1. Do I need a translator or an interpreter?
  2. Are your translations accepted by government departments?
  3. What assurances can you give me in respect to confidentiality?
  4. Why should I choose an agency?
  5. Why do I need to employ a professional or NAATI accredited translator?
  6. How much does your translation service cost?
  7. How quickly can you do my translation?

1. Do I need a translator or an interpreter?

Translating and interpreting are very different skills. A translator deals only with written texts. A translator changes a written document from one language to another and produces a written document in the target language. An interpreter deals only with spoken language. An interpreter is there to speak for you and to interpret what another party is saying when you are dealing with people who do not speak your language. If you have some documents which you need to be available in another language you need a translator. If you have a need to engage in spoken dialogue with people who do not speak your language then you need an interpreter.

2. Are your translations accepted by government departments such as the Immigration Department, and by the courts?

Yes, this is the reason we are in business. All of our translators hold NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) translator accreditation (Professional Level 3) except in a few languages (listed with an asterisk on our Our Languages page) in which NAATI does not yet conduct accreditation tests. In those few languages, however, all of our translators have NAATI recognition. Accredited translators stamp and certify their translations with their personalized NAATI stamp which shows the translator’s name and accreditation number. The NAATI accreditation stamp is the industry standard accepted by government departments (State and Federal) and the courts in Australia.

Some non-Australian entities such as foreign governments and agencies sometimes ask for an ‘official’ translation and in some cases will only accept translations which have been done by their in-house translators. If dealing with a foreign government or agency you should make enquiries with them about their definition of ‘official’.

3. What assurances can you give me in respect to confidentiality?

Translation House adheres absolutely to the AUSIT Code of Ethics (adopted also by NAATI) and requires all of our translators to adhere to that code of ethics. Confidentiality is one of the core principles of that Code of Ethics and Translation House has no hesitation at all in guaranteeing absolute confidentiality. We are happy to sign legally binding Non-Disclosure Agreements or Confidentiality Agreements, a common practice with our corporate clients.

4. I don’t know whether to employ a free lance translator, or assign the work to a translation agency. Why should I choose an agency?

It is an issue of quality control. Translators who are operating on a free lance basis vary considerably from the outstanding to those who discredit the industry. Checking whether a free lance translator or interpreter holds NAATI accreditation is a good first step and is, in fact, your only safeguard. However, it is not a guarantee that the practitioner whom you choose is totally competent and professional.

Translation agencies know the people whom they employ. They have access to a wide range of practitioners and they know each person’s areas of expertise and the limits of his or her expertise. A translation agency is in a position to choose the very best person to translate your documents for your business.

Business houses are well advised to build a working relationship with a reputable agency if they have ongoing translation needs.

5. Why do I need to employ a professional or NAATI accredited translator? There are plenty of people in Australia who are bilingual.

The mere fact that you have arrived at this website is indicative of the fact that you have doubts about your own words, and you are right to do so. You wouldn’t employ a mathematics teacher as the chief accountant of a large business. Sure, he knows a lot about mathematics but does he know the accounting practices and procedures necessary to run the financial side of your business? The fact that somebody is fluent in a particular language does not mean that person is qualified to produce a professional translation. Look around you. Listen to people in this country who are fluent native speakers of English. Do you consider all of them to be capable of writing reports or papers with a high level of grammatical and syntactical correctness? Furthermore, it may well be that the person who is fluent in the particular language which is of interest to you might have very poor skills in English, resulting in a poor translation. Professional translation is a highly skilled area of expertise which cannot simply be left to “somebody who speaks the language”. A cheap and poor translation is not going to save your company money. On the contrary, it will cost your company in numerous ways. An ancient sage once said the following:

“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant. If what is said is not what is meant, then what should be done remains undone.” Confucius (551-479BC)

6. How much does your translation service cost?

There is no one-answer-fits-all to this question. The fee will depend upon the length of the translation, the complexity of the language, and the timeline for completion.

Our fees are very competitive and we give a firm quote before the commissioning of any translation assignment. For smaller jobs, for example birth certificates, marriage certificates, university diplomas, etc. we are usually able to give a firm fee without seeing the document.

For longer documents our fee is calculated on the basis of a given fee per 100 words. We may need to see an extract from the document before quoting the per 100 word fee in order to establish whether the text is of a non-technical, technical, or highly-technical nature. The best way to get a quick and accurate quote for a translation is to submit it through our "Quick Quote" facility.

There are a number of other factors relating to our fees which you should bear in mind:

  • When calculating the per 100 word fee the word count used is always that from the source document. If the word count were to be taken from the target language (the translation) we would not be in a position to give a quote until the translation were completed because we would not know the word count. Translation House, therefore, always works from the word count of the source document.
  • For Australian based clients GST is added to all fees quoted.
  • We offer a discount of 10% on translation assignments in excess of 10,000 words.
  • The fee presumes a workable timeline. Urgent jobs require our translators to drop everything else and to work intensively on your translation, perhaps even overnight or over the course of a weekend, and will attract an extra surcharge.

7. How quickly can you do my translation?

We will always do our very best to get translations back to you as quickly as possible, but we will not sacrifice accuracy in order to achieve that. Please ensure that you discuss your timeline with us before placing any work.

As a rough guide, most of our translators can manage up to 2,000 words per day, given a straightforward text. Some subject areas can require extensive research time in order to ensure correct technical terminology is used. The availability of the best translator may be another factor as the translator may, at the time, be working on another translation.

Texts requiring a lot of formatting, for example text set out in tables, are more time consuming. You can help in this area by providing your source document in electronic form and in a format which allows the alteration of text without losing the formatting.

We appreciate the requirement of businesses to get their translation back as soon as possible. We ask you to also appreciate our requirement for a realistic timeline, and to plan your translation needs accordingly.

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