Defining translation services

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Every translator must define the services they will offer. It is important to be aware that translation is not the only service a language professional may offer and that it is possible for a professional translator to offer different services in different fields.

Most common language services

Translation and interpretation-related services may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Translation: in sum, translation involves the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text.
  • Editing: editing involves the correction, revision or adaptation of a text for publication or presentation.
  • Proofreading: traditionally means reading a proof copy of a text in order to detect and correct any errors.
  • Interpreting: it involves the facilitating of oral or sign-language communication, either simultaneously or consecutively, between users of different languages.
  • Website localization: localization of websites requires their adaptation to local culture and language in target market.
  • Software localization: adaptation of computer software to different languages and regional differences.
  • Voiceover or dubbing: it is a production technique where a voice which is not part of the narrative is used in a radio, television, film, theatre, or other presentation.
  • Subtitling: subtitling involves the translation of textual versions of the dialog in films and television programs to be displayed at the bottom of the screen.
  • Transcription: transcription involves the conversion into written, typewritten or printed form, of a spoken-language source. It can also mean the conversion of a written source into another medium.

Click here for a complete list of language services.

Services and specialization

Together with services, translators must also choose the fields in which they will offer these services. Some language professionals may feel comfortable with offering interpreting services in a given field --as they may have such a good knowledge in a specific field that interpreting in real time may come natural to them-- while they may only focus on translation in others.

The same applies to the language-service combination. While some language professionals may offer translation services in all the languages they handle, they may focus on interpreting only in those languages they handle best.

Services and rates

Once services and specialization have been defined, translators must set their rates, including surcharges, discounts and minimum charges. Rates will depend on the translator's desired income, productivity, the amount of vacation taken and other factors.

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