Grace In Translation


I. Why choose a translator instead of somebody who simply knows a foreign language?

 There are many reasons, which can however be summarized in 3 simple points:

  • A translator is not simply someone who knows both the source and the target language, but an all-round expert of the relevant mechanisms, tastes, structures and uses. A translator is also a terminologist having a deep knowledge in specific fields.
  • A translator uses supporting information tools with the aim of providing textual consistency and cohesion.
  • A translator is able to provide a properly localized product in the target language, which is harmonized with the foreign culture.


II. Why is a translator "expensive"?

Because translation is a complex process and the final cost is inclusive of many aspects.

In other words, when transferring an A-language text into a B-language text, the translator undergoes the following stages:

  • Reading
  • Terminological search
  • Translation
  • Proofreading (including third parties' review)
  • Spell-check
  • Target text reading untied from source text

Consequently, the text is more likely to sound "natural" rather than a simple word-for-word translation of the source text.


III. How is the final price calculated?

In this case too, many factors should be taken into consideration:

  1. Number of words/lines/pages/, etc.
  2. Text specialization and use of pre-filled translation memories (if any)
  3. Computer-assisted translation software (cat tools)
  4. Job urgency and orders over public holidays
  5. File format (text formats are less expensive than image formats)
  6. Customer type (translation agency or private clients)


IV. How are translation delivery times calculated?

The answer to this question includes the above points no. 1, 2, 3 and 5 as well as the following:

  • Typing speed (that is also important! Sorridente)
  • Interaction with final clients
  • Any additional DTP jobs

Personally, I've calculated an average of about 3,000 words a day (incl. proofreading). However, this is a very approximate calculation, which is influenced by the above-mentioned factors.


V. How are volumes calculated?

Many calculation methods are available, some of which are language-specific.

Personally, I prefer word counts, but the conversion into pages and lines, if expressly required by the client, is easy and straightforward.

If we have a text file, e.g. in MS Word format, simply click on Tools>Word Count…and it's done! If instead we have an image, e.g. in .JPEG format, a flat rate may apply.

Translation memories allow us to make automatic calculations through specific software (discounts may apply in case of repetitions or alike)


VI. What are translation memories?

Translation memories are kinds of boxes containing segments that have already been translated by the translator him/herself, colleagues or customers on a similar topic, which are very useful in terms of time saving and textual consistency. This mainly applies to technical translations.


VII. Why is using automatic translation tools not advisable?

An automatic translation software is very useful if we have a text that is written in a completely unknown language and we wish to know its general topic. Apart from this, human intervention is unavoidable in order to obtain high quality and accurate outputs.


VIII. What is the main difference between interpreters and translators?

To really simplify, we can say that interpreters speak, whereas translators write.


IX. Can a technical translator deal with novels and literature?

These are two completely different translation fields, which are independent of one another. Therefore, it's quite unusual (although not impossible) that a technical translator also specializes in non-technical texts and vice versa.


X. Who can become a translator/interpreter?

As is the case with any sector, also in this field there are specific skills and knowledge. A translator/interpreter is a person who generally attends specific schools, such as, for example, Schools for Interpreters and Translators (e.g. or, respectively in Forlì and in Trieste, Italy).


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