Potential clients often ask the same questions: price, delivery date and way of working. Here are the answers:

How much do you charge?

That is the question most often asked. I understand that you need cost control, but money is not the only issue. It is important that you relate the price to the quality delivered. How much is a translation worth to you that contains the wrong technical terms? Translators without a technical background cannot deliver high quality texts because they are uncertain about some terms and expressions. The result: you pay for translations that do not work as you intended. This can all be prevented by contracting a translator with specific knowledge of a certain field.

How do you calculate your rates?

For most European countries rates for translations are based on standard lines. One line equals 55 keystrokes. For the UK or the US, the rates are generally calculated on a 1000 word fee. The conversion factor for German is 7 words per line because the German language has many really long words as I'm sure you are well aware.

Other work such as editorial or technical writing, proof-reading, etc. is priced per hour.

For larger orders I prefer to submit a binding quote. Please understand that I cannot give a quote without having seen the text as every text is different and issues such as layout, text processing software needed (Word, PowerPoint or Excel) and date of delivery have to be considered as well.

When can I have the translation?

Well, that depends… I prefer to discuss the delivery date with my client directly because there are many factors to be taken into account: the urgency of your translation and my current workload for example. I am an individual translator not an agency. This means that every text, every sentence, every word will take a detour via my desk, my brain, my computer before the translation is completed.

Many clients expect me to process urgent translations right away. I will do my best but please keep in mind that you are not the only client with urgent translations. In general, I handle my work in the order it comes in. If you are working on a really tight time schedule, please call and talk to me. I am positive I will be able to meet your deadline.

One important piece of information: After having been given a deadline, I will stick to it. Be confident that the translation will be in your e-mail box in time.

But please, do me a favor: be honest and trust me. It has happened to me more than once that I have completed an urgent overnight translation and later found out that the text rested for three more days on my client’s desk because it was not that urgent anyway, but the tight schedule was given just to be on the safe side.

Which format would you prefer for the texts to be translated?

The best format for me for processing is plain text without any text boxes, pictures etc. The translation of Excel files or PowerPoint presentations is also possible, but requires more time.

For pdf-files a distinction must be made whether this file is just a conversion of some text files or whether it contains text that has been scanned. The latter cannot be translated as easily because I have to run it through a text recognition program. This is possible but again time consuming.

For website translations I prefer to get the texts as plain text files. This will also be easier for your web designer later.

Do you use translation software?

I am not convinced that so called translation software could do my job because this type of software does not comprehend meanings, it merely translates words and that is only as long as it recognizes them. Sometimes clients ask whether I could edit texts that have been pre-translated by software. Sorry, I don’t do this because it is too much work and too expensive for the client in the long run.

Nevertheless, I do apply some clever tools. For each client I compile a list of preferred terminology to make sure that the subsequent translations are consistent with their terminology. I also use so called translation memory software. This is a computer program that stores each sentence that I have ever translated in its memory. If then a similar sentence needs to be translated again, it suggests the original sentence as a basis for the translation. This means that the program does not translate for me but rather supports me in finding expressions and terms that I have used before. This is also a nice quality assurance program for translators.

Why don't you accept other translations from the non-food field?

A cobbler should stick to his last. This is my motto.

Food technology is the field I know best because of my studies. This enables me to be on par with you when it comes to discussing the meaning of a text. This also means that you do not have to explain the operation of an HPLC or PCR to me. I do not have to look up abbreviations such as HACCP on the internet and I also know that a triangle test is a discriminative form of sensory analysis and not some test people may pass. This all facilitates your work and with my professional background I can provide high quality translations.

How do you deal with your clients?

Some of my clients only need a translation once or twice a year; others take advantage of my services more frequently.

I am committed to handling each client individually and to establishing a confidential business relationship with everyone. Some of my clients have been with me for 20+ years now. I take your company philosophy seriously.

With me you can be sure that all orders will be handled only by me. It is only in times of extreme work load that I may ask a colleague to assist me. But this will only be done after consultation with you and will also involve that I check the quality before delivering the translation.

How can I trust your confidentiality?

This is a very justified question, in particular if you have sensitive company documents to translate. I could not have survived in this rather small business segment if I did not treat all my orders with the highest confidentiality. If you wish, I will also sign a declaration of confidentiality.

How do you keep up-to-date with industrial developments?

My daily work includes reading the latest press releases provided by the German and English media. I subscribe to technical magazines, rss feeds and other food information sources. You may also meet me at food fairs. I like visiting exhibitions for a close-up on the latest technical developments and because here I can live up to the »trade disease«: the collection of technical terms in German and English.