Translation buyer's checklistTranslation services are necessary for a wide array of documents, publications, and digital communication needs. When clients contact us with new projects, we often find ourselves asking for additional information that we need to produce a realistic and meaningful quote. Consequently, we have created a translation buyer’s checklist that will remind you of the type of information that you’ll normally be asked to provide in order to receive an accurate quote without delay.

If you are used to ordering translations and this topic is already very familiar to you, feel free to share the Translation buyer’s checklist with your colleagues and contacts.


1. When do you need the translation(s) to be ready?

Tell us when you need the translated versions of the text. If the project is urgent, tell us right away. That way we can do our best to speed up the process right from the quoting stage. However, remember that diligent work always requires a certain amount of time. So, if at all possible, it’s good to make preparations for all your translation needs well in advance.

2. Is the file format suitable for translation?

When a text for translation is already available in an appropriate file format, this will save both time and money. The most effective way to create a new language version of a text is to write the translation directly on top of the original text. In this way, the formatting, layout, images and other graphic elements in the document remain unchanged; only the language of the text is changed.

The publication of multiple language versions is speeded up when the layout and formatting work doesn’t have to be done from scratch each time. Another benefit is that all the translated texts can be stored in a translation memory database, making them available for use in future translations. This will improve quality and bring down costs when you order translation services again in the future.

3. Which target language(s) and regional variant(s) do you require?

Which version of the target language is best suited to your target market? For example, consider whether you need translations into European or Brazilian Portuguese, and British or American English? Or perhaps both? In which countries, does your business, product, or service have the most users, customers, or followers? Put simply, where in the world will the translation be read?

4. Who is the translated text intended for, and where will it be used?

Who is going to read the translation, in what situations and in what format? The purpose of a text can often be best achieved by utilising various linguistic means such as synonym choices, clause order, or different grammatical structures. It’s not always possible to find out all the necessary information about a project directly from the text type or content; so remember that as a client you can also influence the outcome by providing additional information.

5. Is any reference material available, which could be of help to the translator?

In practice, translators, revisers and editors will rely on their professional expertise and publicly available sources of information, if no client-specific information is available.

To maintain the consistency of your company’s multilingual communication in general (and the consistent use of terms in particular), it is of great help if you can provide industry or company-specific background and reference material which will support the translation work; this can be in the form of previous translations or other publications, glossaries, and style guides that may be relevant.

6. Who can we contact if we need additional information or clarification?

A text for translation will often contain specialist terms, or ambiguous and unclear expressions. Often, the best expertise about a particular business or product rests with the purchaser of the translation themselves; and for this reason, we often ask our clients for clarification of certain points, or send questions regarding the text. Who in your company can provide such additional information, if needed?

In addition to the Translation buyer’s checklist, the following articles provide useful tips and information when buying translation services:

How to save on translation costs

Hints & Tips

What makes a perfect translation