SpeakerNet News Compilations

Translation service comparison

Michael Schatzki

Page Sponsors
How to sponsor this page

I requested advice on obtaining translation services.

Translation, it turns out, is a rather unique business. I have never encountered such a wide range in pricing. For a 10,000 word document (translation is usually priced by the word), I received quotes ranging from $800 to $8,700, with the majority of them between $1,000 and $3,000. I guess it has to do with the black box nature of translation. The customer has to operate on trust. Usually, we have no way of evaluating the quality of the work.

There are two types of translation companies. The first kind are in-country translation services. They deal exclusively in one language. The second type are brokers who contract with translators from all over the world in many different languages.

I ended up using a broker called Lingo2lingo (Deborah Marton, 858/674-9881, Lingo2lingo@aol.com). Although not the cheapest, they were very reasonably priced.

Because of the problem of not being able to determine the quality of the work that you are receiving, I decided that it would be necessary to create a safety net. My client agreed that they would have one of their bilingual people review any translation that I gave them so that we could have a quality control check on the work. This turned out to be a very good idea, since the first translator did a very poor job.

The Lingo2lingo handled this in an excellent manner are (they were quite surprised to find this out since they had used this translator before and had not had any complaints. Obviously, brokers who don’t speak the language are no better position than customers to evaluate the work. Again, it is critical to have a safety net). They retained another translator, who is a professor of language studies, and he did an excellent job according to my client’s bilingual reviewer.

The responses I received from SNN readers are shown below.

— David Lim

Please contact Andrew NG (Andrew.Ng@lionbridge.com) for a quote for your 10,000 word manual to be translated into Thai.

— Joseph Sommerville (also Kerry Larkan)

I needed a translation from Tagalog to English about a year ago. I asked for a bid on www.elance.com and was happy with the results.

— Jim Weems

Talk to Pat Dent at Inter Lingua. We worked on dozens of projects with them over the years.

— Mitch Krayton

When you ask for this to be done in two weeks, that is rush service and that won’t be cheap or reasonable. It will be at a premium. You are also asking for a language that is relatively obscure (Thai) compared to Spanish, French and German. The place I can recommend is SDI Media Group. They are one of the largest translation services in the world.

— Jim Ruta

These people are among the best. Steve Desmeules, President at Accu-Translations (steve@accutranslation.com).

— Thei Zervaki

There are various companies that can do that for you. In translation the industry, five are the key factors to determine a good vendor: location, language combination, specialty, price and deadline. I don’t know where you are based but there are plenty of translation companies in the USA and in the world. Try www.aquarius.net. A useful Web site is www.multilingual.com (look at the resources pages).

— Ann Ulrich

I recommend an expert in the business of translation. She has earned the trust and respect of major companies, and is also a terrific pro for speakers/trainers/consultants with translation needs: Patricia May of Precision Language Services (pm@precisionlanguage.com). Give her a call as she will likely do what it takes to help you meet your March deadline for translating your training manual into Thai.

— Kellie Williams

I have used Intertrend for Asian language translations and they have proven accurate and dependable. But they may be too pricey. They will give you a very fast estimate of the job so you can compare with other quotes you get.

— Alisa Hunt

A friend who is a translator recommendeded Jane Zhang, Multi-Lingua Communications, Inc. (847/864-3230 x207, jzhang@multilingua.com).

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions