French translator

Translation tips and FAQ

How much does a French translator cost ?

Translators normally charge per source word. A qualified freelance translator willing to give the job the time and attention it deserves should be charging between £0.09 and £0.15 per source word (use the wordcount function in MS Word), depending on how technical/creative your document is.

How can I reduce the cost of translation?

Whilst it isn't advisable to simply find a cheap translator as this is likely to affect the quality, cutting out middle-men such as marketing or translation agencies can sometimes halve your cost. Read more about keeping the cost of translation down.

What should I look for in a translator ?

Being bilingual is not enough to be a translator. In the UK, look for qualifications such as a Master's Degree in translation or the CIoL's Diploma in Translation.

Translators should also be registered with a regulating body such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.

Ideally, they should translate into their native language and either live in their native country or maintain a strong link with their language (radio or television, reading, regular visits and contacts). Some translators are considered bi-active, ie they have reached a native level in their second language.

Read more on what to look for in a translator.

What should I look for in an interpreter?

Interpreters in the UK should hold qualifications such as the Master's Degree in Conference Interpreting or the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting. They should also be registered with the National Registered of Public Service Interpreters.

How long does a translation take ?

It varies depending on the technical level of a text, the prior knowledge your translator has of the topic and the quality of the source text. As a ball park, you should expect between 1,500 and 2,500 words a day from your translator. They may be able to reach 3,000 on an exceptional basis. Achieving this on a regular daily basis is not sustainable and certainly doesn't allow enough time for proof-reading. Read my article on why urgent translations should be avoided if possible.

What formats can a translator work with?

It depends on what CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) they use and on what software they're comfortable with. You should be relatively safe with MS Office files (Word, Excel, Power Point). Personnally, I also handle some PDF files and other Adobe Creative Cloud files and web files, but not all my colleagues do so you may have to extract your website's content into a Word file to get it translated.

What is a machine translation ?

A machine translation is a software that leverages bilingual texts provided by humans in order to offer automated translations online. With time, their database becomes big enough to handle most simple sentences, however it is not capable of understanding stylistic nuances such as expressions, sarcasm or idiomatic references. You may want to read my article about the dangers of Google Translate.

What is a translation memory, or CAT tool ?

Most translators use a Computer Aided Translation tool, also known as a translation memory. It helps with consistency by showing the previous versions of a similar text which they may have already translated, either for the same client or the same topic. It is not an automated translation.

What is the difference between translation and interpreting?

It is widely accepted that translation refers to the written word whilst interpreting is best defined as the art of breaking the language barrier between two people or groups of people by orally translating their speech on the spot.

What is a certified translation?

A certified translation, often required for the purpose of carrying out official procedures or applications, includes a declaration by the translator (and if required a statement sworn in front of a solicitor) that the translated text is a true and accurate representation of the original document. It is generally required for birth, marriage, divorce or death certificates, qualifications, legal documents...

What is a transcreation?

A transcreation goes way beyond a translation service. Using a variety of translating, copywriting and market research techniques, a transcreation professionnal will re-write a piece of content so that it adopts the same cultural references, tone of voice and linguistic structure as a text written by and for target readers. The idea is to reach the same objectives as the source documents by adapting the text ito a different market. Read more about the differences between translation, localisation and transcreation and see some examples.

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French Marketing, Marion Lambert-Nuding, Apple Tree Cottage, 19, Milford road, Lymington, Hampshire, SO4 8DF, United Kingdom. Tel: 07870 470939. Email: