Need a Translation? Top Tips for Buying Language Services


Using a translation agency is a must when you are planning to do business outside the UK.

Choose your agency wisely and your project will become efficient, cost-effective and your translation will get the attention it deserves. 

Choose unwisely it most likely will be detrimental to your business.

Preparing for translation!

  • The better you plan your project, the more painless the process will be.
  • Be aware how long the original text took to create and this will be a good indicator of the translation time. 
  • Your document should be clear and precise as spelling errors can lead to translation problems. 
  • Send the document to the translation company by email and ask them to give you a quotation.  This means that you will get a price more quickly, and your prices will be more accurate than if you ask over the phone. 
  • Make sure that you check whether the service includes proofreading and a format check.  Some agencies charge extra for these services. 
  • Ask if you can discuss your project with the person who may be managing it, so that you can see if you feel comfortable with them.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if the agency offers any reassurances on the quality of their translations.  This could be in the form of free trial translations, or an insight into their quality assurance processes. 
  • If you are short on time a good agency will manage your project from start to finish, leaving you free to carry on with your own job. 
  • Remember, translators employed by an agency must be native speakers of the target language; as well as also being able to understand the nuances of the original text.

And finally, Beware! Not everyone who speaks a foreign language is a translator. Make sure you hire qualified professionals for the job.

Here are some examples where meaning has been ‘lost in translation’:

  • The name coca-cola was first rendered in China as ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately it was discovered, after thousands of signs had been printed, that the phrase means Bite the wax tadpole!
  • The translation of the Pepsi slogan ‘come alive with the Pepsi generation’ came out in Taiwanese as ‘Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead’.
  • A sign In a laundry in Rome read ‘Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time’.
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