A well-written source text: how to write one and why

source 1024x317 A well written source text: how to write one and why

The top 5 things authors can do to ensure their source text is well-written

  1. Be concise – try not to use 30 words if you can say the same thing in 15.
  2. Keep it simple – even if you are writing about something very complicated or technical, always try to explain it as simply as possible.
  3. Write clearly – having a clear intention, thoughts and ideas makes it easier for a translator to convey your ideas, especially if they are somewhat abstract.
  4. Don’t use idioms or jokes (especially country-specific ones). Idioms are often hard to translate – as are jokes – and don’t always have a literal equivalent in another language, so try to avoid them if you know your text is going to be translated.
  5. Avoid synonyms – being consistent in the choice of words you use makes it far easier for the translator to know what you are trying to say and produce an unambiguous translation that faithfully represents your source text.

Don’t create a barrier to understanding with a sloppy source text

A real bugbear for many translators is being asked to translate a source text that has been poorly written. It is a constant cause of frustration in the profession and as a translation professor I know once wisely said, “To translate, first you have to understand”. A poorly-written original text is a barrier to understanding, which is why it makes the job of translating harder than it needs to be.

So, what makes a text poorly written? Well, there can be many reasons, here are a few common ones:

  • Written by a non-native speaker
  • Laziness on the part of the author
  • Grammar errors, typos
  • Clear thinking but poor writing skills
  • Fuzzy thinking but good writing skills

Main problems facing translators presented with a poorly-written source text

A poorly-written source text creates several problems. If the thinking in the source text is unclear, the ambiguity can be transferred to the translation, causing issues for the target reader/audience. Another problem is that the source text can be misinterpreted by the translator, which results in a mistranslation and a quality complaint.

The translation process will also be more time-consuming for a translator trying to decipher the meaning of a source text. Finally, poorly-written source texts also often involve a long stream of emails as the translator will keep having to ask the client for clarifications.

Main problems facing languages service providers (LSPs) when presented with a poorly-written source text

A good translator will always examine a source text before accepting the job and is more likely to refuse a source text that has been badly written by the original author, which means less-experienced or talented translators will accept the job and deliver a translation of poorer quality. Read what one Turkish translator wrote about his frustrations on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/impact-poorly-written-source-text-translation-yildirim-mcil-cl-miti/.

Some companies will ask non-native speakers who are experts in their field, science, for example, to write texts and then ask an LSP to find a translator to proofread them. This is a low-cost solution and never the best approach to achieving a good translation (see https://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tpv2guides/guides/favart/index-eng.html?lang=eng&lettr=indx_titls&page=95D0QuFqwMUE.html for a more in-depth analysis of what constitutes a poorly-written source text published by TERMIUM Plus®, the Government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic data bank).

Comparison of the translation process of poorly-written vs well-written source texts

Poorly-written source textsWell-written source texts
Low-quality translationGood quality translation
Ambiguities transferredClarity of thought
Email trail seeking clarificationsFaster lead time
More time needed for editingLess time required for editing
More costly overallLess expensive

So next time you need a translation, make sure that the source text is well-written for an optimal outcome.

Machine Translation Post Editing MTPE

machine translation 1024x682 Machine Translation Post Editing MTPE

What is post-editing of machine translations?

Machine translation post-editing or MTPE is a process where a human translator reviews and edits the translation done by a machine to improve its quality to an agreed level. The human translator checks and corrects grammar, sentence structure, context and tone.

Post-editing is different from regular editing because it specifically refers to the editing of machine translated content. Editing, on the other hand, refers to fixing errors in human-translated content.

Machine translation produces a very basic output that in most cases is unsuitable for any serious use, and so needs some human input to produce a readable, usable, and understandable text.

What types of text are suitable for machine translations?

Good candidates for machine translation are texts that don’t require much creativity. Machine translation tools are generally better with short and simple sentences like technical instruction manuals or getting the general idea of what your overseas friend posted on their Facebook page. This is to be expected since computers are better than people at repetitive tasks, while humans are superior in their creative skills. This is why machine translation is not recommended for marketing texts or advertisements etc. Creativity is an inherent human quality.

What are the benefits of machine translation post-editing?

It’s quicker and cheaper. Normally, time is spent on both translation and editing. Now only editing time is needed.

The price of MTPE is 40-60% less than the rate for traditional translation, editing and proofreading. Depending on your quality demands, target audience, and style, we can offer light or full post-editing, each affecting the process duration and the final product price.

Light post-editing is done to make the content more understandable by correcting grammar and spelling mistakes if they affect the meaning. It includes:

  • Rewriting confusing sentences partially or completely.
  • Fixing machine produced mistakes, and deleting unnecessary or extra translation alternatives generated by the engine.

Full post-editing is a more complex form of editing where the machine-translated content is edited not only to make it more understandable but to ensure it is stylistically accurate and industry-appropriate.

Full post-editing tasks include all of the light post-editing tasks plus:

  • Checking terminology against approved terminological resources to make sure it is consistent and appropriate.
  • Cross-referencing translations against other resources.
  • Making syntactic modifications in accordance with practices for the target language.
  • Producing stylistically consistent, fluent content.
  • Applying correct formatting and tagging, and
  • Correcting all grammatical errors, typos, punctuation issues and spelling mistakes.

Full post-edited content should be as fluent as human translation. Therefore, content must meet the quality criteria defined by the client for human translations.

If you are interested in machine translation post-editing, contact us to discuss the levels of quality that can be achieved by post-editing and the best-fit process for your needs.

5 Good Reasons to Translate Your Website

shutterstock 421520215 edited 5 Good Reasons to Translate Your Website

The great thing about the Internet is people from all over the world can access it, and it makes it easier than ever before to do business globally. However, as there is no single universal language in use that can reach all markets it means there are some markets you’re not reaching with a single language website.

Want to learn more? Read on for 5 good reasons to translate your website.

  1. More Languages Mean More Customers

If you are a UK-based business 90% of internet users are located outside the UK, and most of them don’t speak English well enough to fully understand the content of your offer and be persuaded by it. In fact there are many people living in the UK itself who are also not proficient in English.

ecommerce website edited 2 5 Good Reasons to Translate Your Website

Customers are easier to reach and persuade when you speak to them in their own language. Even if they speak English as a second language, they may feel more comfortable shopping or finding useful information in their own language. For this reason, offering your website pages in other languages will increase your reach. In fact, you could be increasing your audience by millions!

The same is true for any business anywhere in the world. Your local customers are just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. When you decide to translate your website, you are stepping into their world and looking to grow your business beyond your borders.

2. You Are Easier To Find When You Translate Your Website

Have you already invested in digital marketing efforts like SEO? Then you know it is extremely important to make your website easy to find via search engines. Consider, web searches are made in many different languages and it’s a lot easier to rank high in those search results when your site has a native-language version for Google to index.

For example. Suppose someone in Germany (a big German company) is looking for a website translation. What they will ask Uncle Google isn’t “website translate” nor “translation agency”. They will be looking for these terms in German. And if they search for “Übersetzungsbüro“, you will not show up in search results unless your website is localised into German.

3. International Customer Engagement

Online marketing gives you an incredible opportunity to engage with your customers to learn what impact your products and services are making. Likewise a multilingual website will enable you to tap into this valuable source of information as well.

4. Continued Growth

shutterstock 477860848 edited 5 Good Reasons to Translate Your Website

Inevitably you will eventually saturate the market for potential customers who speak your native language. Going multilingual is an effective way to pursue further growth without engaging in head-to-head competition. The first stage is planning the target markets and what is needed in terms of what language(s) to translate first. If on the other hand you are not opposed to competing directly with other businesses in your industry you can get ahead of your competition if you translate your site and enter a new language market before they do.

5. Brand Recognition Does NOT Cross Language Barriers

According to Harvard Business Review, customers will pay a premium to work with businesses who speak their native language.

  • 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language.
  • 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
  • 56.2% of consumers said the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

Unless you’re speaking to customers in their own language, it’s extremely difficult to cultivate the trust that is the foundation of a positive brand relationship. You need to literally translate your brand to make vital inroads into new markets.

Now you know why you should have your website localised for other markets, there is one VERY IMPORTANT thing to remember: it is not enough to simply have your website translated into the language of your desired market – it should be localised by a reputable translation agency. The following case study explains why:

“I was once approached by a Lithuanian company which wanted to sell their beautiful jewellery in Poland. They already had all the content of their online shop translated into Polish and the person who performed this service was a native speaker of Polish. However, business didn’t go well. They had visitors on their website but no sales at all. So they asked me for an audit. Here’s what I discovered: the translator might have been a native speaker of Polish, but a very poor one. I guessed this person was living in Lithuania (there is a big minority of Polish people there because once this territory was Polish and some of my compatriots stayed there, and they speak archaic Polish) who had no idea about specific terms used by Polish people in Poland for online shopping. So the language of the company’s online shop was archaic, unnatural, and there were a lot of errors. I retranslated their website and sales started to come in. In addition to payment I received a very nice thank-you gift – a pair of earrings”. ~Monika Rozwarzewska, Language Service Manager at From-To Limited.

We can translate/localise your website into the language of your choice to help you maximise your audience and avoid additional costs. To find out more and how the process works, reach out to us!

Translation industry grows rapidly

Translation industry grows rapidly

We live in a world where technology is bringing millions of people from different countries, backgrounds and cultures ever closer together – to teach, to learn, to socialise and to do business, all through the World Wide Web. Communication technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in the last decade – everything from smartphones to new social media channels giving us more speed, more choice, and more convenient ways of talking to each other. And we’re talking to more people in more places and using more diverse languages than ever before. Which means that we’re using professional translation services more than ever.

Little wonder then that translators are enjoying a booming career. In Careerbuilder’s latest report on hot industries for job growth between 2014 and 2019, the number of jobs in the translation and interpreting services industry is predicted to grow by 36%, making it the fastest growing jobs market in America.

If you speak another language, you might want to consider becoming a translator or interpreter. Many companies in the US and the UK are looking to expand into new markets abroad, which is fuelling the increase in translation and interpreting jobs. Translators enjoy a comfortable income, depending on experience, and are often able to work from home, fitting their career around children or other commitments. Projects are varied, often exciting, and bring a sense of fulfilment. And you can work towards accreditation from an association such as the Institute of Translators and Interpreters to give you the necessary skills to turn your second language into a job – and to demonstrate your expertise to your clientele.

document translation services Translation industry grows rapidly

It is generally acknowledged that those who choose a career in translation after having worked in other roles can offer even more value to the industry. Their previous experience is invaluable. A trained marketer who is also a translator intuitively understands about conveying brand values, for example, and someone with an automotive background will be conversant with the relevant technological terminology.

The translation services industry is mainly served by agencies with the capability to produce high-volume, high-quality output in a consistent and timely manner. Access to company CAT tools, into which client glossaries and translation memories can be built, helps individual translators to maintain a particular style, vocabulary and tone of voice. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C translation services buyer, this gives you the security that your brand will be represented accurately to your target audience.

Most translators are freelancers, working from home. The salary is wide-ranging, depending on both language and experience. Competition is highest amongst more widely spoken languages, such as French and Spanish, and remuneration will be lower than what a native English speaker of Japanese is likely to be able to achieve. Having said this, a full time translator can expect to earn in excess of $40,000 per annum and six-figure sums are readily achievable in the industry!

Why businesses should not rely on Google Translate or Yahoo’s Babelfish.

why not use google translate 1024x683 Why businesses should not rely on Google Translate or Yahoo’s Babelfish.

With the global business environment responding to economic and political shifts around the world, many companies are looking to either cut costs or at least curb their spending. Often, bought-in services such as consultants, IT and professional translation are some of the first to go. However, the true cost of scrapping such services is often hidden.

If you are tempted to use free translation tools you could end up paying dearly for your decision since Google Translate was not developed to serve business. It is useful for travellers to translate road signs, menus, and for fun or leisure activities, but it is not intended for businesses, especially if their objective is international growth.

Google Translate learns from translated documents on the web to provide the best match for the text you want to translate.  And despite the launch of Google Neural Machine Translation in 2016, it still cannot replace professional translation services. This is because machine translations copy the syntax of the source language, resulting in completely nonsense sentences and errors that language professionals do not make. It may add extra nonsense words, or rearrange words in unusual or non-human ways.

Poor quality translation of documents like instruction manuals can lead to the need to reprint corrected versions. Poorly translated health and safety guidelines and warnings increase the potential for legal action. Both of these factors have the potential to cause reputational damage to the brand in question, and both can result in key staff wasting time dealing with the issues that arise, which costs the business still more money.

The hidden costs of poor quality translation can swiftly mount up. Businesses that operate over international borders and which are looking to save money would do well to think twice before making cuts to their translation service!

Involving a translation company in your international marketing venture from the beginning can make a significant difference to your chance of success. Whether you are researching local customs, looking for information on preferred marketing techniques in your target market or presenting information about your product, having someone on hand who speaks the language fluently is a key part of the process. 

A good translator who can handle everything from marketing information to website translation services can quickly become an invaluable part of your international marketing strategy.

Ultimately free translation is no match for professional translation services. Google translate can have a undesirable impact on the image and brand identity of any business striving to market its name and products on the international market.

Machine translation should never be used for content with personal data or other sensitive information. Information becomes the property of Google the minute it is uploaded which could breach European data protection regulations and/or confidentiality agreements you have established with your clients.

In conclusion, it is not recommended to use machine translators like Google Translate or Yahoo’s Babelfish for professional purposes because of the high level of inaccuracies in their translations.

The ATC Guide to Buying Translation Services helps you make the most of your partnership with an ATC Member.

Factors Affecting Translation Cost

price of translation Factors Affecting Translation Cost

Ever wonder what factors affect the cost of translation?

Translation costs are normally worked out on a price-per-word basis, and most translators and translation companies work to industry standard rates.

Other factors include: language combination, experience of the translator, subject matter, and formatting of the document.


The size of the project impacts the cost. Cost is typically calculated on a per word basis because it is a straight-forward way to approximate the overall size of the project.

Language combination

Some languages cost more than others to translate. For example translating from English to Japanese costs more than English to Spanish. This is because the more widely spoken and understood the language the more translators are available and the more competitive the rates. For less common languages translators can be harder to find and consequently translators charge higher rates.

English often serves as an intermediate, or inter-language, between less commonly translated languages, adding an extra layer of translation (and cost) to a project. Suppose you need to find a translator who can translate between Icelandic and Hindi. To manage this type of request, most Language Service Providers (LSPs) will find a translator who can translate Icelandic into English and then a second translator to translate English into Hindi.

Experience of the translator

More than any other factor, the skill and experience level your content requires will determine rate. Translating highly technical content can be uniquely challenging and require vocabulary specifically related to the subject matter. Expect to budget more for translation of specialised (legal, technical etc.) content.


Need that translation as soon as possible? It will cost you! The mark-up for express and overnight translation can be between 50-100% more.

Subject matter

Translation projects can vary enormously in complexity and therefore sometimes requires additional services beyond translation itself. Some LSPs include additional services in the base price, while others break them out as separate line items. These kinds of services can include, but are not limited to:

Project management

  • Glossary and style guide preparation
  • Project planning
  • File preparation
  • Content familiarization

Quality assurance

Quality evaluation

Desktop publishing (DTP)

Software engineering and testing



Buyers measure quality differently. A ‘high quality’ translation will mean something different for a pharmaceutical manufacturer than it will for a company looking to translate marketing material. In general, ‘high quality’ means avoiding errors. To reduce errors, most translators edit and proofread their own translations. Proofreading can also be done by third-party peers, senior-level editors, and customer reviewers.

At the end of the day, you have to put translation cost in perspective. Sloppy translations can be funny but can damage a business’ reputation. The consequences can be more serious than just causing amusement, as the quality of your products and services are called into question. A sloppy translation will leave your customer with the impression you lack professionalism. They may think you are taking on work beyond your capabilities.

What factors are important to you when you engage with a translation service provider?

How to check the quality of your translation

A good translation effectively communicates the same ideas that were written in the original language into another language, conveying the original tone and intent of a message, while taking into account cultural and regional differences. If a translator cannot translate the message accurately, the reader will have difficulty in understanding the message.

translation How to check the quality of your translation

A translation should read as though it was written in the target language. A good translation should NOT add information to the source content or modify the style, tone, or meaning of the original in any way. An exception applies when dealing with marketing and advertising content where web copy, advertising, and creative concepts do not always translate directly from one culture to another.

For professional purposes, translations should always be proofread by native speakers, and there is no real alternative to this method. Costly translation errors can ruin the plans of businesses looking to expand into international markets. What may seem like a harmless mistake on product packaging can lead to a serious public relations disaster such as widespread ridicule or much worse – causing offence and outrage. In 2009, HSBC bank had to launch a $10 million rebranding campaign to repair the damage done when its catchphrase “Assume Nothing” was mistranslated as “Do Nothing” in various countries.

Look at their client testimonals to see what others say about them. If necessary call the client who gave the testimonial for direct feedback.

What are the company’s credentials? Are they a member of any professional associations? Are they ISO 17100 certified, the standard for translation companies? Certification means the translator cannot be the person who finally checks the translation (the editor) and the final proofreader must also be a different person to the editor and translator.

Ask the Language Service Provider for a test translation. If the text translation is poor this should be a warning.

Back translation is a procedure where a translator interprets or re-translates a document that was previously translated into another language, back to the original language. It is usually carried out by a translator who was not involved in the original translation into the target language. This person should have no prior knowledge of the objectives or its specific context, therefore a back translation will never be 100% exactly the same as the original source text. It is a quality assessment tool that can be used both by clients and translation companies.

In-house checks compare the source and target files to catch omissions, wrong numbers, and badly localised content. Most computer aided translation (CAT) tools like XBench are good at detecting untranslated segments, source same as target, and even missing or wrong numbers.

The hidden costs of poor quality translation can swiftly mount up. Businesses that operate over international borders and which are looking to save money should think twice before making cuts to their translation service.

Involving a translation company in your international marketing venture from the outset can make a significant difference to your chance of success. Whether you are researching local customs, looking for information on preferred marketing techniques in your target market or presenting information about your product, having someone on hand who speaks the language fluently is a key part of the process. A good translation company who can handle everything from marketing information to website translation services can quickly become an invaluable part of your international marketing strategy.

From-To Offer Translation Services for Various Industries with Fast Turnaround Times: GoodFirms

goodfirms 1024x683 From To Offer Translation Services for Various Industries with Fast Turnaround Times: GoodFirms

Globalisation has opened new opportunities for businesses around the world. The most important part of any business is to have successful communications with their customers. Sometimes, cultural differences can create misapprehension among customers about the product. Thus, there is a requirement of a translation company to strengthen customer relationships.

Head Note About From-To

From-To is a translation company located in the United Kingdom with an office in Poland. Dating back from 1998. The From-To team are professionals who apply extensive experience and expertise to their work. The ‘From-To’ team is focused on delivering result-oriented work. In an extremely short span of time, a project to translate, typeset, and print 60 books into different languages was carried out. The knowledgeable team cracked languages such as Albanian, Lithuanian, Hebrew and, particularly, Tok Pisin. The company offers translation services in all of the world’s languages. Since it is an accredited organisation it can render an official document translation.

About GoodFirms Research Methodology

GoodFirms is a B2B online portal aiding seekers to find a reliable translation company. The criteria for listing companies are based on Quality, Reliability, and Ability. After the firms have been evaluated, they are ranked based on their Research Score.

Similarly, GoodFirms evaluated From-To based on the above mentioned 3 crucial criteria. In the whole examination, it was clear that this firm has been doing meritorious work in the translation field. The detailed description of the company is mentioned below:

Translation Services

A good translator not only is an expert in a language but also has in-depth knowledge of a particular field. Being familiar with different languages and extensive subject-matter experience the process of translation becomes easy. Companies providing translation services require such expert and knowledgeable professionals. The From-To team has a team of trained linguists. The firm works with the technical supervision of experts to provide the best services.

The firm is well-versed with the need for translation services in today’s extremely competitive market. Having vast knowledge of jargon specialisation in demanding areas of the creative field, the company is setting a benchmark for its competitors. Each translation work at this firm has to pass through two stages, i.e., translation and technical supervision; each of which is assigned to separate professionals. The company holds a prestigious position in the list of best translation services companies at GoodFirms due to its in-depth knowledge and fast turnaround time.

Legal Translation Services

Words play an important role in the legal field. Legal translation has to be done attentively in order to ensure the correct information is passed over. A narration of a legal document requires a professional with sound knowledge of words and expressions so that the readers can know the meaning of those words in a simplified manner. The words could give readers meaning behind the context. A single mistranslation in the legal document can lead to a disaster. A good translator is the one who understands the thin line between translation and interpretation.

Instilled with good subject-matter, the professionals of From-To find the hidden subtext within words and sentences.

The learned team of the firm is fulfilling the requirements of translating within the criminal and civil system. The quick and accurate work of this firm is why they have been ranked among the leading names in the legal translation services providers at GoodFirms.

Technical translation

From-To is a firm that possesses great knowledge for technical translation as they are specialised in serving various industries like power engineering, electrics, electronics, constructions, and many more depending on the type of projects. It may be difficult for a layman to understand the technical details; thus comes a requirement of a translation company that provides efficient technical translation services. Communication is considered effective when the subject matter is understood by everyone the same way it is written. The team of From-To promises effective translation in different industries that can certainly help viewers with better understanding.

Visionary in the services they offer, the team uses proper terminology and jargon while translating for technical industries making the content easier for customers to understand. Priding themselves on professionalism this company works with unsurpassed potential. Moreover, a team combined with business and translation skills offers assured quality services with guaranteed professionalism. The firm in short duration is expected to rank among the best technical translation services providers at GoodFirms.

About GoodFirms

Washington, D.C. based GoodFirms is a maverick B2B Research and Reviews Company that helps in finding Translation Services firms rendering the best services to its customers. GoodFirms’ extensive research process ranks the companies, boosts their online reputation and helps service seekers pick the right technology partner that meets their business needs.

About the Author

Anna Stark is presently working as a Content Writer with GoodFirms – Washington D.C. based B2B Research Company, which bridges the gap between service seekers and service providers. Anna’s current role lingers to shape every company’s performance and key attributes into words. She firmly believes in the magic of words and equips new strategies that work, always in with ideas, something new to carve, and something original to decorate the firm’s identity.

image From To Offer Translation Services for Various Industries with Fast Turnaround Times: GoodFirms

From to LTD Receives 5 Star Review

As the global economy continues to grow, one thing is certain: companies need translation services now more than ever.  

Whether your company is a large, bustling enterprise with thousands of locations worldwide and you need to support your staff, or you’re a smaller local company that interacts directly with customers, reliable communication can be the key to your success. 

Our team has established a system that guarantees high quality translations that don’t leave anything up for misinterpretation. And now, you don’t have to take our word for it. 

We’ve recently received a Five Star review on Clutch! A B2B ratings and reviews site, Clutch.co helps companies find high performing partners, and vendors, like us, can find buyers for our services. 

image From to LTD Receives 5 Star Review

With two decades of translation experience under our belt, we’re confident that our transcription services are accurate every time. We verify and document each of our translators to ensure that they’re native speakers and subject-matter professionals.  

After each translation, the text is proofread by another professional. Using IT tools, we can consistently meet client preferences in terminology and expressions.  

In the project that is highlighted on our Clutch profile, we helped translate education videos, brochures, and lengthy catalogs for a medical device supplier. Our partners simply send us the materials and we get back to them by the deadline.  

Like all of our projects, the feedback from our client was overwhelmingly positive. By going the extra mile and providing QA for each and every document we translate, we ensure that they can trust our work to be right. Compared to some of our competitors, we stand out as a reliable resource:  

“In a lot of my experiences in previous years where I always had to correct most of the translation. This has been the first agency where I didn’t have to make any corrections to their work.” 

You’re able to find more information about how we stack up to others in our field by visiting Clutch’s sister sites—The Manifest and Visual Objects. Whether you’re looking for a company description site, like The Manifest, or want to make your business decision on market research, their resources are a valuable guide to finding verified, well performing partners.  

Like us, Clutch, The Manifest, and Visual Objects, want to ensure that you get what you need out of your business relationships. We think you’ll find the best solution with us. To discuss your business needs, contact us. You can find our information here.