7. German authorities often require foreign documents to be translated. They decide at their discretion whether to accept translations produced outside Germany. Where can I get more information on the notarisation, certification, and recognition of non-German documents and papers?
Depending on the level of difficulty of the text, approx. 30 to 45 standard lines (= 1 - 1.5 standard pages) can be translated within an hour. Based on a working day of 8 hours, this gives a result of 8 - 12 standard pages.
Please expect an average rate of 120 standard lines (= 4 standard pages) per hour for proofreading (comparison of the translation with the source text with respect to spelling and punctuation mistakes, stylistic and content errors and any possible improvements). Based on a working day of 8 hours, this gives a result of approx. 32 standard pages. This is based on the assumption that the translation has been prepared by a professional native speaker. If the translation has been prepared by a non-native speaker or layperson, the time required may quickly be doubled or even tripled.
You can expect a rate of approx. 240 standard lines (= 8 standard pages) per hour for editing work (checking a German or foreign language text with respect to spelling and punctuation mistakes, stylistic and content errors and any possible improvements). Based on a working day of 8 hours, this gives a result of approx. 64 standard pages. This is based on the assumption that the text has been prepared by a native speaker. If the text has not been prepared by a native speaker, the time required can significantly increase.
Please bear in mind that our translators often work on large projects that can sometimes run over 4 - 12 weeks and that they may not be able to begin straight away.
As John Ruskin, an English social reformer (1819 - 1900) so aptly said:
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.
It is unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot, it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."
Because for each page we require approx. one hour for the translation and a quarter of an hour to proofread the translation. Please bear in mind that the fee is not the gross wage for employees, rather this amount has to cover all costs (wages/salaries, associated employee costs, operating costs, taxes, etc.), i.e. this sum is not our net income.
To save money, you may also choose to have excerpts of documents translated. Before you do so, you should however ask the appropriate authorities whether any parts may be omitted in the translation and, if so, which ones. The translator will then indicate which parts have been omitted in the translation.
Because translators translate texts as a whole. The thoughts in a text are visually structured using spaces and paragraphs, and we maintain this structure in the translation. As entering spaces and paragraphs takes time, this time is accordingly billed. It wouldn't really be in your best interests to receive a translation without spaces or paragraphs... Also, a calculation by keystrokes is more exact as words can differ in length.
A certified translation can only be prepared by a translator who has been publicly appointed and certified by a regional court. With an endorsement and official seal, the translator confirms that the translation matches the source text in terms of content and that it is complete. In order to be complete, the entire text (including letterhead, signatures, stamp etc.) must be translated.
Normally, certified translations only have to be presented to courts, public agencies, schools/universities, and the like. Examples include translations of birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, drivers' licences, education certificates and job references, i.e. documents that are to be officially recognised. Under normal circumstances a translation does not have to be certified.
To become a publicly appointed and certified translator one must have completed training to qualify as a translator (university degree, BA in Translation Studies, academically-certified translator, state-certified translator). There is no specialised training to qualify as a publicly appointed and certified translator; certification only means that the translator was certified as such by a court. The qualification to practice the profession is evidenced by the translator's relevant final certificate. A university degree in English or the romantic languages does not suffice as evidence.
For the same reason you cannot write a medical prescription for yourself and have a doctor validate it. A doctor only writes prescriptions based on an examination that he or she has conducted personally.
Publicly appointed and certified translators confirm with their stamp and signature that the content of the translation is the same as that of the original. They are required to take an oath in front of a court, and they can be held accountable for the translations they certify.
7. German authorities often require foreign documents to be translated. They decide at their discretion whether to accept translations produced outside Germany. Where can I get more information on notarisation, certification, and recognition of non-German documents and papers?
See for example the homepage of the German Foreign Ministry:
8. Is it possible to get a certified translation directly from one foreign language into another (i.e. in a language combination that does not include German)?
Unfortunately this is not possible in Germany. Our regional courts only certify translators for language combinations with German (e.g. German-English/English-German or German-French/French-German). The reason being that translations between two foreign languages are not required by them. Unfortunately, translators who are certified for several languages (such as English and French) must insert an intermediate text in German into a certified translation and may not prepare a certified translation directly from one foreign language into another, even if they are capable of doing so. In Germany, this is only permissible with an intermediate text.
Documentation that is in electronic and editable form (i.e. no scanned documents or specially protected pdf-files from which no text can be copied) can be translated using translation memory software. Translation Memories (TMs) (e.g. Trados Translator’s WorkbenchTM) store source and target text during the translation process. Together, the source texts and their translations form "translation units", which can be retrieved again at a later date. Every new sentence to be translated is compared with the translation units stored in the TM. If similar or identical source sentences are found, then the translation tool automatically suggests a translation for the sentence. Each proposed translation can be accepted and/or edited by the translator.
Working with translation memories saves time and helps produce consistent translations whenever source texts closely resemble each other. This way, we may be able to offer you a special discount in the event of repeated or very similar texts. To calculate this, we will however first need to examine the source text files. Another advantage is that the TM software maintains the original formatting of the source text. Terminology programmes such as MultiTerm 95+ or Termbase also help ensure that terms are always translated the same way throughout a document.
Translation memories can also be compiled from earlier translation projects by using text alignment tools. The alignment process does however require that both the original and its translation are available in electronic form.
The term "localisation" refers not only to the translation, but also to the logical and formal adaptation of software and documentation to the conventions and requirements of the target language country. The process of localisation includes converting weights, measurements and currencies, and taking cultural differences into account. Tables of content and indexes are created, graphics are translated, screenshots of the translated software are taken and inserted into the documentation, and final formatting work will be done. Software developers very often have to adjust the size of buttons and text fields after they are translated; German and French texts, for example, usually require more space than English texts.
Translators frequently work with translation memories (e.g. Trados Translator's Workbench or Wordfast) to ensure consistency in the translation of software and documentation.
No, this is not possible. A test translation also generates costs and is equivalent to requesting the free tiling of a wall in a project tender for tilers.
A translation of up to 250 words would take us two working hours. In order to settle this unproductive working time, we would have to raise our prices accordingly. In order to avoid this, we do not generally offer free test translations.
Because translators need to take the length and complexity of the text into consideration to make an accurate estimation of how much time and effort a project will require (e.g. for formatting, editing a slide show etc.)
It's comparable with a car mechanic who has to take stock of the damage, before he can specify his price. He will need to inspect the car first.