Here are the most common questions we get asked and our answers to them

Everyone in business agrees on the importance of quality control. In the last decade or so, attention has increasingly been focused on this issue by the various quality standards developed by the ISO, BSI and other standards institutions.

For this reason, Zebra Translations Limited decided at an early stage to ensure that its procedures complied with the ISO 9001 Quality Management System Standard and in July 2005 was approved by Lloyds’ Register Quality Assurance to that standard.

How long will my translation take?

This depends largely on the length of the document(s), i.e. the number of words, and language(s) required. An experienced human translator translates approximately 1,500-2,000 words of finalised and polished text per day, per language. For example, translating 30,000 words would take approximately 15 to 17 working days, depending on the language(s) and availability of the translator(s). This would also include Zebra's stringent quality control process to ensure the highest quality. However, if your translation is needed more urgently, in some cases we can split the project between two or more translators in order to meet the timeframe required.

How much will my translation cost?

We like to treat each client as an individual, with individual needs and requirements. So once we've seen your text, we can assess it for technical complexity and style and provide you with the most cost-effective price. If the translation is for internal purposes only, we are able to offer you a lower rate. If it is for publication, however, we strongly recommend that you use our full revision, proofreading and editing services. Prices are based on a rate per thousand words.

Why do minimum jobs cost so much?

Minimum charges are the bane of our clients' lives, so let us try and explain why they cost so much. Active Substance and Product Name translations are a really good example here. Let's say there are about 25 words to be translated and our client needs this translating into the 24 languages of the European Union. We have to e-mail our translators and then hear back from 24 translators as to whether they can help. Once the client agrees the project, the job is booked in and then 24 purchase orders have to be sent to the translators. Twenty-four translations are returned and 24 translations have to be checked by our in-house staff before their return to the client.  After that, we have to process 24 translator invoices and make 24 payments. Then, there is the invoice to the client and archiving of the project. We hope this explanation illustrates that there is just as much administrative work involved in 25 words as in 20,000 words.

Do you use mother-tongue translators?

Yes, we do. In fact we nearly always go one step further and have translations carried out "in-country". By this we mean that if your target audience is French, then the translation will be done in France. A translation from English into Latvian will be sent to Latvia. This method ensures that translators' linguistic skills are fully polished and that they are familiar with local customs, idioms and style. Our aim is for your customers or end-users to be unaware that they are reading a translation.

Do you check the translations?

Absolutely. This is because nobody is infallible and because it's easy for the odd typo, transposition, etc. to occur. In addition, we check for technical correctness and style. We find that it is quite rare for a translation not to need some sort of amendment. As we care about our customers and their reputation, it's vital that this quality procedure is maintained all the time.

Do you offer "information only" translations?

Only with our customers' agreement. There are circumstances where clients might, for instance, just need to get the gist of an email or they may want an article translated just for information purposes. We call this second level of service "info only". Naturally, we still use a mother-tongue translator with subject expertise, but we don't send it to a second translator for proofreading or revision. This service has both time and cost benefits, and means that our customers can reserve some of their budget for their more important projects.

Do you provide Declarations/Certificates?

Yes we do – please just tell us if you need one.

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