GENERAL FAQs

Language services encompass a wide range of offerings, including: translation, interpretation, localization, foreign language voiceover, editing and proofreading, multilingual desktop publishing (DTP), on-site linguist staffing, and much more.

Whether you are working with a foreign partner, trying to expand your business into a different market, have encountered foreign language industry articles pertinent to your research, or are faced with legal requirements to offer language support for your customers, you likely need language services!

PGLS can work with you to develop an effective approach to tackling your foreign language requirements, whether you need a simple document translation or require assistance developing an integrated and holistic localization strategy to take your business to the next level.

There are many translation companies and Language Service Providers (LSPs) available locally and globally. To ensure there is a good fit for your organization and project, here are some questions to ask potential vendors and yourself:

Ask LSP:

  • Do they meet your language combination requirements (e.g. English>Chinese, Spanish>English, etc.)?
  • Do they have experience and expertise in your industry?
  • Do they offer a wide range of services, so you can go to them for other projects in the future?
  • Do they speak your language? Miscommunication in such projects can be very costly.
  • How do they approach Quality Assurance?
  • Do they have the technology necessary to work with your project, or offer any technology solutions to minimize costs and maximize accuracy?
  • Are they flexible in meeting your timeline and budget?
  • Are they accessible across multiple time zones?

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a specific need and need a quick solution, or do you need help guiding you through building a project plan to reach your goals?
  • Do you have the internal resources necessary to manage the translation process?
  • Do you have recurring needs and would benefit from a long-term partnership to ensure continuity of service and better pricing options?
  • Do you prefer a company that understands your industry culture or someone in the location of the language you are looking for?
  • Do you have highly technical content and need someone who is not only versed in a foreign language but also has expertise in your industry?

PGLS has more than a decade of experience, serving the language needs of the government and private industry. We can support more than 200 languages and dialects, and conform to all relevant ISO and ASTM guidelines and requirements for quality control. If you choose PGLS for your language needs, you are guaranteed to receive not only the highest quality language services available, but also the latest in cutting-edge language technology solutions and our team of professional, friendly, and responsive project management staff that will work closely with you every step of the way, providing a personal touch that is hard-to-find in today’s translation and localization industry.

PGLS offers a wide range of language services and solutions that differ in price and purpose. While translation and editing are usually priced per word, interpreting and multilingual desktop publishing (DTP) services are charged on an hourly basis.

PGLS assesses each individual project to determine the most appropriate services and pricing structure, working with the customer’s budget and timeline to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. We provide quotes and initial project consultations free-of-charge.

TRANSLATION & LOCALIZATION FAQs

Translation derives from the Latin word translatio, which means “to carry across.” Translation, therefore, is the process of transferring content from one language to another. Translation refers to written information, while interpretation refers to oral communication. Quality translation aims to convey not only the content of a message, but also its context, including additional elements, such as tone, register, and cultural / regional differences between source and target languages.

PGLS offers translation services in over 200 languages, completed by specialists in numerous industries, delivering accurate, high quality foreign-language content on time and on budget.

Localization (also known as “L10n”) is the process of adapting a website, software, product, or marketing and packaging content so that it is linguistically and culturally appropriate for the country or region where it will be used. Aside from the language and dialect, depending on the particular geographical location or country, there are other elements to consider. Here is a list of some elements to consider when localizing a product or service:

      • Date Format (MM/DD/YY, DD/MM/YY, etc.);
      • Currency;
      • Metrics Conversion;
      • Language Directionality (i.e. left-to-right vs. right-to-left scripts) & Impact on Layout & Design;
      • Colors;
      • Graphics & Multimedia;
      • Keyboard Shortcuts;
      • Fonts;
      • Character Sets & Locale Data;
      • Product Marketing & Packaging; and
      • Legal & Regulatory Requirements.

Localization focuses on the specifics of the target audience, making a globally available product feel local. Talk to one of our localization experts for a free consultation to help you build the right localization strategy for you.

Google Translate can be a useful tool for handling simple, informal translations, such as getting the general gist of an email you receive in a foreign language or text messaging. However, trusting your important business content to Google Translate can backfire in multiple ways. Not only do linguistic, cultural, and contextual nuances often get lost in translation, but you can also unknowingly be revealing proprietary information to a public browser. Liability stakes are high – you can open yourself up to a legal battle as well as alienate potential customers just by saying things that sound awkward to them, confuse genders or mis-translate colloquial expressions.

One can easily tell when Google Translate was used for a translation – it does not flow as coherently and idiomatically as natural language and is often too literal. For fun, paste some foreign language text into Google Translate, translate it to any foreign language, and then copy it and translate it back into English. The results can be quite entertaining and reveal the quality of such translations.

Machine Translation (MT) is automated translation performed by computer software. MT has come a long way over the past decade and is continuing to improve its delivery and accuracy in certain niche industry segments. However, without human involvement and oversight in the process, it still does not make the cut as a professional translation tool.

PGLS ensures that your requirements are met fully – whether your project benefits from MT (assisted by human editors) or requires 100% human translation and editing. PGLS works with our clients to determine the best solution for them, depending on their budget, timeline, project specifications, and subject area.

Translation costs vary depending on language combination and direction (i.e. Spanish>English or English>Spanish), the type of content (technical vs marketing vs business communications, etc.), as well as the scope and timeline of the project. Written translation is typically priced per source (or target) word, so when a quote is developed it is directly based on the number of words to be translated in the source or target language.

Please contact PGLS for a free quote or schedule a free consultation to discuss your translation needs with one of our experts.

When it comes to “Quality,” language services are assessed based on the accuracy of the translation (or interpretation), cultural and idiomatic appropriateness, and timely delivery.

Quality control begins the moment a project is received, and proceeds from the initial intake / analysis (including pricing), through a multi-step process that typically involves translation / editing / proofreading, and all the way through to delivery, project close-out, and invoicing.

PGLS uses only qualified language professionals – those that have necessary and verifiable experience, industry knowledge, certifications, and technical expertise. We ensure that linguist qualifications stated are confirmed through testing and training for any newly hired talent. We take care of our linguists and ensure that we have a solid pool of all the necessary languages and expertise to draw from for any project.

Additionally, we comply with the standards of ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 to ensure that all processes are properly followed and documented, as well as the ASTM F2575-06 Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation.

It is always best to work with content that has been properly prepared for translation. Having a properly prepared digital copy of your source content can help save time and money. Here are a few things to help ensure that your content is ready for translation:

  • Decide on what content needs to be translated – it is not always necessary to translate everything in a document. Perhaps, for example, some key pages from the website or most relevant marketing pieces can be translated to ensure the most impact and to build on the rest of the translation strategy. Since translation is priced per word, it is helpful to ensure that the correct content is presented for translation.
  • Make sure you have the latest, approved, and most comprehensive version of the text to be translated. Having to pull back or stop translation because some changes have been made to the original content can be costly, time consuming, and can increase errors in version control.
  • To help ensure consistency in the translation, any lists of industry-specific terminology, acronyms, or branding concepts are useful to submit along with the content to share with our translators and editors.
  • In what format are your source files? While we can work with most source file formats, scanned PDFs or hard copies can be more costly to translate because we cannot make use of Translation Memory/Computer-Assisted Translation (TM/CAT) tools (Link: Translation Technology) to leverage repetitious content. Therefore, if you are able to obtain digital copies of your content in their original source format, we can usually provide a more cost-effective translation.

At PGLS, we can provide you with a “Pre-Translation Checklist” to help you prepare your materials for the translation process.

Yes, your website can be translated into as many languages and dialects as you prefer. The process of converting a website (or software) into a foreign language is typically referred to as “Localization”. In order to provide you with an accurate quote on your project, it is best to provide us with the original source files (e.g. HTML)  and a completed “Pre-Localization Checklist” where we will ask you to provide specific information regarding your requirements. Being as thorough as possible on the front-end analysis enables us to provide you with a more accurate quote, as well as better manage expectations in terms of the statement of work.

The answer to this question depends on your individual goals. Are you trying to enter a specific foreign market or cater to customers within a particular country? Do you know where your target audience comes from? If you need a Spanish translation, are you targeting an audience in Latin America or in Spain? If you need a Chinese translation, do you need “Simplified” Chinese script or “Traditional” script?

At PGLS, we will assess these topics with you, review your website analytics, and look at your marketing plan to determine the most optimal list of languages to suite your needs. Most of the time, it is not necessary to roll out content into 10 or more languages at once. With the end goal in mind, we can help you determine where best to begin.

Like most projects, the translation timeline depends on the project’s overall scope and budget. The size of the document, or the number of words in the original content, determine the number of hours necessary for translation. The longstanding industry benchmark for translator output has been 2,000 words per day, plus additional time for editing, proofreading, and formatting (if required). This general number can deviate depending on the complexity of the subject matter and how many linguists can be assigned to the project. If dealing with more than one language pair, both budget and translation roll-out strategy can determine the timeline for deliverables.

PGLS will discuss all of the pertinent variables with you when quoting your project and advise on the timeline or present the needed components to meet your internal schedule.

 

We can translate more than 200 languages and dialects, from Afrikaans to Zulu. If you do not see the language you need listed in our list of languages, just ask and we will let you know if we can support your request (usually we can!).

PGLS can provide you with certified translations for all of your legal-related document needs. Certified translations are typically required by government offices, educational institutes, and for certain legal matters in the United States.

A “certified translation” includes a sworn declaration from the translator or translation company affirming that they are competent in both languages and the translation has been completed to the best of their knowledge.

Translators (and/or the language service provider) include their name, signature, and contact information to support the certification, which will be provided to you on official PGLS letterhead. This certification allows the reviewing party to be sure that the information provided in the translated document is accurate.

If you have an urgent document to be translated, we can process your request on an expedited basis. Typically, a rush charge will be assessed on any expedited translations, depending on the size of the document and the time frame needed to complete. Very large volumes of documents that need to be completed in an especially limited time frame also may not be able to go through our complete, multi-step quality control process (we will let you know in advance if that is the case), so it is important to always allow as much time for the translation process as possible to ensure the highest possible quality.

When you request a Chinese translation, you will typically be asked if you need “Simplified” or “Traditional” Chinese. The answer to this question depends on your target audience. If your target audience is located in Mainland China or Singapore, you will likely need “Simplified” Chinese. If your target audience is located in Taiwan or Hong Kong, you will likely need “Traditional” Chinese. Finally, if your target audience is Chinese-speaking communities in the United States, you will need to determine where the majority of the community originated from. If you are unsure, we can help!

Furthermore, “Mandarin” and “Cantonese” refer to spoken dialects of Chinese, not the written forms. While Mandarin or Cantonese would be pertinent for an interpretation assignment, Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese would apply to only written translations.

Generally speaking, you would use “Castilian” Spanish if your target audience is located in Spain, and “Latin American” Spanish for an audience in Central, South or North America. Each Spanish-speaking country has its own nuances and local flavors; however, if you are targeting a broad range of Spanish speakers, we can provide you with a “generic” or “universal” style of Latin American Spanish.

Computer-Assisted Translation/Translation Memory (CAT/TM) is a translation software tool that works as a linguistic database to store source text and capture a human translator’s corresponding translated content as they work. The software saves these “segments” of text, such as sentences, sentence-like units, and paragraphs to be re-used in the future, thus improving the efficiency and consistency of human translators.

Segments of text are typically broken down into “No Match” (or “new” text), “Fuzzy Match” (a partial match between source text and a previous translated segment), and “Repetitions” or “100% Match,” where a translation of an entire segment can be re-used completely, without modification.

This model benefits translators by making them more efficient, and it also helps the client because they will usually not pay full price for repetitive content. These savings can be significant, particularly in highly-repetitive texts, such as websites, technical manuals, and software applications.

It is important to remember that TM/CAT tools do not produce “machine translations,” although some TM/CAT tools do possess controlled Machine Translation (MT) functionality, which is used in conjunction with the TM/CAT tool and human translator / editor (this is known as “Human-Assisted Machine Translation” or HAMT). Therefore, a translation performed using a TM/CAT tool is still a “human translation.”

PGLS employs TM/CAT tools on certain applicable projects, although it cannot be applied to certain types of documents, such as scanned PDFs or hard copies, as the software cannot penetrate those types of files.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about this technology and if it can be applied to your translation project.

INTERPRETATION FAQs

While “translation” and “interpretation” both involve converting from one language into another, they are two entirely distinct services and skill-sets (even though they are frequently confused). The formal ISO (International Standards Organization) defines “interpreting” as: “Rendering a spoken or signed message into another spoken or signed language, preserving the register and meaning of the source language content.” (ISO, 2014, p. 1.) In other words, while “translation” deals with written language, “interpretation” deals with spoken language.

Interpreters must convey the meaning, tone, and intent of the original message into the target language, doing it quickly and carefully. Interpreting is a specialized skill that requires a full command of the working languages and the ability to quickly and accurately transfer messages between those languages. Interpreters are bound by professional ethics and standards of practice so as not to contaminate the message or information entrusted to them, and to convey the message in a neutral, culturally appropriate manner, all in a split second. While translators have the luxury of time to look up particular terms in a dictionary, interpreters do not have that ability, as their work is done in “real-time.” Interpreting can be performed face-to-face and remotely, utilizing technological platforms to facilitate telephonic or video communication.

PGLS clients typically require interpretation services for business meetings, phone calls, court appearances, legal depositions, international conferences, parent-teacher conferences, doctor appointments, social services meetings, and much more. Contact us today and let us help you with your foreign language communication needs!

There are typically three main modes of interpreting: consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation:

  • In Simultaneous Interpreting, the interpreter listens and renders the message into the target language at nearly the same time as the speaker is speaking (simultaneously with the speaker), with little to virtually no pause. This type of interpreting is typically used during speeches, some types of meetings, and conferences with an international audience, as it saves time and helps with communication flow.
  • In Consecutive Interpreting, the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has stopped speaking, with the speaker required to pause briefly after every few sentences to allow the interpreter to interpret. It is useful in witness testimonies, depositions, business calls, medical settings, etc. Consecutive interpreting offers great benefits in small group settings where only one foreign language is involved. It follows a more natural conversation pattern, in which speakers do not get interrupted by the interpreter.
  • Sight Translation is the oral rendition of a written text. Legal contracts, case decisions, meeting briefs, etc. sometimes require quick interpretation, so all parties understand the content being discussed, without time for a formal written translation.

Interpretation services are typically charged per hour (with a minimum of 2-4 hours) or per day, depending on the mode of interpretation (simultaneous, consecutive, etc.), languages involved, subject matter, and anticipated length of the assignment.

Yes, we have a full range of interpretation equipment options, including fully or partially-enclosed booths, portable / wireless transmitters and receivers, as well as equipment technicians who will set up and monitor the equipment during your event to ensure that everything functions properly.

Please note that interpretation equipment is normally used only for simultaneous interpreting assignments, or occasionally for escort interpreting when working with a large mobile group (such as a tour).

  • Globalization refers to the overall process of adapting your business strategy to working within a global market. More specifically in the translation industry, globalization refers to adapting your website or software for global audiences. The term is used when speaking generally about the business, technical, and linguistic activities involved in making this happen.
  • Internationalization refers to preparing a website or software to handle multiple languages and cultural conventions. Properly implemented on the development and programming levels, this ensures a product is not stuck in perpetual redesign to accommodate each market.
  • Localization is the process of adapting a website or software so that it is linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target country or market.

To put it in perspective: As part of your company’s globalization strategy, you would internationalize a website / product before localizing it for a target audience.

These are the abbreviations for globalization (g11n), internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n).

Yes, absolutely! Please send us your resume, and we will get in touch with you if we have a need for your particular language pair. Please keep in mind that our linguists are required to have several years of professional translation and/or interpretation experience, minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a specialized field or linguistics, as well as language certification / accreditation. You will also need to provide translation / interpretation references and perform a short translation test that will be evaluated by one of our senior editors.