer the translator to use. Reference materials and glossaries save time and money by reducing the number of queries from the translator to you.


Do we need to do research before starting the translation?

This can be helpful for creating a translation glossary, verifying regulatory issues or checking archives if required.


In what format will you provide the text and in which format would you like it returned – Word, InDesign, XML, PDF

Knowing the source format helps us prepare the text properly for the translation process and enables us to use tools that help us deliver more quickly and in the expected format. If the format for delivery is different, we can deliver more quickly by knowing this in advance (courier, express, certification, etc.).


Do you need us to do formatting?

It is common for translation professionals to format the translated document so that it reflects the original as much as possible. Having us do the formatting helps troubleshoot issues resulting from what is known as “text expansion”. It can take up to 25% more words in a language such as German to convey the same meaning as the original English and this can impact the layout of Word and InDesign documents significantly. We deal with this regularly and can help you prepare the documents for expanded text, resulting in documents and marketing materials that are more acceptable to the customer


Are there graphics, charts and other visual elements?

Many times these contain text that requires translation and can impact the overall layout of the target language version. Source files are strongly recommended to save time and money. If this isn’t possible it is helpful to know whether we need to recreate these elements at the start of the project. This will save time and money!


How urgently do you need the translation?

It is extremely important for us to understand when you require the translated material so we can schedule it accordingly. We can also advise you about alternatives should the scope of work suggest a different timescale.


If you have any questions about your translation project, please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.





309 Court Avenue, Suite 328
Des Moines, IA 50309

[email protected]
Monday-Friday: 7am-7pm