How to determine the type of translation?

How to determine the type of translation?

First things first – determining the type of translation

Upon submitting the text for translation, clients usually wish to learn more about cost estimate and the lead time. The one vastly underrated feature is the character of a given text, which might significantly contribute to the increase in price. When clients ask about the estimated expenses, yet refuse to send the file including all of the information requiring translation, project managers are unable to establish the type of translation; therefore, they cannot present a reliable quote. Usually it is a project manager who is responsible for making a bold decision whether it is medical, legal, technical or literary translation that they are dealing with; a revolutionary judgment which might impact the whole process. Why, then, is it so important to properly determine translation type?

Influencing both clients and specialists involved in a project: sworn translations

Some clients send their documents with a clear indication that a certified translation should be performed. In some cases, however, they do not include such information in a message or are simply confused when it comes to the actual usage of sworn translations. When documents such as birth, marriage or death certificates, driver’s licenses, diplomas, supplements or vehicle registration certificates are submitted, one can be nearly certain that these will require certified translation. Asking about the purpose of these files is also helpful: when clients state that the translations will be submitted to a regional or national office, educational entity or their employee, a non-certified translation certainly won’t be accepted. Determining that a particular order requires the services of a sworn translator helps save time and financial assets, without the potential need to further task redelegation. Documents which do not require the help of a professional having state-authorised competences include scientific articles, medical history and laboratory test results, webpage content, marketing materials and literary works. These texts, however, require entirely different approach.

specialised translation

Timely and reliable translation of highly-specialised content

The term “specialised translation” is widely used to describe language services referring to any content requiring extensive knowledge of a given scientific field. This might equal profound understanding of legal systems and nomenclature, thorough comprehension of technical novelties or medical concepts; neither of these is acquired during the education of a future linguist. The additional effort, temporal and financial resources accompanying the execution of such order require immediate and precise decision-making process. Project managers have to immediately decide whether a given text should be forwarded to a translator specialising in literary, scientific, medical or legal texts; it is strictly narrowed to one decision that underlies the successful completion of a whole order. How are we supposed to know, however, whether a given text requires special efforts? In case of English or widely known European languages, we can usually determine their character themselves.

Things get far more complicated when we stumble upon Japanese, Arabic or Hindi – unless we cooperate with a specialist who can help us with such a task. Needless to say, any of the online translation solutions cannot be treated as a reliable source of information, and when non-disclosure agreements are involved, such web-based tools should not be used at any point of order execution due to confidential data exposure issues. Sending a text to a translator specialising in a given language seems to be the perfect idea, as long as we forget about confidentiality issues and possibility of exposing sensitive data to third persons. Sometimes the process of determining translation type takes longer than the actual task delegation itself – but this long research allows for precise allocation of resources and short lead time.

Does translation type actively influence the translation process?

It might seem that once determined, the translation type won’t have much impact on order execution process. Project managers, however, are in for a challenge. A text requiring the help of a sworn translator demands project manager to commence search for such specialist if our loyal cooperators cannot fit yet another task into their busy schedules. Highly-specialised medical translations demand input from multiple specialists; same applies to law- and IT-related texts. There’s no denying that the more linguists and independent consultants are working on a given project, the higher its cost will be; therefore, translation type directly influences service cost. Multiple stages required by quality assurance policy may lengthen the lead time, and in case of sworn and specialist translators, there are no shortcuts that lead to excellence.  


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!