Understanding how translation and interpreting services work

Perhaps you’ve just started in a new role and have been asked to book an interpreter. Or your Line Manager has asked you to get some important documents translated and you don’t know where to start.

It can be daunting when you first start using a language solutions provider, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Don’t worry though because we’re here to help.

Understanding the assignment

First, you’ll need to consider what you require from your supplier – are you looking for a translation service where you need support changing documents or extracts of text into another language? Or are you looking for someone to attend a meeting to interpret what a meeting delegate is saying as they will be speaking in another language?

Translators work on documents and text, where it needs to be changed to another language. For example, this could be a commercial contract, or a personal document such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate. They can also help with translating or proofreading copy for marketing material such as websites, emails and brochures where a company is looking to create native content for each country in which they operate.

An interpreter however, provides real-time translation services – and will be on-hand to listen to a meeting delegate, before reiterating it so other delegates can understand what is being said. Interpreters are often required for commercial meetings, where clients and suppliers are engaged internationally. Whilst on a daily basis, interpreters are engaged across the country to support solicitors and members of the police force to support members of the public who do not speak the English language confidently.

Putting together a translation brief

If you’re looking for a translator, then you’ll need to prepare a few things in advance of contacting your language solutions provider:

  • The document, transcript or copy you need translating
  • What language the document is currently in, and what language you need the translated text to be
  • If you’re looking for a specific regional dialect, then also make a note of this
  • Include any time restraints around when you need the translation completed

Translators can change documents into many different languages. Here at Eldon (now NRL), for example, we can support over 135 languages and are always happy to seek additional translators where other language translations are required.

Requesting an interpreter

You may be looking to engage the support of an interpreter to attend a meeting. To submit your request to your language solutions provider to book interpretation work, make sure you share the below with them:

  • The language you need interpreting – if there is a regional dialect it’s a good idea to also note this down
  • How the meeting will take place – interpreters can provide face-to-face services as well as attending video calls through tools such as Teams and Zoom
  • Your expectations for the meeting – if you need the interpreter to attend a short pre-meeting to be briefed then note this down as well
  • When and where the meeting will be – and how long you expect it to last
  • Any requirements after the meeting finishes

Finding a reputable language solutions provider

When it comes to looking for the right supplier to help with translation and interpretation for your business, there are a lot of options when you search online. It’s important to know that the language solutions provider you’re engaging is trustworthy and accurate though.

Look for accreditations that will support their language solutions. Here at Eldon (now NRL), for example, we’re longstanding members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), which endorses our work and allows us to certify our translations.

Check the reputation online for potential suppliers as well, what are the reviews for the company like on sites such as Google. Look for recommendations.

Managing your budget

The final thing you’ll need to consider is your budget – how much will the interpreting and translation services cost?

Translation services are normally charged by the word, so your language solutions provider will be able to share a quote before undertaking the work.

Interpreters are usually charged by the hour, so remember to factor in any extra time if you want to meet with the interpreter prior to the meeting starting.

Whereas interpretation services delivered under legal aid, have a set cost per hour which is managed by the UK Government.

Get in touch

If you’d like to consider NRL Language Solutions as your next language partner, get in touch.

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