So, you need something translated. If you’ve never dealt with a freelance translator before, it’s entirely natural that you have very little idea of what that translator might need to know before they can tell you how much your project is going to cost.
As a freelancer with over a decade of experiences, I’ve received a lot of project descriptions in my time. Some have been excellent, and some have left vital details out that have caused issues further down the line.
So, to save any confusion on your part and make sure the translator knows exactly how much work is going to be involved, and therefore exactly how much it’s going to cost you, just follow these simple guidelines to writing the perfect project description.
- Save time and money by clearly stating what service you need
If you’re not sure whether what you require comes under translation, transcreation or even proofreading or editing, then it’s best to do some research into these terms beforehand.
There’s plenty of information online, so make sure you educate yourself before contacting a translator, as each of these services entail different rates.
If your translator has to come back to who to say that the original service requested wasn’t appropriate for the text, then that’s all wasted time.
- Specify the source and target languages
The source language is the language that the document is already in, and the target language is the language is will be translated into. Clearly state the specific varieties of the languages, as that may determine whether the translator is able to help you or not.
I, for example, translate into European Portuguese, so if the target audience was Brazilian I’d need to know in advance to flag this with you.
- Source document format and expected delivery format
What format is your document in, and do you expect delivery in the same format?
Some formats are more difficult to work with than others, and whereas CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools can generally read PDFs, scans normally can’t be directly translated, which means the process would be more time-consuming.
- Other requirements or expectations
If there are any other details that you think relevant or you expect specific deliverables from the translator, it’s best to let them know at this stage to avoid confusion later on.
- Word count
Translators generally work on a per word basis, so if you know the word count then include it in the project description. If, however, for some reason a word count isn’t relevant, then provide the translator with some kind of quantification for your project. If it were a video that needed subtitling, for example, you would let them know how many minutes the clip lasted.
- Expected turnaround time
Let the translator know when you need or expect the translation to be completed by. Be reasonable with your deadlines, and expect to pay more if it’s a ‘rush job’.
Last but very much not least, I always recommend letting the translator know what your budget is from the outset, rather than waiting for a quote from them.
That way, they know immediately whether your budget is compatible with their rates, and neither of you waste any time in negotiations.
So, now that you know exactly how to describe your project, maybe you’re ready for your free consultation with me. Choose the time that suits you best and let’s talk about your project.