FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How can my business-specific terminology be used consistently in all translations?

By consulting the reference material (manuals, brochures, glossaries etc.) furnished to us, the translator can adopt your unique style, language and wording.

How can you guarantee that the quality of the work delivered lives up to my expectations?

For a text to hit just the right note, your feedback is of the essence. Our customers’ input helps us deliver translations that sound like originals, where nothing can be faulted.

How can translation quality be secured in the long term?

Each project is entrusted to a team made up of a translator and a reviser. They switch roles to allow them to smoothly slip into the style demanded by the project or even the customer. Once the result gets the green light from the customer, this tandem is “twinned” to secure and improve the quality of the service rendered.

The translation of certain documents may require very specific linguistic and technical skills. How do you find the perfect profile?

3 important points come into play:

  • Proficiency in both the source and the target language
  • Knowledge of the customer’s jargon (translation entrusted to teams well versed in the subject area)
  • Evaluation of translators before their selection.

We translate on behalf of companies of all sizes and in all segments, and have done so for over 30 years. This allows us to offer a wide range of linguistic specialisations and to translate your technical documents, no matter how cutting edge they may be.

How do you approach a legal translation?

When speaking of legal translation, it is important to distinguish between 3 different concepts:

  1. Legal translation, in the sense of “with a legal character”. In this case, the translation is entrusted to a specialised translator. It is only delivered to the customer once it has been double-checked by us.
  2. Sworn translation, which has a legal implication. The translation process may take longer than a regular translation. This type of translation requires the translator to not only be specialised, but also registered with a legal administrative authority, namely the court of first instance. Compared with the first option, some extra days are required because of administrative procedures.
  3. Sworn and legalised translation, which adds further legal implications to the legal character of a simple sworn translation. This may be required by certain institutions. Your document needs to have force of law, either in Belgium or abroad. In the first case, the court of first instance certifies the signature of the sworn translator for the document to be legally binding in Belgium. For it to have force of law abroad, the document must however be submitted to two other legal authorities (in addition to the court of first instance), being the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In some cases, this list also includes the Consulate (legalisation by the Ministry of Justice and Foreign Affairs may no longer be needed). It may take 3 to 4 days for translations earmarked for foreign countries to be legalised.
How do you approach interpreting assignments?

An interpreting assignment is not just about dispatching a translator on site. Again, the more information you submit with your request, the easier it will be for us to cater exactly to your needs. This means defining from the outset:

  1. The type of interpreting service required:
    • Simultaneous, where the interpreter renders the speech at the same time as it is pronounced.
    • Consecutive, where the interpreter reproduces a portion or the entire speech once completed, consulting simple notes taken during the speech.
    • Liaison, where the interpreter works without taking notes most of the time, memorising short passages and rendering them in the target language.
      This style of interpretation is most commonly used in informal situations, in the context of meetings, visits etc.
  2. One or more directions: do the interpreters only need to translate what the speaker says to the audience, or should they work in both directions (i.e. will the floor be given to the public by means of a question/answer session)?
  3. The duration: on average, interpreters work in shifts of 20 minutes. After this time, they must be replaced. That is why all interpretation requests systematically imply teams of at least two interpreters. Some interpreters can work continuously for 1 hour, but can no longer continue after such a length of time.
  4. The equipment and the size of the audience:
    • Is the equipment available or should it be provided?
    • For a group of up to 20 people (meeting room), we can rent out an interpreting case.
    • From 20 participants, the use of a booth is essential for interpreters.
  5. The reference material: this is all the documentation (briefing, meetings, presentation material, Internet links etc.) related to the subject of the mission. This allows the interpreter to master the finer points of the subject in hand and deliver a high-quality translation.
Is it important for the format (InDesign, FrameMaker, XML) of a document to be taken into account during the translation process?

The use of these formats is optional when layout is not a specified criterion. In other cases, format is a crucial consideration, as it can impact the time it takes to process documents and increase the total cost of the translation project. The use of translation tools allows for substantial savings when the source format is ready to use.

Hence the importance of knowing how to prepare your documents for translation. Send us your source files and, if possible, avoid PDF documents.

What is the difference between a proofreading and a revision?

A proofreading is a spelling and grammar check on a document. The writing style can also be adapted. A revision compares an original document and its translation. Naturally, the point is to check the grammar, spelling and style of the translation, but also, and more particularly, to perform a terminological check. In other words, is the text accurately translated and does it convey the message of the source text?

How can we get the most out of existing multilingual content?

This question can be broken down into two aspects: the first port of call is reference material, in other words, all of the multilingual documents relating to your company or your field of business. This documentation serves as a working base to produce your multilingual content.

The second aspect concerns the terminology specific to the topics covered in your reference material. The ultimate aim is to define and collate this terminology, so that it is used in a uniform manner and ensures the consistency of your communication.

These two aspects are pooled to create a translation memory, a database that contains elements specific to your business: terminology, expressions, translation segments, names or abbreviations of brands etc. The content stored in this translation memory will be used whenever a new translation is commissioned, in order to recover elements that have already been translated. This approach guarantees an optimal management of your multilingual content.

How can we put together a terminology database?

All it takes is the creation of a multilingual file containing as many columns as there are languages to be translated. This is the file that will serve as a terminology database in conjunction with the translation tools.

Explanations: a distinction must be made between multilingual glossaries (MG) and translation memories (TM).

The MG is a list of individual terms.

Sample glossary FR – EN
plage = beach
montagne = mountain

The TM is a file containing segments (sentences), which makes it possible to search for matches (we refer to this as % Match) by comparing the text segment to be translated to the segments available in the TM.

There are 3 types of matches: Fuzzy Match, 100% Match/Perfect Match and Context Match.

An example of a Fuzzy Match would be: I am going to the beach in my Beetle vs I am going to the beach in my car. The correspondence is approximately 75%. Therefore, this is considered a 75% match.

A 100% Match indicates total agreement between the two segments (they are identical): I am honest vs I am honest.

To be a Context Match, the translation memory segment must be a 100% match for the document segment, and both of them must be preceded by the same segment (in the Translation Memory and the document).

The tool will suggest possible translations to the translator based on the match.

How can the quality of a translation be judged or assessed?

A document is usually written for a specific purpose and according to predefined criteria. These have a strong influence on the nature, format, layout and style of its content. And while the quality assessment contains an element of subjectivity on the part of the reader, it is quite possible to properly assess the result of multilingual content, taking into account the following elements:

  • A translation is an adaptation of a text written in one language into another, with the aim of rendering the exact meaning in the target language in a style that reads well and sounds natural. A free translation is a natural adaptation of the original text where the style criteria depend strongly on the subject. A legal or technical text leaves less margin of manoeuvre for stylistic flourishes than a marketing or commercial text.
  • Copywriting is a writing exercise that sets out to give a particular slant to a message in a given field, with the aim of meeting a certain need or achieving a specific goal: public information, narration, powerful marketing advertisement, inclusion on a website etc. This is only possible after a detailed briefing on communication objectives and target groups.
Can you translate my document into all languages without exception?

Absolutely. Deadlines and costs are usually directly proportional to the source and target languages. In other words, if the source or target languages are uncommon (dialects, tribal languages etc.), it is highly likely that an intermediate translation into a better known language (called a pivot language) will be necessary.

How can you guarantee the quality of the translation you will deliver?

Here are 3 points that should put your mind to rest.

  1. The work is only definitively delivered to you once we receive confirmation of your satisfaction.
  2. Our procedures are ISO 9001:2015 certified. Applying professional procedures inspired by internationally recognised best practices is our second quality assurance.
  3. Last but not least … The actual translation is only the visible part of the iceberg. Analysing, understanding, estimating, proposing, advising, selecting, adapting, producing, managing, testing, correcting, guaranteeing, delivering and monitoring are all key elements we utilise for all of our projects. We have chosen to deliver a quality service, underpinned by our 30 years of tried and tested experience.
How much time can a translation take?

The table below shows the delivery deadlines according to the volume to be translated. This simulation exercise is based on an average of 250 words per page.

Volume Lead time (normal) Lead time (urgency)
1 page 1 working day 4 hours
10 pages 2 working days 1 working day
50 pages 6 working days 5 working days
200 pages 26 working days 18 working days
500 pages 64 working days 46 working days
1000 pages 129 working days 91 working days

For Tradas, respecting deadlines is part and parcel of our quality procedures. A realistic schedule is drawn up based on the time required for the translation and revision. Here are three typical cases:

  • Standard deadline: the average capacity for a translator varies from 2500 to 3000 words per working day once the translation process is triggered.
  • Repetitive texts: our translation tools can speed up the translation process (daily capacity of 4000 to 5000 words). This is subject to a digital analysis of the repetition rates of your documents. However, this is only possible if the format of your source documents allows for use with our translation tools (.docx, .pptx, .xml …).
  • Urgent deadlines: in case of emergency, we can of course put several teams of translators to work on your document. However, in most cases, we do not recommend this solution to our customers, as it undermines the coherence of the style and terminology of your documentation. In this third case, productivity will depend on the number of teams brought in and the use of translation software that accelerates productivity.
Do you use native translators?

Yes, we only use native translators whose mother tongue is the target language of the documents that we assign to them, and for the following reasons:

  • Total proficiency in the language, including a fine understanding of jargon and idioms, allows for a pitch-perfect translation.
  • Knowledge of the socio-cultural context makes it possible to produce a document that reads as though it had been written in that language in the first place – a translation that smacks of authenticity thanks to a fine grasp of linguistic connotations.
What is the difference between a translation company and a freelance translator?

These are two completely different service providers who often work together to offer you the service you need. Here is a comparison chart, rating the main service criteria as limited = +, competitive = ++, best = +++.

Criterion Company Freelancer
Multilingual competence +++ +
Specialisation +++ +
Consultancy +++ +
Project management +++ +
Customer service +++ +++
Tools +++ ++
Volume +++ +
Deadlines +++ +
Price ++ +++
Quality +++ ++
Guarantee +++ +

The table clearly shows that the translation company and freelance translator do not offer the same type of services, but does not specify the roles and responsibilities of each nor the relationship between them, which allows them to live in perfect harmony in the interests of all, especially those of the end customer. The translation company plays a twofold role: that of service provider for the end customer and that of project holder for freelancers.

Freelancers also play a twofold role: that of service provider for the translation company and that of service provider for the customer. The customer can thus have the best of two worlds by calling on the services of both types of providers, in line with his needs. In short, the company provides counselling and multilingual management services with a long term objective on behalf of small, medium or large companies.

Freelancers, for their part, have a narrower offering in terms of services, guarantee and sustainability, mainly due to their limited (human or material) capacity. Translation companies are better prepared, better equipped and more experienced to manage multilingual projects whose size and complexity are not specific constraints. This allows them to position themselves, on the one hand, as a strategic service partner for businesses and, secondly, as project holders for freelance translators.

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