FAQs


How do you calculate the cost of a translation?

The main criteria are: subject matter, complexity, urgency and format.

What are your rates?

These will depend on the four above-mentioned criteria. I usually charge by the hour and often provide a fixed price quote. Please feel free to send me your document for a quote on translating or editing it.

How many words do you translate a day?

There will be some variation, depending on the complexity and formatting involved, but as a general guideline you can expect an output of 2500 words/day.

Why don’t you translate INTO French, Spanish or Portuguese?

Years of underinvestment in language learning in Britain have meant that there is now a genuine shortage of language professionals in this country. Translators whose native language is not English have come along to try and exploit this gap. However, the generally accepted view amongst language professionals is that in order to achieve complete fluency in a document and for it to read as if it had been originally written in that language, rather than as a stilted translation, translators should only ever translate into their mother tongue, which in my case is English. There are very, very few exceptions to this rule, and I haven’t come across one yet!

Why didn’t you take on my translation?

There may be two reasons why I am unable to take on your translations: availability and area of expertise.

Availability: I don’t sub-contract any of my work. I can, however, recommend where to find other translators or help you find one if I’m booked up.

Area of Expertise: Translators specialise in the same way that other professionals do. Translation is not simply a question of picking up a dictionary and looking up the words you don’t know. Almost any business will have its own industry-standard terminology, which a specialist translator will have acquired over years of experience. There are experts in translating legal documentation, clinical trials, computer games… you name it. It is important to find the right one. A professional translator will know at a glance whether your job falls within their area of expertise or not and should know when to turn down a job that they are not qualified to do. If I cannot help you, I will, where possible, advise where you might find a professional to translate your document.

Why are there translators offering lower rates?

There is a low entry level to translation, unfortunately the government has not regulated the market and clients don’t always know which qualifications or membership of professional organisations to look out for. There have been some attempts to do so through organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists (of which I am a member). However, the market remains littered with people who think they can do the job because they have a smattering of a foreign language or are even bilingual. Being bilingual does not make you a translator any more than having a parent who is a doctor make you a doctor. Knowledge is not the same as skill. There are ‘translators’ with some grasp of a foreign language who are filling a gap between jobs and others who operate on a ‘Primark’ basis, cashing in on volume rather than quality. Mistakes in translation can be very costly indeed. Translators who are true professionals and have been working in this business for years have no interest in producing low-quality translations. If your budget is rock-bottom and you are not concerned about quality or accuracy then you’d frankly do better to by-pass the cheap amateur and run the text through Google Translate for free. However, be warned that Google Translate does not understand context, nuance or register and the results are more often than not unintelligible and/or inaccurate.

Can you guarantee to deliver by the deadline?

Once the job has been agreed, you can rest assured that the job will be delivered on time. In over twenty years of translation I have never missed a deadline.

Can you guarantee confidentiality?

Absolutely, undertakings regarding client confidentiality form an intrinsic part of the CIOL’s Code of professional conduct, which I adhere to. If it gives you further peace of mind, I am happy to sign a brief Non-Disclosure Agreement to safeguard your interests.

Why should I use a freelance translator rather than a translation agency?

A translation agency is useful if you have a document that needs translating into multiple languages; they will have a database of professionals working in various language combinations. There are some very good translation agencies, but there are others who add nothing other than an extra agency fee and a time lag in conveying messages backwards and forwards. If your requirement is for a translation of a fairly general nature or in an area of expertise that you know is covered by a particular translator and all you need is the translated text without any DTP then there is very little benefit to you in using a translation agency. Furthermore, by working directly with the translator you can be certain who is translating your documents and can establish a line of communication that is fundamental to a successful collaboration.


Terms & Conditions

Please follow this link to review Decipherit's standard Terms & Conditions.

Further Information

For further information please read these two excellent guides written especially for translation buyers: Translation - Getting it Right and Translation – Buying a Non-Commodity.

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