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Same files, different languages

As a multilingual translation company, we regularly receive requests to translate into multiple and often very different languages. Although we do a tremendous amount of work to and from Spanish, our clients also regularly request French, Portuguese (both Brazilian and Portuguese), and other European languages. Increasingly, with the emergence of a huge market in China, as well as of companies, we see more and more translations being done not only into Chinese but into other languages, such as Thai, Japanese, and Korean. Oftentimes, contingent upon a variety of factors, the turn-around times and costs associated with the translation of the same file into different languages can vary dramatically.

Why does this occur? The files with the least variation in time tend to be plain text files such as Microsoft Word documents with minimal formatting work (tables, graphics, etc.) required. Files with more design involved, such as InDesign files, or documents with images, graphics or tables, may carry an additional charge and require extra time. There are two primary explanations for this. First of all, the way in which languages are written differ: for example, while English is written from left to right in successive lines, Oriental languages may be written from up to down. As a result, there is a good deal of time and attention that the translator, editor, and proofreader must pay to translating, placing, and then checking the translation. Secondly, in order to ensure the highest quality, we work with translator teams that are native in the Oriental languages. Consequently, there are frequently time differences between us (US East coast time) and some translator teams.

All of this simply serves the ultimate purpose of producing the highest quality translation possible, into all different kinds of languages. It also means that when planning a translation project, extra time might be required for certain languages pairs, so plan ahead!