Category Archives: Frequently asked questions

Why is there such large variation in the quality delivered by different translation companies?

In many cases, the translation company has never had a high quality standard forced on it by the market, partially because the client typically cannot judge the quality of the product, or the client values low cost over high quality. Continue reading

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Why is there such large variation in the prices charged by different translation companies?

Many translation companies choose to compete on price, which requires that they slash their own costs to the bone. Continue reading

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What does it mean when a government agency insists that the translation of a document be “certified”?

This simply means that the translator or translation company that carries out the work is required to append a statement to the end of the translated document stating that, in their view, the translation represents a complete and accurate rendition … Continue reading

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Is there such a thing as a “qualified” or “certified” translator?

There are a number of industry organizations and academic institutions that offer certification and qualifications in translation and interpreting. However, there is no real standardization nationally or internationally regarding testing criteria, and no compelling evidence that the holders of these … Continue reading

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Why is there so much bad translation out there?

In Europe it is axiomatic that a translator should only translate into his or her own native language—the rationale being that non-native speakers of the target language lack the ability to write as clearly and fluently as a native speakers can. Thus, only a native German speaker will be assigned English-to-German translation work. In Japan, however, this basic tenet goes largely ignored. Continue reading

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Aren’t all translators going to be replaced by computers or Google Translate any day now?

Computers are not capable of actually comprehending language in any real sense. Continue reading

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Translation and interpreting—what’s the difference?

A translator works on a written document, reading the content in the source language (e.g. Japanese) and producing the equivalent document in the target language (e.g. English). An interpreter acts as a verbal intermediary between two or more people whose native languages are different. Continue reading

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