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2021 Rankings

Best Online Translation Services

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Frequently Asked Questions on Best Online Translation Services

What is a language service provider (LSP)?

A language service provider (LSP), also known as a language service company (LSC), refers to companies that offer language-related services. These services may include but are not limited to translation and localization, proofreading services, interpreting services, language instruction services, language testing, and cultural consultation.

What is the difference between translation and interpretation?

Translation and interpretation differ from one another, although both are linguistic disciplines.

Translation comes in written forms. It is a process wherein you convert a text from its source language into another target language while keeping its sense.

Interpretation, on the other hand, is a translation in oral form. It’s usually involved in real-time communication situations, like in conferences or phone conversations. 

What are the most popular languages for translation?

Online translation companies can translate almost any type of language to cater to most needs of their clients. Some of the languages that are in demand in the online market today include Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Malay, Japanese, Russian, French, German, Italian, and Indonesian. 

What is the difference between a certified translator and certified translation services?

A certified translator, as the name implies, refers to a professional translator who has received a certification from an organization, such as the American Translators Association, after passing an examination.

Certified translation services, on the other hand, don’t have to be rendered by a certified translator. Any qualified translator can provide a certification of accuracy to your translated document, regardless of their credentials. 

How does online translation service work?

The process for translating your material differs from company to company. However, more often than not, online translation services work this way.

Your interaction with your translation company starts when you ask them for a quotation, which is usually free. When you’ve finally decided to get the translation service, you upload the file on your provider’s website and tell them your order. Your order should include your instructions, such as the language that your document should be translated to, the document type, and your target delivery date.

Some translation companies allow their clients to monitor the translation processes on separate software for more accurate rendering. After the translation, your document or material is uploaded back to you. All you need to do is download the file, or you can have them delivered if you need a hard copy, like in the cases of notarized translations. 

Can websites and software be translated?

Yes, websites and software can be translated. However, these two usually require more than just a translation. They need localization processes as well to adapt their interfaces to the culture of their end-users so that linguistic issues can be avoided. 

What is localization?

For businesses who wish to have their website or service translated, more often than not, they need more than just translation. They need localization, a process wherein a website, software, or product is adapted to the specific needs of a market. It doesn’t only include language conversion, but it also considers cultural differences to avoid conflicts.

Are quotations for online translation services free? What should a quote include?

A quotation indicates the estimated cost of a service, and, yes, most online translation service companies offer free price quotations.

Aside from the estimated price of your translation service, here are the other necessary information that a quotation should include:

Criteria where the prices were based

Of course, when asking for a price quotation, it’s essential to know where the estimated costs come from. The criteria would also indicate the pricing arrangement that would best suit your document or material. It can either be a price per word, per page, per hour, etc.

Turnaround time demanded

Sometimes, the turnaround time you’re requesting can affect the pricing of your service, especially when you have it rushed. So your turnaround time should also be indicated in your price quotation. Also, make sure that your LSP can comply with your demands.

Additional services included

If you want your translated document to be edited or proofread, chances are translation companies would ask for separate fees for those services. Therefore, if you’re going to get those, your price quotation should include that as well.

Payment methods

Payment methods available should also be included in quotations to know whether or not they are convenient for you. Some ways may not be accessible for you, so you must know this information before submitting your order. 

How are translation services usually priced?

Translation services are usually quoted based on the difficulty of the document or material to be translated. It also considers the expertise of the professional translator. Here are the most common payment arrangements that you can encounter when getting translation services.

Per-Word Pricing

Per-word pricing is the most common payment arrangement for translation services. Per-word rate can also vary greatly, depending on the technicality of the document or material’s content, as well as the language difficulty. Base price rates can start from $0.13 per word for standard content. Technical content can cost as high as $0.40 per word.

Per-Line Pricing

In some countries, especially those in Central Europe, translation service prices are usually based on the number of lines in a document. It also considers the difficulty of the target language. Rates for this kind of pricing arrangement may range from 1.50 € to 2.50 €.

Per-Page Pricing

Per-page pricing arrangement is rare compared with other pricing arrangements. This arrangement is usually for documents wherein an electronic word count is not available, such as in the case of a scanned medical record or court documents. In such cases, translation companies usually ask for $100 per page.

Per-Hour or Flat-Fee Pricing

Per-hour or flat-fee pricing is much rarer than per-page arrangements. It may be considered disadvantageous for the translator since it’s difficult to estimate the amount of effort sh/e’s going to exert in a project.

Also, for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese (CJKV) languages, companies usually settle for flat-fee rates. Other payment arrangements won’t be fair for these languages for both you and your translator. An hourly or flat fee arrangement would depend on the volume of the text, as well as the difficulty and technical challenges of translation.

Hourly rates are usually suitable for content that requires creativity, such as copywriting, as well as materials that depend on the volume of text. Per-hour or flat fee rates can range from $35 to $60.

Minimum Price

Some language service providers settle for minimum fee arrangements for projects with low-volume content or any document with a maximum of 250 words. Companies prefer this type of agreement since management fees would surpass the translation fee. Rates for this arrangement are usually $25.

Customized Pricing

For projects that are too complex, and no other payment arrangement is applicable, customized pricing rates can be applied. Many factors are put into consideration when you opt for this arrangement: the content’s complexity, the source and target languages involved, the turnaround time demanded by the client, and additional services, such as proofreading and editing.

What is the difference between machine and human translation?

Translation services can also be classified according to the method of translation involved, and they can either be a human translation or machine translation.

Human Translation

Human translation entirely relies on human skills to translate one language to another. Human translation is far more accurate and flexible than machine translation. It also serves as the gold standard of translation services. However, this type of conversion can’t provide a faster turnaround time as machine translation does. But if you’re aiming for quality, rather than speed of service, choosing human translation services may be a better choice for you.

Machine Translation

Machine translation, on the other hand, makes use of software to convert one language to another. For people who need quick translations, this form of translation is suitable. However, despite having technological advancements, no machine can match the skills of a human translator. Therefore, these translations can’t be as accurate as human translation services, making these services not suitable for the content of utmost importance.  

How long does a translation usually take?

Turnaround times for online translation services may vary. It depends on the length of the document, as well as the complexity of its content. The longer and more complex it is, the longer it will take for your translator to finish. However, usually, a standard content with two pages can be finished by a translator in approximately two hours. Meanwhile, medical or legal documents, which are usually longer than standard documents, can take up to 24 to 48 hours. 

I’m an aspiring translator. How do I start becoming one, and how do I choose a company to work for?

Honing your skills to be a professional translator can help you find more job opportunities. Especially now that online translation services are becoming more and more in-demand nowadays, and it’s easier to be qualified for the work because of the internet.

If you want to be a translator, the first thing that you must consider is to study the languages you want to work on. There are many online courses available on the internet today. It’s just a matter of choosing which you think would provide more opportunities for you, and which matches your interests. Also, you would have to consider if you’d prefer rendering services for standard content, or would you go for industry-specific translation services instead. However, learning doesn’t stop here. After filling up your credentials, you also need to update your knowledge once in a while so you can meet your clients’ needs.

After educating yourself, you can start working directly as a translator. However, to get yourself more chances of landing a job, you may want to get certified. In the United States, aspiring translators can get certified by passing an exam given by the American Translators Association. This certification allows you to work on more projects since it provides your skills with the validation it needs.

In choosing a company to work for, you can read employer reviews to help you choose a company. Also, you can ask your friends to refer you. Or you can put up your gig on freelancing websites if you want to work independently. 

Is it advisable to opt for a free translation service online? 

For documents that aren’t of utmost importance, such as personal letters, you can choose to get free online translation services instead. Or you can opt for free machine translators that can be found online. However, these service providers may not be able to meet all of your needs.

If you have a tight budget and these free services can’t provide you your needs, there are also other options on how you can get your document or material translated. You can learn the language and translate your materials yourself. You can also ask a friend who’s knowledgeable about the language that you need and have them translate for you. 

How are online translation services paid?

Since online translation services can’t accept cash payments, companies accept payments through debit or credit card transactions. They also accept payments via online payment platforms, where all you have to do is transfer money to your LSP.

Can I cancel an order for an online translation service?

Some LSPs allow you to cancel your orders, while others don’t. For companies who accept cancellation of orders, they would only provide you a refund, provided that your document hasn’t been handed to a translator yet. If a translator has already accepted your work, then your order can be cancelled, but no payment refund will take place. 

Can I ask for revisions for my translation?

Yes, you can always ask for revisions for your translations. However, revisions and proofreading services usually cost additional fees. Most basic translation services only provide first-hand translation with no proofreading services included. So if you want to have your translation revised, you can always do so, provided that you pay for its additional fees. 

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