Here you will find clear and simple answers to anything you may be wondering about translation

If you have not found the answer to your questions,
do not hesitate to ask us. We are here to help!

What makes a good translation?

We know that translation is not your job and you want to be sure you are getting the quality you are paying for. But how can you assess the quality? How can you check it?

Some would say that understanding the text being translated should be objective and that reformulating it is inevitably subjective. Language is inherently subjective, and translators, like authors, write with some subjectivity. You have certainly often read something and thought, ‘Hey, I wouldn’t have put it like that.’ By their very nature, languages do not just differ in their vocabulary (in which case, you could just replace one word with another), but above all, in the way they express an idea. Every translation is ultimately an adaptation, with varying degrees of success. It is a bit like adapting a novel into a film; its success is purely subjective. But let’s get back to the issue of assessing the accuracy of a translation. Translations, which are inherently subjective as we have said, must be calibrated for assessment purposes. To provide a framework for professional translations, objective criteria are divided into three categories:
  • Compliance with the rules of the language: spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc.
  • Semantic accuracy: errors in meaning, omissions, or additions, suitability and consistent use of terminology, etc.
  • Linguistic precision: overtranslation and undertranslation, unacceptable additions, etc.
Version internationale applies a precise assessment grid to every translation that you entrust to us. Besides these criteria, we can confirm that a translation is good if the reader can clearly detect the following when reading the translated text:

Precision and consistency

The chosen terms are the terms used in your line of business. The same term for the same concept is always translated in the same way throughout the document to make it easier to read and understand. If the text has been split between several translators to meet your delivery requirements, terminology and syntax should be made consistent.

Flow and simplicity

The text is easy to understand and pleasant to read. There should be no structural calques that make it obvious that it has been translated.

Attention to detail

Nuances, abbreviations, punctuation, layout, etc. All these elements play an important role in the accuracy and readability of the target text that we deliver to you. To conclude, a well-translated text should simply give the impression of having been originally written in the target language. Nothing should seem odd. The reader should never have to read a sentence again to understand it.

What do you base the quote on?

Let us know what language(s) you need us to translate into and if you have any specific constraints, and most importantly, send us your documents

Why do we need to see your documents to prepare a quote?

Quite simply because the number of pages does not tell us the amount of information to translate and therefore the work that needs to be done. Obviously, the workload for a page containing a technical diagram could be twice as high as the workload for a cover page. In addition, the font size and column layout, for example, have a direct impact on the amount of text on an A4 page.

Translation takes time. Being able to analyse the text makes it possible to assess how complex the work will be.

You should not commit to a rough estimate. Yes, it’s quick, but it could be subject to an increase afterwards. You need a custom quote. That’s why our quotes are specific and precise.

Why is each quote different?

We must take into account many factors, such as the purpose of the document (internal use or high visibility), particular terminology, style, text in tables, and any acronyms and abbreviations. It is also part of our duty as consultants to let you know if we detect any particular features, such as text embedded in images, whether they are vectorised or not, unreadable text, layout problems, or printing and display constraints. You need tailored advice.

File formats: a key part of the estimate

We support virtually all file formats used in office software suites, prepress/DTP/CAD, and software and web development.

It is best to send us the files in the original format (the format that was used to save it in another format). We recommend avoiding sending us PDF files which, by nature, are not suitable for analysing the work that needs to be done. Of course, if the only version you have is a PDF, we can work from this file exchange format, but this usually involves a layout fee.

Please note that generally, files containing various sources, particularly images with embedded text that don’t come with a source file, require extraction and layout work.

The file types we translate include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign, HTML, rtf, xliff, xml, FrameMaker (.fm, .mif), Visio, dwg, PageMaker, QuarkXPress, OpenOffice, QuickSilver, SDL Edit, SDL xliff, sgml, dll, exe, rc, Trados Stag, WorldServer, whtml, resx, dita and po.

Some of these formats are now obsolete, but we continue to handle them for businesses that still use or keep them, so they don’t lose important content.

> Our services

What does price per word mean in translation?

The translation industry uses source words as the calculation unit, meaning the number of words in the text that you need to have translated. But what does price per word actually mean?

First of all, you have to add up the time required for each stage in the translation process to produce a high-quality text: the translation stage, editing stage (a bilingual check of the translation’s accuracy followed by improvements) and, depending on the level of service, the proofreading stage (a final monolingual check of the target text). The different levels of editing and proofreading to improve the translation and the number of finishing touches to your document have a direct impact on the cost. The applied hourly rate reflects the level of expertise or rarity of the linguist. Certain language combinations or specialities have a higher hourly rate due to the shortage of linguists or a greater level of complexity, which requires more work. A medical translation, for example, is more expensive than a general translation and will be even more expensive from Japanese to German than from English to French. Finally, remember that other services, such as layout work or adapting very specific file types, may accrue extra costs in addition to the cost of the translation itself. If you think that translation is an expensive service, bear in mind that the going hourly rate in the industry is by far among the lowest of the intellectual professions.

How much will my translation cost?

People often ask us, ‘What are your rates?’ This question is a bit like asking a dealer about the price of a blue car. We all know that the price of a blue car depends on its size, the model, its features, etc.

It’s the same thing for translation. That’s why we send you a customised translation quote, taking into account the word count to be translated, the type of text and file, the language pair, the desired final quality and deadlines, etc. Our prices include project management and standard engineering costs. They guarantee all our customers an excellent return on investment thanks to an exceptional value for money.

How long will my translation take?

To give you a rough idea, a skilled translator can translate between 2,000 and 2,500 words a day, which is equivalent to 10 full pages a day

So, it might seem easy to work out. However, it is also important to take into account the time spent on editing and proofreading, as well as any steps involved in reworking the layout. Preparing a formal quote is the only way for you to know what to expect.

For internal or commercial reasons, you need a translation as soon as possible.

Quality and urgency don’t marry well. However, at Version internationale, we offer to handle your urgent translations with the greatest possible care. We often have linguists who are available immediately, but we can also split the document between several translators or use machine translation. To some extent, we can also give priority to your translation by adapting our teams’ schedules.

Our express translation service includes a simple translation (without editing) carried out by the linguists available at the time.

While we do everything we can to minimise the impact of the compromises required by urgent projects, nothing beats a job that is not rushed and enables us to truly commit to the best possible result. This avoids having to use available translators with less suitable expertise, inconsistencies left in documents translated by several people or somewhat clunky texts that have been edited after machine translation.

Our advice

If you have strict time constraintscontact us in advance so that we can plan the best way to meet your needs. If you know that you are going to need a translation at very short notice, please let us know as soon as possible, and we will make sure one or more translators reserve time on the agreed date.

Finally, bear in mind that this issue applies to all translation companies. So, always ask about how the translation will be carried out in so little time. An informed client is a forearmed client€ !

Will I really have my file on the agreed day?

Version internationale believes that respecting the delivery date is part of the quality of service. We do everything in our power to meet the agreed deadline. We know that we are part of a chain that you have to manage on your end and that a punctual delivery is paramount

Your translated texts are often an important step in your strategy. Whether they are helping you to enter a foreign market or they play a pivotal role in your communications, your momentum must not be stalled by the linguistic side of your projects.

To this end, our project managers monitor their files very closely. They carry out regular checks to ensure that the translation is progressing according to the plan made at the start. They take corrective action if necessary. In the very unlikely event that there will be a small delay, they will warn you in advance to avoid any frustration.

We only commit to deadlines we know we can meet. From the first time we speak to you, we address the issue of the delivery date. We are almost always able to meet your requirements. In the rare event that we think we will not be able to deliver high-quality work within your tight deadline, we will talk with you to decide whether we should prioritise the delivery date or the quality.

In any case, we will help you meet your goals.

For reference, our delivery reliability rate is 99.8%, as confirmed by the ISO 17100 certification.

Who are the translation service providers in the market and which one should I go with?

You can choose between hundreds of companies that appear to offer similar services, but in reality they are quite different. There are many different players on the market. You have multinational translation companies that outsource to small teams, alongside translation agencies and companies, and finally freelance translators, who sometimes even work in groups. These options cover different situations and meet distinct needs. Who are these service providers? Which solution is the most suitable for you?

Here is some food for thought to help you answer these questions:

A multinational translation company

The facts: This is the solution usually used by the purchasing departments of large global groups who consider the size of the partner to be a key factor. Having a large number of agencies positioned all over the world ensures optimal market coverage even if the production centres are located on one or two sites. These companies specialise in very large projects (e.g. four million words translated into 53 languages) and outsource their work to other players. They handle all the project management, the selection of resources, file preparation, file provision and workflow management. Questions to consider:
  • Are you a NYSE, NASDAQ, CAC 40 or FAAMG?
  • For less complex projects, will bypassing these translation ‘wholesalers’ save you money?
  • If you don’t make up a significant portion of their portfolio, will the customer service live up to your expectations?
  • Do you need to invest in such a comprehensive solution? Do you have the budget? And can you dedicate one or more people to manage the relationship with a group like that?

A freelance translator

The facts: They are part of your personal network and give a feeling of proximity, ‘direct from producer to consumer’. Questions to consider:
  • Can a single, external and skilled linguist carry out quality assurance on their own translation?
  • Is their quote truly competitive with regard to the service provided?
  • Will a freelance translator be able to absorb increased volumes when you need it? (As a reminder, a translator can translate 2,000 to 2,500 words per day.)
  • What will happen when they are on holiday or suddenly need time off work?
  • How do they ensure that they are keeping up to date with technology and how can they help you benefit from the latest advances?
  • Does their professional insurance protect you from any risk?
 

A translation platform

The facts:  It automatically distributes the translatable files to freelance translators. It has a network of many freelancers: choice, availability and variable prices. Questions to consider:
    • Who is monitoring my project and who is involved in it? What guarantee do I ultimately have?
    • Who analyses the project? What technology is being used?
    • If and when they complete the initial selection process, how do they ensure continuous monitoring?
    • Who translates? Professional translators? Students to make ends meet at the end of the month, interns without educational support, professionals (engineers, technicians, etc.) who are retraining?
    • How do you know that priority is not always given to the lowest bidder?
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A translation company or agency

 The facts: There are a myriad of translation companies, which fill the space between wholesalers and freelancers. They have difference prices, yet their quotes seem almost identical. How do they differentiate themselves? Questions to consider:
    • The structure: is it a translation company or agency? Do they offer in-house linguists, technical support and robust management or is it a temporary agency for translators? Agencies play an intermediary role, but translation companies are particularly well suited to manage large volumes or complex projects from start to finish.
    • What type of translation service are they offering you? A simple translation or translation with editing and/or proofreading?
    • What guarantees does it offer (dealing with dissatisfaction, insurance, processes for making corrections, etc.)?
    • Finally, what quality of service will you get (main point of contact, responsiveness, quality of the relationship, availability, advice, etc.)?
 Based on our own experience, since 1990, companies of varying sizes have come to us with equally varied issues and challenges. But their main motivations were always the same: they were looking for quality and responsiveness, and wanted to have specific points of contact, be able to find suitable solutions and establish a long-lasting business relationship. Thanks to our ability to meet these prerequisites, with the same determination and the same care whatever the company, we are trusted by companies of all sizes, ranging from one of the FAAMG that directly entrusts us with the localisation of their content into French, to a number of French SMBs who entrust us with the multilingual translation of their strategic content.

I have several quotes. Which translation provider should I choose?

You think that translation is a risk: it represents the unknown, because up until the moment it is delivered, you do not know what you are going to receive. This is all the more the case when you are translating into a language you do not understand: how can you be sure that the result will be up to standard?

Under these circumstances, you may be tempted to make a choice based on the price, for lack of other selection criteria.

And why not?

But that would be too simple. And as this popular piece of wisdom puts it, ‘I am not rich enough to buy cheap things.’ So, we would like to share some other criteria that you can base your assessment on. To make an informed choice, it is essential to be able to pit the offers you have been given against each other. First, compare apples to apples. In other words, apply the principle of ‘all other things being equal’. 

Production cycle

What is the translation process? How many stages are included in the quoted price? Is editing (correction by a second translator) included? Is there a final proofreading stage of the target text?

Translator qualifications 

What do you know about the linguists who will work on the translation? Are they experienced or junior professional translators, or are they interns? Do the translators specialise in your field? Are they native speakers?

Insurance 

What type of guarantee does the service provider offer you? Has the company taken out professional indemnity insurance to cover errors and the financial or legal consequences of any problem with the translation?

See our article Advice from a good buyer.

How do you deal with repetitions?

Often, clients tell us that they don’t want to ‘pay for words that have already been translated’. So, now is a good opportunity for us to take stock of ‘CAT tools’ (Computer-Assisted Translation), which enable you to reuse existing content

These tools, which emerged in the 90s and have now reached maturity, do not ‘recycle’ individual words, but sentences. That means a single word cannot be reused without taking a huge risk.

Let’s take a few examples:

  • A word can have several meanings: a mouse can be an animal or a computer accessory.
  • In gendered languages, a word can have different meanings depending on its gender: in French, ‘un page’ means a page (as in a squire), but ‘une page’ means a page (as in a sheet of paper).
  • A word can designate one thing and its opposite: ‘to overlook’ can mean both the act of monitoring and inspecting, or failing to notice something.
  • A word can change its meaning by changing its grammatical form: ’to raise’, as a verb, means to increase or lift. A ‘raise’, as a noun, is a promotion at work. It can also be used as in ‘raising a child’, ‘raising from the dead’…
  • Finally, just because the word is identical in the source language does not mean that it will be identical in the target language. To understand this, you just need to think about languages with declensions, let alone languages that use logograms.

Yes, we can leverage words, but it’s not that simple.

CAT tools use databases of sentences. In short, a previously translated source sentence corresponds to a target sentence. These are called ‘translation memories’. If you have previously had us translate text for you or if you can provide us with a translation memory, we can ‘leverage’ the existing sentences, provided that there are source/target matches in the database. If this is not the case, i.e. you have texts in the source language and in the target language, but they are in two separate documents, there is a solution. You can actually ‘align’ them, which involves creating matches between sentences to recreate ‘translation memories’. This is a tedious task and must be checked by a translator, but it can pay off for texts that require frequent updates, for example. It’s not that simple, however, as there may be multiple translations for the same sentence, with each being acceptable yet suitable for different contexts. This means that reusing an existing translation is not as straightforward as you might think. Even if a sentence is in the translation memory, it will still need to be checked by a human before being accepted in the text being translated.

Context: a key requirement

However, the latest generation of CAT tools has come to the aid of translators. Today, these tools know how to detect if a sentence belongs to a specific ‘context’. By examining the preceding and following sentences, the program is able to determine if the ‘context’ is the same and then pre-translate the sentence with the same context. It must still be checked. However, you can choose (for budgetary reasons) not to carry out this check, but you should be aware that the quality of your text may suffer.

‘Exact matches’

It should be understood that these matches are identified by a computer program. The program detects whether the source sentence suggested for the translation corresponds EXACTLY to the source sentence it is looking for in the database. It examines each character one after the other, and if it finds the same number of characters in the same order, it will add the target sentence as a possible translation. For example, this means that if you have two spaces between two words instead of just one, the sentence will not be recognised as an exact match. The same will happen if the sentence ends with an exclamation mark instead of a full stop. And all the more so if a term is replaced by a synonym. Machines do not have the practical intelligence of humans.

‘Fuzzy matches’

So, does that mean that a single tiny difference can eliminate all the benefit of this matching? No, this is not the case. This brings us to another category of sentences called ‘fuzzy matches’ or ‘fuzzies’. The program is able to detect similar sentences. If there are only a few minor differences, the program shows the translator a version of the source sentence with the differences highlighted. The more differences there are, the more complicated it can be to ‘fix’ the sentence. In such cases, fixing the sentence will take the translator longer than it would take to simply translate the sentence, with the risk of getting a poor result. We all know that it is sometimes easier and more effective to start from scratch than to try to patch up a poorly written text. The data show that if a sentence has been changed by more than 20–25%, using a similar sentence is counterproductive. And the more changes there are, the longer it will take. This is why fuzzy matches are often priced differently depending on their rate of change: substituting an exclamation mark for a full stop will be less expensive, while several changes scattered about in the same sentence will result in a higher price.

A final sentence category: ‘repetitions’

How are they different from ‘exact matches’? They are pretty much the same, i.e. sentences that are identical to a pre-existing sentence. The difference is that the source sentence does not come from the translation memory, but has already appeared in the document being translated. This is what happens when we work without a translation memory on a text being translated for the first time. In this case, it can be assumed that these identical sentences can be translated in the same way. In such cases, context is ignored, which may be possible for certain types of text (very technical texts, for example). But to ensure quality, it is best to make sure that the context is indeed the same and therefore that the same translation can be reused. It must therefore be checked by a human, especially for high-visibility or high-stake texts.

In concrete terms, how can this save you money?

As you know, estimates are made on a case-by-case basis. Depending on your situation and in light of the various factors detailed above, the price could be discounted by up to 25%

What is the purpose of editing?

You may have read on our site or elsewhere that a good translation requires at least two steps. Two steps? Does this mean we work with bad translators?

According to the ISO 17100 standard in force in our industry, ‘Any translation service that complies with the ISO 17100 standard must include translation and proofreading at the very least. —Translation and self-editing. A qualified translator translates the documents and checks their own work after the translation is finished.  —Editing. Someone other than the original translator revises the translation. According to the requirements of this standard, revision involves examining a translation to check it is suitable for the stated purpose, comparing the source text and the target text, and recommending corrections.’ Although a good translation keeps linguistic subjectivity to a minimum, how can a translator be aware of their own subjectivity? And in this case, how could they know that they misunderstood the source text? Editing by a second linguist is therefore essential for a high-quality translation, for several reasons:
  • To avoid meaning errors because the source text can be ambiguous.
  • To improve style and limit the impact of an overly personal style.
  • To check the translationerrare humanum est: to err is human.
  • To take a fresh look at the text, take some distance, be able to analyse it and check consistency.
  • To get an overview of the content and ensure consistency for projects involving several translators working in parallel.
This means that the revision stage, also known as editing, review or sometimes even called proofreading, is essential. This step is not just a quick check. The editor/reviser is responsible for comparing the translation to the source text sentence by sentence. They are able to take a wider view of the text, which allows them to correct the original translation, and also tweak and rework the text to improve it.

I already have translated documents. Will the new translation be consistent with the existing translation?

You have already had documents translated. You are coming to us for a new translation. You would like to have continuity in the terminology and style of your documents

We are used to this process: simply send us your reference documents when you place an order. Our translators will refer to them and identify terms and phrases used in previous translations.

If these terms seem appropriate to them, they will use this termbase. If they think they are incorrect or could be improved, the project manager in charge of your account will get in touch with you to let you know and agree with you on the best course of action: we can either stick to the existing terms or decide to use more suitable terms.

You will then decide what to do about the older documents:  have them updated or accept that some terms are obsolete. If you have not built a termbase before, we can help you make one. We recommend doing this in the source language for consistent internal communication, as well as for writing your content for your clients and prospects. A termbase ensures that your translations are consistent, as it is adapted to your multilingual communications.

>  Creating a termbase 

What if I disagree with the choice of a term?

You have just received your translation, and you are surprised by the choice of a term. Why didn’t the translator use a word that you believe is the only possible option?

First of all, bear in mind that terminology is not set in stone. The choice of a word to describe a concept depends on several factors:
  • First of all, the field or even subfield. A term in the source language may correspond to different translations depending on the field of application. It can even vary between related fields.
  • Next, the company. When we translate for companies from the same business sector, we often see that they use different terms despite talking about exactly the same concepts. Each company has its own jargon, and it is not always easy for the translator to distinguish between a term used widely in the sector and a term that is only used by any given company. Therefore, a term used a lot in a business similar to yours may be considered inappropriate in your company. And vice versa.

What if you have any doubts?

You should ask us about the suitability of the chosen term. The translator will be able to explain their choice. Nevertheless, you remain in control of your own terminology: we will use your preferred terminology. We would, of course, need to be made aware of the terminology ahead of a translation in order to be able to comply with it. If you are planning to translate a large amount of text, we encourage you to send us any terminology sources that you may have, so we can stick as closely as possible to existing translations. If you do not have any documents to provide, it is strongly recommended to work with us upstream to create a glossary (list of source language/target language vocabulary), which you could perhaps ask your subsidiaries or distributors to approve. This is the best way to avoid wasting time later and to start off on the right foot. The long-term collaborations that we establish with our clients enable us to adhere more and more to their linguistic and stylistic preferences. By having an open dialogue, our linguists are able to speak ‘your language’.

What if I am not happy?

In the event you are not happy with the translations delivered to you, contact the project manager who took care of your request and explain the points you are not happy with

Translation is a purely human activity based on language. This means that errors can occasionally slip through multiple quality checks, and also that nothing is more controversial than language. To avoid any subjective bias, we ask our clients to provide us with detailed and substantiated feedback. The linguist responsible for the translation will then explain their choices. In light of the response they give, our project manager will work with you to see which sales approach is most suitable: reworking the text taking into account your preferences (creating a glossary and style guide in order to document them for future projects), or even a goodwill gesture if we have not done a job that lives up to our own standards. When your project is launched, we will invite you to use our information-sharing platform, VIX (VI-eXchange), free of charge. This platform enables linguists to ask their questions directly, and you can easily answer them yourself. This communication channel can be used to clarify any doubts as and when they arise (e.g. ambiguity in the source text or a detected error for you to confirm or reject) and to make the most suitable linguistic choice by discussing it with you.

How can you translate into any language?

You have a project that needs to be translated into several languages, and you are wondering how we go about it. It is interesting to take a look at how VI handles translations into foreign languages. It is a very legitimate question, as there are almost too many language combinations to count. So, how do we ensure quality?

The process we use depends on the target language.

When we translate into the languages that are geographically closest to us, such as English, German, Spanish and Italian, we can use freelancers because we have in-house resources that can carry out quality control. Of course, we always respect the steps involved in the package chosen by our client (Learn more about the different packages) and therefore the number of linguists involved.

However, we also work with ‘partners’, in particular for less closely related languages. Indeed, how can we check a Turkish freelancer’s work, for example, without using another freelancer, when we cannot really know if they are better or well suited to the context of the translation?
That is why we work hand-in-hand with hand-picked companies based in the foreign target countries, and in many cases, have been doing so for many years. Like VI, they are positioned in the high-quality segment of the translation market and most have therefore sought and received the ISO 17100 certification. We usually maintain close ties, as our directors and their directors meet in person once a year. We believe that it is essential to look for translations in the target country, as you are guaranteed to find native translators who are the perfect linguistic and cultural match, and they will be managed by an organisation that can provide selective and ongoing monitoring of the linguists’ performance.

Like VI does for French, these companies can provide quality control in their local language thanks to their in-house team. They also enable us to offer our clients year-round support: they structure the accounts we entrust to them, in particular by assigning lead linguists and backup linguists, and by creating specific instructions for each client, etc.

Finally, because we also have a client-supplier and supplier-client relationship, they are as committed to us as we are.

This way of ‘building’ multilingual projects has satisfied many of our clients over the years. For some, we handle about thirty languages every week, almost continuously, while for others, it might be 200,000 words in one go for a new language, which we can provide within a few months. Whatever our client’s needs, we are able to work with our partners to find the solution that will meet their expectations.

You are ISO 17100 certified. What difference does that make?

The ISO 17100 international quality standard lists the requirements for different aspects of the translation process. It provides a guarantee of the quality of our translation services and should be able to guide you when choosing your service providers

From the moment you make your order through to the delivery and after-sales service, there are very precise specifications to follow. It concerns both the compliance of our production processes and resource selection.

Information management and flow at the heart of the process

Smooth information management and flow are crucial to carrying out an order properly. It is essential to pay particular attention to them, because high precision is essential during the various stages of a translation project:

  • Gathering information from the customer
  • Preparing a quote
  • Forwarding information, which is carried out by the sales department via a standardised tool, to create a project
  • Delivering the translated content
  • Taking into account feedback from our clients as part of the after-sales service

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A translation methodology geared towards optimal quality

In order to produce high-quality translations, all translated documents must systematically be reviewed and corrected by a second translator, the editor.

Depending on the document’s complexity, use and stakes, an additional final proofreading step may be carried out by Version internationale. This phase is not required by the standard, but it is an integral part of our flagship ‘Version internationale Quality’ service.

Carefully selected resources

In accordance with the ISO 17100 standard, Version internationale works exclusively with translators that meet at least one of the following three conditions:

Have a recognised postgraduate degree (Master’s) in translation.

Have an equivalent qualification in another field (e.g. doctor, engineer, biologist, etc.), plus a minimum of two years of proven experience in translation.

Have more than five years of proven professional experience in translation.

In addition to these essential criteria, Version internationale makes its linguists take various translation tests (one for each area of speciality) before approving them, as well as tests in the target language (spelling and grammar skills, accuracy and breadth of terminology, ability to spot errors, etc.). Each successful linguist is then approached according to their main area of expertise.

After each translation, each linguist receives a detailed assessment of their work. If these assessments, which are closely monitored by our Vendor Manager, reveal that the linguist’s work no longer meets our quality requirements, we choose to end the collaboration.

The quality of your translations is probably your priority. It is ours as well. The ISO 17100 certification testifies to the steps taken by translation companies in order to meet the standard. Finally, it involves a continuous improvement approach, focusing on the key factors influencing customer satisfaction.

My information is confidential, so how do I know if it is safe?

For Version internationale, respecting confidentiality is key to a reliable and seamless partnership. We put in place various action plans to guarantee that the documents you entrust to us are kept completely confidential.

A chain of confidentiality agreements

We require all our partners to sign a confidentiality agreement and request that they do not disclose any of the information that they are allowed to access to carry out their work.

IT security

We have put in place strict IT security systems to safeguard our company against any loss of confidential information. When it comes to IT, we use reputable suppliers to ensure that our IT infrastructure and data is secure. That means that everything is hosted on the Cloud via two international partners who have all the necessary security certifications and who provide IT security for major companies on a daily basis. No data is stored on our local computers. Finally, in some cases, we may have to implement additional measures to encrypt certain data or distribute data on different servers to reduce risk.

What file formats should I send you?

File formats are usually the last thing on your mind in a translation process. However, it is important to understand how specific files are translated before the project starts to avoid time-consuming back and forth

Do the right thing and send us your source files!

Thanks to IT processing, we can translate your files directly from their original format. Our translation software tools are able to handle texts in many formats, and you will receive a file in the same format as the one you gave us. This has many advantages, in particular, this avoids risky copying and pasting, which some people think they will have to do once they receive their translated document.

When it comes to files, you must check that the source files given to the translation team are perfectly usable. We need the source file from the very beginning, when you send us a file for a quote, so that we can carefully extract the content and count the number of words.

Whether it is for common formats like Word, Excel and PDF, more difficult formats such as InDesign, Illustrator and AutoCAD, or even more specific file types, you must ensure that you have a clear grasp of the source files. We are often given PDFs, which are ultimately just a file saved from a different source file. Certain files must absolutely be accompanied by their internal links (fonts, images, etc.).

Sometimes a source file cannot be found. A document may have been produced with software that has become outdated. These days, thanks to special tools, we are able to recover the majority of these files. This involves an additional processing cost, but guarantees that they can be used in other languages.

> More detail on the challenges of DTP and translation

Glossary for the translation sector

Are some terms used in the translation industry unfamiliar to you?

See our glossary below to learn the definition of the following words:

Alignment

This process enables you to create a translation memory that can be used in a CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) tool. When we have documents that have already been translated, as well as their original version, we can use CAT tools to match source sentences and paragraphs to their translation. A translation memory is created using the aligned documents and forms a solid basis for future projects. 

Bilingual

Generally speaking, a ‘bilingual’ person can communicate in two languages, either actively (by speaking and writing) or passively (by listening and reading). Strictly speaking, the term ‘bilingual’ refers to a person who has two mother tongues or can speak a second language at a similar level to their mother tongue. 

Project Manager

In a translation agency, project managers are in charge of ensuring that projects run smoothly. Each project is unique and may vary depending on the size, the number of languages involved, the complexity, the tasks to perform and other factors. In some agencies, project managers are also editors. Other translation providers operate in a more structured way and distribute tasks from a more profession-based perspective: translators and editors only perform linguistic tasks, while project managers exclusively take care of administrative and management tasks. 

Target document

The document generated at the end of the translation process, i.e. the document translated into the target language. 

Source document

The document to translate.

Editing

See Revision 

Freelancers

There are different categories of translators: translators who are employed in-house by companies and translators who are self-employed. Translation providers often work with freelancers when deadlines are tight, but in-house translators add value by checking documents in-house. 

Interpreter

A translator works on written text and translates into only one target language (their native language), while an interpreter translates orally in both directions. 

Controlled language

A subset of a natural language with restricted grammar and vocabulary. 

Target language

The language into which the document is being translated. 

Source language

The language in which the original text is written. 

Localisation

The adaptation of a product (usually software) to the specific requirements of the target language and culture. These requirements are often related to the locale, such as the target market’s specific rules, laws and criteria. Localisation also involves translating the user interface (menus, dialog boxes, pop-up menus, etc.) and online help. It also encompasses processes for reducing the size of text (using abbreviations) to adapt it to the space available in the interface. 

MT (Machine Translation)

See Machine translation 

Locale

The linguistic, cultural and technical norms specific to a target audience. 

Post-editing

This term refers to the process carried out by a human editor who corrects a text produced by a machine translation system. The aim of post-editing is to produce a text of comparable quality to that of a translation carried out by a human being. This task is similar to editing, but it gives more responsibility to the editor due to the lower quality of the machine translation. 

Pre-editing

Pre-editing is the preparation of a text before it is processed by a machine translation system in order to optimise the post-editing stage.

Translation memory maintenance

When a translation memory is used for several years to translate documents, its quality may decline over time (due to terminology changes, or the involvement of several translators who do not necessarily apply the same rules, etc.). After a while, it is important to clean up the memory. This process improves the quality of the final translations. It may involve removing obsolete segments, cleaning up terminology and/or syntax, etc. This is a delicate task that requires a methodical and meticulous approach. Only professionals with a firm grasp of CAT tools should undertake it. 

Proofreading

Proofreading means checking a document before delivery to remove potential typos. This is a monolingual task carried out on the target text only. Often used incorrectly, this term can also refer to the editing or revision stage.

Revision

Revision means checking a translation to ensure that the target text meets certain requirements. For instance, the target text must be suitable for the original purpose of the document, the target language must reflect the source language accurately, the style must flow, the text must be free of typos, etc. This is a bilingual task. During the revision stage, the linguist checks spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, language register and the coherence between text and images, etc. 

CAT

Computer-Assisted Translation. We also refer to ‘CAT tools’. This term refers to assisted translation and not to machine translation (using a translation engine). CAT tools, which have been in use for over 20 years and have now reached full maturity, enable you to compile large databases that store the source sentences and their translations. When a sentence is in the database, it is suggested to the translator who can choose to use it or not depending on the context. 

TEP

The acronym for Translation/Editing/Proofreading. It refers to the standards defined by LISA (Localisation Industry Standard Association) to produce a translation of optimal quality. To begin with, this process includes translation by one or more translators (depending on word counts and deadlines). The second step consists of editing, which aims to check the accuracy of the translation and its consistency (if several people have translated it), and to improve the text where necessary. The third and final step is proofreading, which involves checking that there are no typos in the target text. 

Terminology

This is the vocabulary used in a text or in a specific field. Terminology can be used to create glossaries, lexicons and dictionaries. Compiling a terminology database is an important step in the document management process. It helps ensure the accuracy and consistency of texts over the long term, for example when you plan on updating a document. 

Translator

A professional linguist who produces texts in a language, usually their mother tongue, from one or more languages.

Machine translation

This is the translation of an entire text using one or more computer programs without human intervention. Machine translation technology is currently undergoing a revolution. The first systems based on parsing (syntax analysis) produced poor results. Over the past several years, systems based on statistical models, the parameters of which are derived from the analysis of bilingual corpora of text, have completely transformed the approach. More recently, the combination of the two systems, and especially the arrival of artificial intelligence, have considerably improved the quality of the translated texts. Machine translation is still far from perfect and should always be followed by a post-editing stage. This technology is only suitable for certain types of texts and for translating a substantial number of words.

Translation

Translation involves interpreting the meaning of a text written in a language (source language) and producing a text with an equivalent meaning, which has the same effect on readers from another culture who do not speak the same language (target language). The aim of translation is to make sure the source text and the target text correspond (for example by ensuring that the two texts convey the same message), while meeting certain requirements (context, grammar, etc.) in order to produce text that can be understood by people who do not speak the source language and do not know anything about the source culture. 

Review

See Revision 

Voice-over  

The term ‘voice-over’ refers to a spoken commentary added to a video or multimedia presentation. It is also referred to as ‘dubbing’. Foreign-language voice-over involves two stages:
  • The translation of the narration, which must respect the amount of time allocated to each segment (the speech must be synchronised to the segment) and has a certain number of constraints.
  • The recording, which can be carried out by a specially trained linguist or by an actor.
Voice-over services are offered by some translation companies.

Workflow

In the context of a translation project, a workflow refers to a series of steps put in place to produce a high-quality translation that meets the constraints and requirements of a project. Nowadays, software can automate the workflow and guide project managers throughout the project life cycle. More specifically, in a translation company, the workflow consists of the following actions: acknowledging receipt of the files, analysing the files, preparing a quote, planning the human and technical resources required to deliver the project while respecting the specified deadlines, constraints and budget, communicating the information necessary for the smooth running of the project, monitoring the project, performing quality assurance tasks, delivering the project, archiving the completed project and invoicing. Are some terms used in the translation industry unfamiliar to you?

See our glossary below to learn the definition of the following words:

Alignment

This process enables you to create a translation memory that can be used in a CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) tool. When we have documents that have already been translated, as well as their original version, we can use CAT tools to match source sentences and paragraphs to their translation. A translation memory is created using the aligned documents and forms a solid basis for future projects. 

Bilingual

Generally speaking, a ‘bilingual’ person can communicate in two languages, either actively (by speaking and writing) or passively (by listening and reading). Strictly speaking, the term ‘bilingual’ refers to a person who has two mother tongues or can speak a second language at a similar level to their mother tongue. 

Project Manager

In a translation agency, project managers are in charge of ensuring that projects run smoothly. Each project is unique and may vary depending on the size, the number of languages involved, the complexity, the tasks to perform and other factors. In some agencies, project managers are also editors. Other translation providers operate in a more structured way and distribute tasks from a more profession-based perspective: translators and editors only perform linguistic tasks, while project managers exclusively take care of administrative and management tasks. 

Target document

The document generated at the end of the translation process, i.e. the document translated into the target language. 

Source document

The document to translate.

Editing

See Revision 

Freelancers

There are different categories of translators: translators who are employed in-house by companies and translators who are self-employed. Translation providers often work with freelancers when deadlines are tight, but in-house translators add value by checking documents in-house. 

Interpreter

A translator works on written text and translates into only one target language (their native language), while an interpreter translates orally in both directions. 

Controlled language

A subset of a natural language with restricted grammar and vocabulary. 

Target language

The language into which the document is being translated. 

Source language

The language in which the original text is written. 

Localisation

The adaptation of a product (usually software) to the specific requirements of the target language and culture. These requirements are often related to the locale, such as the target market’s specific rules, laws and criteria. Localisation also involves translating the user interface (menus, dialog boxes, pop-up menus, etc.) and online help. It also encompasses processes for reducing the size of text (using abbreviations) to adapt it to the space available in the interface. 

MT (Machine Translation)

See Machine translation 

Locale

The linguistic, cultural and technical norms specific to a target audience. 

Post-editing

This term refers to the process carried out by a human editor who corrects a text produced by a machine translation system. The aim of post-editing is to produce a text of comparable quality to that of a translation carried out by a human being. This task is similar to editing, but it gives more responsibility to the editor due to the lower quality of the machine translation. 

Pre-editing

Pre-editing is the preparation of a text before it is processed by a machine translation system in order to optimise the post-editing stage.

Translation memory maintenance

When a translation memory is used for several years to translate documents, its quality may decline over time (due to terminology changes, or the involvement of several translators who do not necessarily apply the same rules, etc.). After a while, it is important to clean up the memory. This process improves the quality of the final translations. It may involve removing obsolete segments, cleaning up terminology and/or syntax, etc. This is a delicate task that requires a methodical and meticulous approach. Only professionals with a firm grasp of CAT tools should undertake it. 

Proofreading

Proofreading means checking a document before delivery to remove potential typos. This is a monolingual task carried out on the target text only. Often used incorrectly, this term can also refer to the editing or revision stage.

Revision

Revision means checking a translation to ensure that the target text meets certain requirements. For instance, the target text must be suitable for the original purpose of the document, the target language must reflect the source language accurately, the style must flow, the text must be free of typos, etc. This is a bilingual task. During the revision stage, the linguist checks spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, language register and the coherence between text and images, etc. 

CAT

Computer-Assisted Translation. We also refer to ‘CAT tools’. This term refers to assisted translation and not to machine translation (using a translation engine). CAT tools, which have been in use for over 20 years and have now reached full maturity, enable you to compile large databases that store the source sentences and their translations. When a sentence is in the database, it is suggested to the translator who can choose to use it or not depending on the context. 

TEP

The acronym for Translation/Editing/Proofreading. It refers to the standards defined by LISA (Localisation Industry Standard Association) to produce a translation of optimal quality. To begin with, this process includes translation by one or more translators (depending on word counts and deadlines). The second step consists of editing, which aims to check the accuracy of the translation and its consistency (if several people have translated it), and to improve the text where necessary. The third and final step is proofreading, which involves checking that there are no typos in the target text. 

Terminology

This is the vocabulary used in a text or in a specific field. Terminology can be used to create glossaries, lexicons and dictionaries. Compiling a terminology database is an important step in the document management process. It helps ensure the accuracy and consistency of texts over the long term, for example when you plan on updating a document. 

Translator

A professional linguist who produces texts in a language, usually their mother tongue, from one or more languages.

Machine translation

This is the translation of an entire text using one or more computer programs without human intervention. Machine translation technology is currently undergoing a revolution. The first systems based on parsing (syntax analysis) produced poor results. Over the past several years, systems based on statistical models, the parameters of which are derived from the analysis of bilingual corpora of text, have completely transformed the approach. More recently, the combination of the two systems, and especially the arrival of artificial intelligence, have considerably improved the quality of the translated texts. Machine translation is still far from perfect and should always be followed by a post-editing stage. This technology is only suitable for certain types of texts and for translating a substantial number of words.

Translation

Translation involves interpreting the meaning of a text written in a language (source language) and producing a text with an equivalent meaning, which has the same effect on readers from another culture who do not speak the same language (target language). The aim of translation is to make sure the source text and the target text correspond (for example by ensuring that the two texts convey the same message), while meeting certain requirements (context, grammar, etc.) in order to produce text that can be understood by people who do not speak the source language and do not know anything about the source culture. 

Review

See Revision 

Voice-over  

The term ‘voice-over’ refers to a spoken commentary added to a video or multimedia presentation. It is also referred to as ‘dubbing’. Foreign-language voice-over involves two stages:
  • The translation of the narration, which must respect the amount of time allocated to each segment (the speech must be synchronised to the segment) and has a certain number of constraints.
  • The recording, which can be carried out by a specially trained linguist or by an actor.
Voice-over services are offered by some translation companies.

Workflow

In the context of a translation project, a workflow refers to a series of steps put in place to produce a high-quality translation that meets the constraints and requirements of a project. Nowadays, software can automate the workflow and guide project managers throughout the project life cycle. More specifically, in a translation company, the workflow consists of the following actions: acknowledging receipt of the files, analysing the files, preparing a quote, planning the human and technical resources required to deliver the project while respecting the specified deadlines, constraints and budget, communicating the information necessary for the smooth running of the project, monitoring the project, performing quality assurance tasks, delivering the project, archiving the completed project and invoicing.