Professional Translation Services 101

Professional Translation Services Best Practices

International professional translation services have become a staple business service which is required by most companies in the world. This post will provide some details about translation services for professional use, and how you can order accurate and professional translation services.

Meaning of professional translation services

Meaning of professional translation services
Dictionary definition of the word translation

Professional translation services is a transaction in which a business or a person purchases language translation from a business or person whose occupation is to translate words for a living. It is estimated that there are about 3,000 translation companies and about 640,000 professional translators in the world today (as of 11.2019). Purchasing language translation services from one of these companies or translators is what is defined as professional translation services.

What would not be considered professional language translation services? Using free translation software (like Google Translate), asking one of your in-house employees or a friend who is not a professional translator to translate, or translating by yourself (if you are not yourself a professional translator) would not be considered professional translation services.

Where to find professional translation services?

The easiest way to find professional business translation services is by going online and using a search engine. The results will be overwhelming with thousands of results. Which company to choose? Many people search for translations companies in their own city or location. Many people search for translation companies according to a specific vertical, like medical translation or legal translation. Other people prefer to get a recommendation from someone that they trust about a translation company that they worked with in the past. Even if you can’t get a recommendation, searching online is a good option as you can usually get online reviews or ask for customer references.

Cost of professional translation services

Professional translation services is usually charged for by the word. If you order from a freelance professional translator, prices can start as low as $0.03 per word. If you order from a translation company, prices start from $0.08 per word. The professional translation service price varies depending on the language pair, and can go as high as $0.40 per word.

Professional Translation Services for Documents

The most common item ordered from translation companies is document translation. The types of documents that need to translate include documents for immigration (like birth/death//marriage certificates), medical reports, legal documents like contracts, employee handbooks, technical documents like manuals and specifications, sales and marketing brochures and a lot more.

Professional Translation Services Legal

One of the most common type of documents that need to be translated are legal documents like contracts, patents and agreements. So if an international company is leasing office space in another country, the legal department may want to check the lease agreement in their own language and will order a translation of the document. Patents will be translated into various languages for local filing in different countries.

Professional Medical Translation Services

Another common type of document that requires professional translation service are medical documents like medical reports, informed consent forms and clinical research documents. Clinical trials can be conducted in several countries at the same time and the study documents need to be translated into the local language. People that require emergency medical care in foreign hospitals will need to translate the medical reports when consulting physicians at home.

Professional CV Translation Services

Executives and senior employees who are trying to get a job in another country will need to translate their CV into the local language. CVs should be translated carefully as mistakes will reflect poorly on the candidate.

Professional Website Translation Services

Today, almost all companies and organizations have a website. If they operate in an international market, it makes sense to translate the website in the language spoken in each market. There are translation companies that specialize in website translation-these companies are proficient at interfacing with and working inside Content Management Systems (CMS), which are used to author and maintain enterprise-level websites.

Professional Certified Translation Services

Many kinds of documents require certification, if the body that the documents are intended for so require. Many government offices some courts of law require that the translated document be signed and stamped by a certified translator. Find out what kind of certification is required prior to ordering professional translation services government.

Professional Translation Services Online

There are many translation companies that offer professional document translation services online. Using one of these companies is a good option when you need a quick, affordable translation service. The leading online translation companies are, stepes, onehourtranslation and gengo. Click here to find out how you can get the best professional online translation services.

Professional Language Translation

There are over 6,000 languages which are spoken in the world as of 2019. The top five spoken languages are English, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and French. With so many languages, there are tens of thousands of language pairs which can be translated. Here are some of the most widely ordered languages pairs.

Professional Translation Services Japanese to English

When translating texts from Japanese to English, the industry tends to charge according to the number of Japanese characters. Each English word is equivalent to between 2 and 2.2 Japanese characters.

Professional Translation Services Chinese to English

Professional Translation Services Chinese to English

Similar to Japanese to English translation, the industry tends to charge Chinese to English according to the number of Chinese characters. Each English word is equivalent to between 1.6 and 2 Chinese characters.

Professional Translation Services English to French

French is spoken in many countries and it is estimated that there are 275 million French speakers in the world. Although France is the country that people associate most with the French language, French is widely spoken in many African countries including Niger, Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Togo. It is spoken in Quebec, which is one of the USA’s largest trade partners. It is also spoken in other European countries like Switzerland and Belgium. When ordering professional French translation services, specify the target country in order to get the desired result.

Professional Arabic Translation Services

Arabic is the main language in most middle-eastern and in many African countries. The baseline for the Arabic language tends to be Egypt, which is the cultural center of the Arab world. Arabic is a right-to-left (RTL) language, which is an issue when localizing software and high-end graphics materials to Arabic.

Professional Chinese Translation Services

Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, which is no surprise since the People’s Republic of China is the world’s most populous country. Chinese is also spoken in Taiwan, Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong. The standard form of Chinese is Mandarin. Other forms include Cantonese and Wu. Traditional Chinese is a character set used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Professional Russian Translation Services

By size, Russia is the largest country in the world. Russian is spoken by over 150 million people as a native language, making it one of the world’s most spoken languages.

Professional Spanish Translation ServicesProfessional Spanish Translation Services

As one of the top five most spoken languages in the world, professional translation services English to Spanish are in high demand. The good thing is that there are a lot of professional Spanish translators, which means that Spanish translation prices are at the lower end of the price spectrum.

Professional Translation Services French to English

As French is also one of the top languages in the world, many companies need French to English translation services. Although there are major differences between European and Canadian French, all French to English professional translators can translate out of both Canadian and European French.

Professional Services Translation German

German is not one of the most widely spoken languages in the world – it is spoken mainly in Germany, Austria and in parts of Switzerland.  However, Germany’s position as a major powerhouse in the automotive industry and in engineering make German translation services one of the most highly demanded language pairs. Many companies order German to English of technical and engineering materials.

Professional Italian Translation Services

Italian is not even in the top 10 world languages. But Italy’s strong position in many areas such as fashion, tourism, automotive and engineering place Italian translation services in high demand.

Is it possible to get free professional translation services?

It is possible if you are married to a professional translator, have a child or relative who is a professional translator or if you can offer something valuable in return for a translation. Otherwise, it is not possible to get free online professional translation services.

Is there such a thing as Google Professional Translation Services?

No. Google does not sell professional translation services. Google provides free machine translation via Google Translate. Google also offers customized machine translation through Cloud Translation and Google Translate API.

Professional Translation Services Jobs

As mentioned previously in this post, there are about 640,000 professional translators in the world today. Which means that a lot of people are making a living as a professional translator. Many of these translators work out of there home, which is ideal for work-at-home Moms and other people who hate to ride the train to work. Working as a professional translator can be lucrative, as some translators make over $100,000 a year. You can sign up for freelance translation jobs at GTS here:



The new paradigm of selling online

At GTS Translation, we made a strategic shift about three years ago and started to sell document translation services online. It is a simple concept which is used by several other companies like gengo, onehourtranslation and translated. The customer only needs to upload her/his documents and select the source and target languages. They get the translation price quote online within seconds and can then complete the order and payment online. Delivery and approval of the job are also done online. Many customers prefer this method of buying over the traditional method of yesteryear, when they had to call up the translation company by phone, sent files by courier or email, etc.

We also prefer the new way of selling. We can deliver faster and at better prices. Overhead is reduced which means cost savings and happier customers.

The key difference between serious and non-serious online buyers

We noticed something interesting in our transition to selling online. Many non-serious buyers ask questions instead of placing an order. Serious customers that want to buy online just do it (like it says in those Nike ads). Non-serious customers engage our chat lines, send emails or call on the phone to ask questions. We usually make the effort to respond to these questions, but in analyzing hundreds of such queries, we have concluded that over 90% of these inquisitive customers end up not buying.  Which is really not fair, if that word can even be used in a business buying situation. These customers are not only wasting their own time, but sadly they are wasting the time of other people who can be doing better things than responding to questions which can easily be answered by checking the company website.

The buying signals

Anyone who has read books about selling will recall one or more chapters about how to interpret buying signals. Questions like “does the product come in black or brown?,” “how long is the warranty,” and “can you deliver it next week?” were considered to be buying signals. I also recall reading in some of those sales books that a lack of questions usually indicated a lack of interest on the part of the buyer and a lost sale.

That may have been true then, but when selling online it appears to be mostly the opposite. Not that questions always result in no sale-some customers are serious about buying and can’t find the information they are looking for online. So they call up or send an email. Some of those customers convert and do end up buying. But they are a minority in the world of online sales. If you have a company that is selling online, I would not recommend that you invest too much effort in responding to these queries and learn to weed out the non-serious buyers.

Typical sales queries

Here are some of the queries and questions that we tend to encounter frequently.

1. Customers who are shopping for general price information, especially for a future project. Even worse, customers who are preparing a large bid in which translation services is just one of the components. There is ZERO percent chance of getting any business out of these inquiries. Don’t put any effort at all into these scenarios, unless it is a customer who has bought from your company in the past.

Automate your query response system

AT GTS we rolled out a translation cost calculator tool that allows customers to select languages and enter a number of words to get an instant price estimate. If you are selling translation services online, either develop a similar tool or feature a website page with general translation price information. Then when the non-serious buyers call you can send them the link and put your time to better use.

2. The files are not ready yet, the final version is not ready, the files are confidential.

These statements tend to come from non-serious buyers. If the files that the customer needs to translate are not ready, how can the customer be a serious buyer? In 99.99% of these scenarios, the customer will get the information and then disappear. The files are confidential you say? We’ll be happy to sign an NDA should be your response. If they disappear on you then you will know that they are not serious.

3. The project is scheduled to launch in Q3 of next year.

If a customer is asking for a price quote for a project that is in the distant future, the chances of getting a sale are very slim.

4. Are the translations done by humans? Are they certified?

On the GTS website, we have this information spelled out in great detail. In fact, our home page slogan is “Best Translation Quality Humanly Possible.” We also have several pages on our website that describe what kind of translation certification we provide.  Yet we receive many chats, phone calls and emails asking these questions. Most of these queries are from non-buyers.

5. We want free translation samples

This is a classic. People who ask for free translation samples will take the sample and disappear 99% of the time. Serious buyers have better ways of doing due diligence like calling customer references and checking online reviews.  My recommendation: don’t waste time on these requests. Imagine the response you will receive if you walk into a McDonalds and ask for a free Big Mac as a sample.

6. What are the translator credentials? or We want to see the translator CVs

Again, these questions usually indicate that the buyer is not serious. As I wrote in the last paragraph, there are  better ways of doing due diligence.

7. Can I get a price discount if I give you a longer lead time? My document has a lot of numbers, can I get a discount for this?

These types of questions are not as bad as some of the previously mentioned ones. But still, most of them indicate a non-serious buyer on the other end.

8. Request for Proposal (RFP/RFQ)

As a translation company with a high online profile, you probably get a lot of RFPs. Some of them are very serious and potentially very lucrative. But they are sent out to several companies and the competition is usually fierce.

Additionally, some corporate buyers have already decided who they will order from. They just want competitive quotes to better their leverage with the supplier. And from experience, some of these RFPs can take hours or even days to prepare. As a translation company sales manager, you need to decide which RFPs to accept and which to decline. And if you accept, be prepared to get rejected which means time spent for nothing.

9. Can we pay against a PO after delivery? Can we pay 50% in advance and 50% after delivery?

These are actually good questions and very often result in a sale. Check out the customer and make a decision. If Apple or Microsoft are asking for you to front them translation services against a PO- Go for it! If a customer is negotiating a 5 or 6 figure purchase and has a good credit rating, 50% in advance is a great deal.

10. My credit card is being declined. The word count I received in the quote does not match the my own records. Can I get the translation sooner? 

These are serious questions. The low-hanging fruit in online selling. Answer these queries quickly and with alacrity.

Summary of the online selling paradigm

If your website is layered correctly with a clear sales funnel; with content targeted to each stage of the buying decision and process; and an easy process for ordering online. Then the majority of the questions you will receive are from non-serious buyers. Treat them accordingly.

Search for patterns in the inquiries you receive and make your own conclusions on what are the buying signals.

What is the best practice for InDesign document translation?

InDesign Document Translation

Adobe InDesign is the number one software for creation of brochures, catalogs and other printed material. It is top choice of designers and graphic artists. So it is inevitable that companies that are operating internationally will want to translate the brochures and catalogs into other languages (for use in trade shows, sales events and such).

Many customer are unaware that INDD files can be translated directly. So they either do a wasteful two-step process by translating the text in a text or Word file and inserting it into the INDD file. But that is a waste of time and expense.  Or they convert the PDF file into MS Word and translate that file. But that may lead to botched up work as text expansion may result in incorrect text placement.

But if you translate the INDD file directly, then the layout comes out good in the first place and the graphic artists will spend no or little time on the translated publications. The good news is that this is a straightforward process which can be handled easily by a professional translator or translation agency. For the workflow that we use at GTS, you will need a licensed copy of InDesign and a CAT tool like SDL Trados. Here is a video which shows our workflow.

How to order InDesign document translation from GTS

To order the translation of an INDD file from GTS, create a price quote online by going to Create the quote using a PDF file and complete the payment online. Once the order is completed, send your INDD files by email to [email protected] and specify the order number. We will translate the INDD file and deliver both a translated INDD file and a translated PDF file.

Signup to get great deals on translation services with GTS coupons

GTS Coupon Codes

Out of all of the online translation companies, GTS Translation is probably the only one to offer online price discounts with our GTS coupon codes. So you can get high quality professional translation services and save money at the same time. Click here for information on how to redeem your GTS coupon code.

If you are a new customer, use coupon code NEW5 to get a 5% discount on your first order. In addition, we periodically run special sales with even bigger discounts. These discounts are offered to registered users who are logged in to the GTS Translation website. We announce these discounts via email and if you are logged-in to our website, through online notifications. Special discount sales have an expiration date and are offered for a limited time-but we feature several of these sales a year.

If you would like to get on our email list and receive announcements about our special sales, enter your information in this form.

GTS Translation is a certified translation company. Our Quality Management System (QMS) is compliant with the ISO 17100:2015 standard.  We support over 80 languages and translate documents of all types including legal, technical, medical and business/financial documents. We offer fast delivery at competitive prices. And you can get even better prices with our special sales and coupon codes.

Hundreds of our customers have used GTS coupons to get the best deal on professional translation services. Be sure to check it out next time you order translation services online.

Top Online Translation Companies

Buying professional translation services online has emerged as a viable solution for today’s customers. In the traditional, full-service model that prevailed in past years, customers would contact a translation agency by phone or by email. Ensuing communications between the client and the agency would also be done offline-sometimes even using postal mail to send in materials.

Today, customers can get instant price quotes, order translation services and complete payment online. This results in lower prices and faster delivery times. Now, you can get a professional translation services in a matter of hours.

Here is a comprehensive list of online companies, not listed in any specific order. In this list we only included companies that provide instant translation price quotes anonymously (without needed to enter your name and email address). If anyone comes across an online translation company that is not on this list, or if you have any reviews or comments about a company, please feel free to comment and we will update this list.

gengo is a Japanese company which was recently acquired by Lionbridge (one of the biggest translation companies in the world). Together with OHT (see next entry), Gengo pioneered the professional online translation space. Prices at gengo start at $0.06 but are much higher for reviewed translation. Up until recently, gengo only provided translation of business and general texts. Now they provide translation service in most subject matters.

One Hour Translation is an Israeli company that provides translation services in all subject matters. Prices start at around $0.14 for specialized text.

Based in San Francisco, Rev seems to have shifted their focus towards the video and entertainment industry. They offer services not related to translation, such as transcription and captioning services. They do provide certified translation of official documents and business translation services.

Stepes is a US-based company that provides professional document translation services. Self-billed as the “Uber of Translation Services,” Stepes has a nifty, easy to use user interface which can be used on mobile devices as well as computers.

Textmaster is a company based in France that provides professional document translation services. Specialized translation services start at 0.16 Euro per word.

Translated is an Italian company that has been in the translation business for 20 years. Their online interface is not very convenient. Prices for professional translated start at $0.10 per word. They offer buy-now-pay-later service for corporate clients. They also offer Post-Edited Machine Translation (PEMT) services in partnership with Google.

Based in the UK, Turbo Translations provides fast document translation services starting at $0.10 per word.

Tolingo is based in Germany. There prices seem to be high (around 0.20 Euro per word). Furthermore, they add 19% VAT to the price even if you are outside of Germany.

Mars Translation provides instant quotes but asks you to enter your name and email address. You can enter a fake name and email to get the instant quote. Prices start at $0.15 a word.

Smartlation’s user interface is cumbersome and it takes many clicks to get a price quote.  It is really an online marketplace of translators and you get several options from specific translators in their database. It is unclear what responsibility Smarlation assumes in the process. Furthermore, I am not sure I would want to order translation services from a company that has typos on their home page.

Nativy is an Austrian based company. They add VAT to all orders even if you are outside of Austria. There User Interface is not very convenient due to a wizard that constantly serves up popup windows.

MyTranslation is a professional online translation agency based in France.  They only offer translation into German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch. They offer two modes of service. They choose a translator for you with prices starting at $0.14. Or you get bids on your projects with prices starting at $0.11. They also add VAT to the translation price even if you are outside of France.

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