1. What is “to translate”?

Translation is a written process by which a message from a source language is reproduced into a target language, keeping a natural style and the meaning as close as possible to the original message.

2. The stages of a translation project

a. When a client requests a translation from us, we need to know the target language and audience, the existence of reference material or previous translations or if a specific terminology or glossary is to be used, also if the document requires a special layout, etc. This information and the material to be translated are reviewed to determine costs, turnaround time, tools and resources to be assigned. This is performed by a Project Manager who is the nexus between the client and, even in small projects.

b. A quote is delivered to the client so that he/she knows beforehand the exact price of the translation as we base on source word count. This calculation is very simple with electronic files: we just use the “Word count” tool of any word processor. Other software applications also have this function. When only a hard copy is available, we estimate a top and a bottom price; the final amount is adjusted before delivery as word count is manual. An additional fee depending on complexity is charged for documents with graphics, charts, tables or special formats. We always require the client’s written approval of the quote.
c. Upon quote approval, the Project Manager sets an internal schedule, distributes tasks and determines general guidelines.
d. The first step of the translation process is to decide a unified grammatical style. A
specific glossary is created and reviewed by a skilled professional, if needed. Another important factor is time availability; we have special tools and software to speed up some stages of any translation process. It is also important to highlight that professional translation requires time.
e. Then, translation begins.
f. Once translation is complete, the translated document is reviewed by editors/translators and edited in case of special layout or graphics, charts or tables.
g. Finally, it is proofread by a specialist or another translator with experience in the
subject matter.
h. The final version returns to the Project Manager, who double-checks that all client’s requirements are met and prepares the material for final delivery (including translation memory, glossary, bill, etc.).

3. A translation work team

Each translation team consists of one or more translator/s, a Project Manager, an editor/reviewer, a proof-reader and a graphic designer or DTP specialist, if required.

Every work is supervised by the Project Manager and any and all of our translators have been carefully tested and selected. Before a translator is included in our database, he/she must have gone through a strict series of tests and requirements. All our translators translate to their native language and we verify their experience in the topic of the translation before assigning them to a project. Skilled editors/reviewers and graphic designers –if DTP services are required- take part of each project.

4. About the equipment

Depending on each project requirements, some or all of these tools will be used: Special hardware and software, books, dictionaries, terminology databases, reference material, inquiries to skilled professionals, etc.

5. Rates

Our rates are based on the number of words of the original document. If an electronic file is available, the “Word Count” option of any word processor is used. If the client already has a translation memory or prefers working with one, the document is analyzed to determine repetitions, 100% matches or new segments. This is one of the advantages of using translation memories: repeated or previously translated segments are charged with lower rates. Manual word count, which is less precise, is the only possibility for original hard copies. In this case, the quote will base on the final number of words of the target language. Please note the difference in the number of words each language handles. In general, it is considered that English uses 15-20% less words than Spanish or Portuguese.

6. Professional background and experience

The translation of a text should only be carried out by a professional translator and native speaker of the target language, to guarantee a high-quality translation with the appropriate expressions and terminology. A serious linguist works with the right tools, has the required expertise, and employs the most up-to-date technology to develop a high-quality project efficiently. Moreover, he/she will be able to anticipate certain problems and difficulties or solve unexpected inconveniences with greater clarity and certainty, using all available resources.

Professional translators must have a deep knowledge of the source language and the capacity of creating a real nexus between cultures and languages. Expression capacity is also a must; either in writing or orally so that the original message is transmitted with the same meaning and proper style and terminology.

It is important to resist the temptation to do the job oneself or to take the shortest and easiest way by letting one’s teacher, the friend who lived abroad, or that person who knows computers so well tackle the job: these quick and seemingly inexpensive solutions are quite risky and can lead to disastrous results. A bilingual person speaks two languages fluently, but he/she doesn’t necessarily have the ability to write the language in a grammatically correct form or to use the appropriate terminology of a certain area of expertise.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule where a translator with proven experience in a determined field can translate into a foreign language with great accuracy and quality; however, it will still be imperative to have a native speaker review and edit the translated version to ensure the sense and quality of the document.

7. Translation vs. interpretation: what’s the difference?

Translation is a written process by which a message from a source language is reproduced into a target language, keeping it natural and the meaning as close as possible to the original message; interpretation is an oral process with the same characteristics and purpose. Translators translate and interpreters interpret; they bring different qualifications to their work to meet very diverse circumstances and requirements.

8. What about machine translation?

If you are pressed for time and want to get an idea of the text for personal use, automatic translators may be a quick and useful solution; they can also help you when surfing the Internet. But if you need to translate a text to be used in-house or with third parties, the golden rule is not to risk distributing a badly translated document or a document with no sense, coherence or clarity.

9. What is a “translation memory”(TM)?

Translation Memory is a type of software that has the ability to store and reuse translations produced by human linguists and translators. Human translators always produce the translations. The software remembers and empowers organizations to reuse those translations as content goes through revisions and updates. Translation Memory should not be confused with machine translation, a type of software that produces the translation itself and can be used to obtain draft, but not high-quality, translations. By contrast, Translation Memories store and reuse already created human translations.

The key advantages of translation memories are:

  • The same sentence never has to be translated twice.
  • By interfacing the translation memory with DTP solutions, TMs simplify and accelerate the translation workflow.
  • By recycling existing material, TMs slash the cost of future projects.
  • The terminology modules help maintain an up-to-date terminology list that will not only ensure consistency and accuracy, but will also save valuable resources by eliminating time-consuming searches.
  • TMs help maintain quality while minimizing QA/review cycles.

10. Do you need to translate the whole document?

At times, clients are forced to translate lengthy texts just to find out what the document is about. We can provide you with a cost-effective solution: we can synthesize or summarize the material and thus help you eliminate unnecessary costs.

11. Style … does it really matter?

A speech is quite different from a web site; a brochure is not a catalogue and a bidding document has nothing to do with a technical report. Style, terminology, phrases used and the sentence length will vary depending on the intended audience, where the text will be edited or published. A professional and experienced translator will definitely ask for that information. Be sure to inform your translator who you are addressing the material to so that the translation has the maximum impact on the particular audience.

12. A picture is worth a thousand words

It’s true…images, charts and illustrations are extremely helpful. At we have the tools necessary to edit your graphics in the target language and insert them into the translation so that the final version is identical to the original. Ask for our latest price list and available programs.

13. The importance of working with specialists

No matter how experienced a translator can be; he/she will never know all the words in a certain field of expertise. It is important that translators work together with skilled professionals of each specific area to double-check proper terminology and style.


1. What is “to interpret”?

To interpret is to reproduce a message orally in the target language.

A conference interpreter is a professional that makes it possible to break any barrier between the participants of any event and the speaker/s by transmitting either simultaneously or consecutively their message.

2. Translation vs. interpretation: what’s the difference?

Translation is a written process by which a message from a source language is reproduced into a target language, keeping it natural and the meaning as close as possible to the original message; interpretation is an oral process with the same characteristics and purpose. Translators translate and interpreters interpret; they bring different qualifications to their work to meet very diverse circumstances and requirements.

3. An interpretation work team

There is always an “Interpreter-Coordinator” in every project, who will not only provide you with general advice on space or time distribution for a more cost-effective solution or recommend a sound system provider but will also coordinate the appropriate team of interpreters for the event.

Interpreters work in groups of 2 and rotate every 20 minutes due to the demand of the work and to keep a continuous excellence. A normal work day has 6 hours, usually divided in 3-hour modules. All other events are individually contemplated. For example, only one interpreter can be hired for a press release as it usually lasts 90 minutes or less. Conferences on special subjects which usually last longer – some exceed 8 hours- will have higher fees and require 3 interpreters.

4. About the equipment

If you decide to contract a sound system provider, we recommend that you take into account the following list of requirements to guarantee the quality production of your work and the success of the event.

  • Permanent monitoring of the audio signal that is fed to the interpreters.
  • An adequate on and off for the microphones so as to avoid voice overlap.
  • Adequate volume with available adjustment by the interpreters.
  • A soundproof cabin that complies with ISO 4043, including individual lighting, microphone with a cut-out and cough button, sufficient space for job documentation and appropriate access.


  • A silent air extractor so as to be able to work with the door closed and still have sufficient ventilation in the cabin.
  • Location of the cabin so as to ensure perfect visibility of the speaker and the screens; otherwise, provide a video screen.
  • Assistants focused on the placement of the speakers’ microphones, especially for question-and-answer sessions.

5. Rates

Interpretation work is charged by time, according to the duration of the event. If it is a short event, an hourly based rate is charged; otherwise a rate per day is fixed. The number of interpreters needed also depends on the duration of the event. One interpreter is enough for jobs of up to an hour and a half; two interpreters are essential for longer events. Interpreters´ fees do not include sound equipment; such cost will be detailed separately in the quote.

6. Considerations for hiring interpretation services:

In the interpretation area, we work with maximum flexibility as to comply with even last-minute needs.

However, planning with anticipation is the key to develop a project with success as there will be enough time to analyze the client’s needs, select the best qualified professionals, perform research on the subject-matter, get familiar with the terminology and appoint the adequate professionals to join in.

Meet the interpreter before the event and explain your goals; provide him/her with a cultural insight of your prospective attendants and share any reference material that might help deliver your message appropriately.

7. About the interpreter himself/herself

Interpretation services should only be rendered by a professional interpreter, native speaker of the target language. He/she must have not only a deep knowledge of the source language but also extensive background on the matter to be dealt with during the meeting or conference. Superb expression capacity is also a must so that the original message is transmitted with the same meaning and proper style and terminology.

The success of every event is built upon communication. If this is the first time that you are hiring the services of a professional interpreter, you should find someone who can advise the organizer of the event to reduce costs and be successful. Remember asking the “Interpreter-Coordinator” any doubt.

8. Simultaneous vs. Consecutive interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation occurs in real time, i.e., while the speaker addresses the audience. Consecutive interpretation takes longer as the speaker delivers his/her speech with pauses so that the interpreter can reproduce what has just been said in the target language. There are two people delivering the message: the speaker in the original language and the interpreter in the target language. It will then be important to ask the speaker to pause after a couple of sentences. Remember that the interpretation from English will be lengthier as more words are needed. English is direct and concise while other languages, as Spanish or Portuguese, need longer sentences to transmit the same idea.

9. During the event

  • Do not say anything to the interpreter that you do not want to be translated. The interpreter will reproduce every word that is said.
  • Avoid asking the interpreter for advice or requiring that he/she takes part in a discussion. His/her role is simply to transmit the message.
  • If you are planning to tell jokes or anecdotes to liven up your presentation, do it only if you know that they can be reproduced in the target language with the desired result.
  • Resist the temptation to address the interpreter directly (who is speaking in third person). Talk to the client straight away (i.e. talk to him/her in first person). For example, ask the client directly, “How are you today?” instead of telling the interpreter, “Ask him how he is”. The interpreter will also use the first person singular.
  • Share reference material with your interpreter (previous translations, glossaries, documents, speeches, databases), especially if you are working on a technical field.
  • Participant distribution at an event is very important, for example, in the case of meetings where the participants sit around a table, it is convenient to place them in such a way that there is visual contact between the client, the interpreter and the speaker.
  • Consider the possibility of using wireless simultaneous interpretation devices for meetings of up to 30 participants where various speakers in small meeting rooms partake.


Our staff has the responsibility of understanding all of your needs, be it your oral, written or graphic communication and expressing each one, as you require. At there is a professional team waiting to help you in your next project. Contact us now.