What is the difference between Translation and Interpretation? Why should I care?

01At first, they may seem like one and the same linguistic disciplines, but they are rarely performed by the same people. I prefer to compare these disciplines to interrelated sports. For example: Football. Association Football (also known as “Soccer”) requires an entirely different skillset than American Football. It seems like the only commonality is the word “football”, and nothing else. Unless you’re not familiar at all with each sport, would you say that they’re practically the same?

Simply put, interpreters are linguists in an oral sense, while translators are linguists of written text. The most important aspect of a translator is the ability to write well in the target language. Translators typically translate from one language into another at a time, availing themselves of dictionaries, online references, concordances, etc. Oftentimes they’ll conduct additional research of source and target terms in order to convey text accurately both in a cultural and grammatical sense. However, interpreters must be able to translate verbally in both directions on the spot, oftentimes without using dictionaries or reference materials. They must have an outstanding command of both languages and extraordinary listening abilities in order to conduct simultaneous, consecutive or sight interpreting.

Transmith T&I approaches each discipline in a respectful and skillful manner. I am proud to not just be a translator, or an interpreter, or a linguist… I am a TRANSMITH! The name says it all. I invite you to ask me why.

What is a Certified Translation?

02The rules governing certified or sworn translations vary from country to country.  The following is a description of Certified translations in the United States:

Simply put, a Certified Translation is the original document (known as “source text”), the translation itself (also known as “target text”), and an accompanying written declaration by the translator that the document is an accurate and complete translation. Sometimes the document is called Affidavit, and sometimes the document is called “Certificate of Accuracy”.

You may be required to provide a certified translation if you are submitting a foreign-language document (such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, college transcript, etc.) to a court of law or regulatory agency in the United States.

In some instances, you may be asked to provide a notarized certification. This means that the Certificate of Accuracy/Affidavit needs to be signed by the translator in the presence of a notary, and the notary will issue his/her official stamp accordingly. Please note that the Notary Public seal assures only that the signature is that of the person who presented him or herself to the notary; The Notary Public is not attesting to the accuracy of the translation.

Unlike other countries such as Canada, Australia or France, a translator in the United States does not need to be accredited in order to provide a Certified translation.

Transmith T&I Services provides Certified translations in the following language pairs: EN➜ES (English into Spanish) and ES➜EN (Spanish into English)

For more information on Certified translations, here is a link from the American Translators’ Association (ATA): http://theatacompass.org/2013/08/14/what-is-a-certified-translation/

How long does it take to complete a translation?

03A translation turn-around time depends on the volume of your project, type of document, as well as language combination in question. A small, one-page translation (which consists of initial translation and revision) can be completed quicker than a 10-page instruction manual. If you request a Certified translation or a Notarized Certified translation, additional time is needed for mail delivery.

Since the translation industry bases its output primarily on word count, Transmith T&I is committed to maintaining the industry quality and output standards, which is why I look at standards used by reputed international NGO’s (such as the United Nations) to determine word count. Therefore, my typical translation output on a daily basis is, as follows:

2,000 words per day (6.6 pages at 300 words per page)

Here’s a link to the UN standards, as per an audit document available online: http://usun.state.gov/documents/organization/140734.pdf

At Transmith T&I, you will be provided with a start and projected completion date. In the Quote page, please provide me with a desired completion date, and I will confirm both the estimated price and turn-around time. If your request is a rush, please indicate so.

How do you charge for translations?

As I indicated on the left, turn-around time depends on volume and complexity. But you should know that in the translation industry, there are two types of word count methodologies used to provide price estimates:

  1. A word count based on the set of source documents (i.e., the original
  2. A word count based on the target documents (i.e., the translated material)

Transmith T&I takes into account the following considerations before providing you with a quote:

Per Source Word Count: The best and fairest way to price a translation is to use a source-based word count. Transmith T&I uses unique industry tools to determine exact word counts. I believe this is the most cost-effective method, as it will avoid unpleasant surprises at the time of invoicing.

  • Pricing will not change based on the number of words of the translated text.
  • Did you know that translation will contract and expand based on the language pair? That’s right. There are statistical industry-wide standards, as well as my own experience from translating since 2009, showing that translating to and from certain languages will result in either text expansion or text contraction. In other words, if you’re translating a document from English into Spanish, you can expect a 20% text expansion. (If you’re translating a document from Spanish into English, there’s approximately a 15% contraction), (if you’re translating a document from French to English, there is a 10 to 15% contraction).Per Target Word Count: There is no accurate way of predicting the word count of a translated document, and the actual price to be invoiced is not known until the translation has been completed.
  • You would need to wait until the end of the project to get a final invoice price.
  • There are exceptions to the norm and circumstances where a target word count is the best method for quoting purposes. For example, if Transmith T&I is asked to translated an audio file without a word count, or when the source material is not available in an editable electronic format (paper format), or if you’re simply requesting proofreading services, I will generally quote on a target word count basis.

Transmith T&I is happy to provide competitive pricing and proud to provide high-quality translation services.

How do you charge for interpretations?

05My interpreting rates, unlike those for translation, are based on two factors: industry standards for linguistic pairs and on precedents and standards set by regulatory bodies such as the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Just as in the case of translation, every Interpreting project is different. I currently handle business, conference and legal interpreting, and I am not offering medical interpreting at this time. When contacting me about your Interpreting request, please indicate the nature of the request, the length of time, whether any travel in/out of state will be required or if this is a phone interpreting assignment, and I will be happy to provide you with an estimate.

What about confidentiality? How can I be sure that the contents of my documents will not be disclosed to anyone else?

Your documents are important to me and the need to keep your files secure and the data contained in them confidential is my top priority. I would be happy to sign a non-disclosure agreement with you before you send Transmith T&I your text.

Please rest assured that, should Transmith T&I be commissioned to execute your translation or interpretation project, all your documents or information will be handled in a safe and secure manner.

Over the years, I have worked for many satisfied customers, and would love to share their feedback and experiences with you.

What are your translation/interpreting tools?

Translation/Interpreting Tools

  • Wordfast Pro
  • Microsoft Office Pro 2010
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Printer, Scanner
  • Skype and Webcam
  • A variety of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries (i.e. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Diccionario RAE de la Lengua Española).
Online Tools

  • Specialized monolingual/bilingual dictionaries
  • Microsoft Online Glossaries
  • Monolingual/bilingual Corpus/Concordance search engines

  • Norton Antivirus and AVG
  • Password-protected PC access
  • Compartmentalized data architecture