August 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio August 2003 Current Issue
August 2003 ChecklistPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:




The following checklist was compiled compiled in part from A Consumer’s Guide to Professional Translation ($7;, prepared by the Client Education Committee of the American Translators Association, Alexandria, Va.


  • Will a written or an oral translation, or a combination of both, be required?
  • Into how many languages will the program be translated?
  • Will translators be working on site?
  • Will a translation booth be available, or must translators provide their own equipment?
  • Consider whether the event’s needs would be better served by a translation company or an independent translator (see details below).

  • How does the company select and test its translators?
  • For what languages does it provide translation services?
  • Does the company specialize in a particular language?
  • If you require translation services in a language the company does not ordinarily offer, is it prepared to find a competent translator for that language?
  • If the firm contracts with an outside translator, will the translator bill you directly, or will the invoice go through the translation company? Do markup fees apply?
  • Are on-site translation services provided? If so, is someone on the planning staff capable of judging translation quality?
  • Is the translation company owned or operated by an experienced professional who is accredited by the American Translators Association? To verify, call the ATA at (703) 683-6100.
  • Does the company have its own editors and proofreaders to check printed material that has been translated?
  • What is the turnaround time for material to be translated?
  • How does the company charge (by the hour, by number of translated pages, etc.)? Do additional charges apply for on-site translation or overtime?
  • Ask for an estimate. Make sure cost estimates and deadlines for printed materials are included in a written contract.
  • Ask for references from recent clients who had similar translation needs.
  • If a translator fails to show up, will backups be provided in a timely fashion?
  • What other related services does the translation company provide (i.e., updating glossaries or coordinating large projects, such as trans-lating technical data into several languages)?

  • Are they articulate in interviews?
  • Is their promotional material well written?
  • Are they capable of providing multiple copies of translated material?
  • Do they ask questions about the project at hand? Good translators will try to get an understanding of the field in which they will be required to work.
  • Are they accredited by the American Translators Association? Call the ATA to verify.
  • What are the translators’ special subject fields (i.e., are they adept at deciphering financial documents or medical texts)?
  • What specific experience do they have?
  • Are they skilled in the required languages?
  • Do they have access to resources other than a dictionary for translating dialects and cultural nuances?
  • Do they have the necessary translation equipment?
  • How do they charge? Ask for an estimate.
  • What is the turnaround time for written translations?
  • In case of emergency, can they guarantee a reliable backup translator?
  • Are they willing to travel?
  • Are they willing to take a translation test?
  • Ask for references, and check them.

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