Frequently Asked Questions / Resources

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NAATI stands for National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters in Australia.

You should have your documents translated by a NAATI accredited or certified translator if you require personal documents which have been issued in a foreign country to be translated into English for submission to an Australian Government department, such as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Universities, etc…

Such translations must be performed by a NAATI accredited or recognised translator in order to be accepted.

  • Typical foreign-issued personal documents that require NAATI accredited translations into English are:
    Birth certificates, Marriage certificates, Divorce certificates, Death certificates, Police clearances, Certificates of good conduct, Identity and Citizenship documents, University degrees, School diplomas, Medical reports, Custody agreements, Wills, Evidence of de-facto relationship, etc..

Contact Language Professionals if you are looking for a translation agency that can provide you with a NAATI certified translation, performed by a translator accredited or certified by NAATI. Read more on our certified translations page.


The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) is the accreditation body for translators and interpreters in Australia. NAATI is the only body authorised to issue accreditation for translators and interpreters who wish to work as professional language practitioners in Australia.

All official translation and interpreting services in Australia require translators and interpreters to be NAATI accredited whenever possible. However, NAATI is not available for all languages.

Types of Accreditation or Certification

There are various levels of accreditation or certification, depending on the experience of the translators and how much demand there is for their particular language.

  • Advanced Translator (Senior) (formerly known as NAATI Level 5)
  • Advanced Translator (formerly known as NAATI Level 4)
  • Professional Translator (formerly known as NAATI Level 3)
  • Paraprofessional Translator (formerly known as NAATI Level 2)
  • Recognition (credential awarded where accreditation is not available in that language)

From 2018, NAATI is introducing a new certification system for the translating and interpreting (T&I) sector in Australia. Translators and interpreters will now be “certified” instead of “accredited”.


What does it mean for translators and interpreters?

This means your current “accreditation” is technically still valid but you are no longer listed on NAATI website, you are no longer able to order new ID cards or stamps or revalidate, as your current NAATI numbers is no longer being used, and there will be pressure for you to transition to be “recertified” as NAATI pushes its new system to be the standard with government departments.

For translators who obtained their qualifications before 2007, there will now be requirements to recertify, with the recertification expected to be required within around 3 years from the time you join the new system. Transition is currently free if you apply before 30 June 2018.

If I choose to transition, what do I need to do?

Send in your “Transition to NAATI certification” form along with either:

  • a reference letter/s from your employer or agency detailing the translation work you have done; or
  • a summary of work completed via a work practice record; or
  • a reference letter from an accountant detailing the income generated by translating and/or interpreting; or
  • as a last resort, a statutory declaration detailing your translation career which may be accepted by NAATI.

Further reading…

Australia in Heated Debate Over Major Translator, Interpreter Accreditation Reform

Meet the interpreters who are never lost in translation

NAATI is phasing out “accreditation” and introducing “certification” for translators and interpreters


Both Max and Bertold have nearly 30 years’ experience each in conference interpreting and language services management and they are both members of the AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters (Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence).

For your international conferences and conventions, trade negotiations, seminars, visiting delegations, parliamentary delegations, etc…, they can:

  • Select conference interpreters who are suitably qualified and experienced. Most of them are members of the AIIC.
  • Book flights and accommodation for the interpreting teams if required.
  • Organise interpreting equipment if required.
  • Liaise with clients, interpreters and equipment technicians.
  • Brief of all the interpreters prior to the conference and distribute pre-conference papers and any relevant material to interpreters or preparation and research.
  • Organise translation of any relevant material if required, before the conference or at the conference.

Don’t leave conference interpreting till the last minute!!

In order to provide you with the best possible conference interpreting service, it is important to first clearly define your requirements and to plan a long time ahead. Conference interpreters are very much in demand and are booked early. Bear in mind that your interpretation budget will depend to a substantial extent on whether the team can be composed of interpreters based in or around the conference venue in Australia. You should be aware that non-local interpreters will charge you for travel expenses and time between their home base and the conference venue, and will require a daily subsistence allowance for any day spent away from home. So don’t leave it too late, especially if your venue is in Australia.

Clearly define your requirements

It is important to decide right at the start of the conference interpreter recruitment process which languages will be spoken and into which language direction the interpretation is required.


It may be difficult to estimate which languages will be required at a conference, especially if a similar event has never taken place before. However, it is important to try and have a general idea of how the languages will be distributed to optimise recruitment, especially if 4 or more languages are likely.

If you have one speaker addressing a multilingual audience, you may need interpreting from the language of the speaker into several of the languages of the audience. If the audience is going to ask questions, you’ll also need interpreting from the languages of the audience into the language of the speaker.

If your event is a conference with little interaction from the floor, ask the speakers in what language they intend to deliver their paper. If your event is a meeting with much discussion, ask the chair and the meeting secretary what they will speak.

Do you need simultaneous interpreting ?

Simultaneous interpreting means interpreting WHILE the delegate is speaking.

In simultaneous mode, the interpreter works in a soundproofed booth, preferably with a direct view of the speaker, with at least one colleague. The speaker in the meeting room speaks into a microphone, the interpreter receives the sound through a headset and renders the message into a microphone almost simultaneously, with a delay of just a few seconds. The delegates in the meeting room select the relevant channel to hear the interpretation in the language/s of their choice. Simultaneous interpretation requires two or three interpreters per target language who work in turns, alternating at regular intervals (usually every 20-30 minutes).

Simultaneous interpreting is used in conference situations.

Do you need consecutive interpreting ?

Consecutive interpreting means interpreting AFTER the speaker has finished.

The interpreter sits with the delegates, listens to the speech and renders it, at the end, in a different language, generally with the aid of notes. With consecutive interpretation the interpreter and speaker are seated next to one another, reducing equipment needs to microphones and a regular public address system if the meeting is being held in a large room or with a big audience.

In the modern world consecutive interpreting has been largely replaced by simultaneous, but it remains relevant for certain kinds of meetings (e.g. highly technical meetings, working lunches, small groups, field trips).

Due to the nature of consecutive interpreting, using this method will increase the time required for proceedings.

Do you need interpreting equipment?

Language Professionals works with reputable interpreting equipment suppliers and can help you estimate how many booths, microphones and delegate headsets you will need.

Enquire whether your conference venue has built-in simultaneous interpretation booths. It is important to make sure that interpretation booths comply with the relevant ISO standards.

Meeting rooms should be laid out so that the interpreters enjoy an unobstructed view of the speakers at the rostrum and of the projection screens. This is particularly important at technical meetings where slide presentations or videos are to be shown, as visuals will help the interpreters contextualise the speakers’ message.

To discuss future conference interpreting requirements, please contact Max or Bertold on +61 2 9356 1600.

Interpreters at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit

A clear, confident voice-over narration is the perfect way to express your message in a foreign language.

Voice over projects in languages other than English require skill and organization in order to be successful.

Translation for voice overs is quite different from translation for printed materials. Language Professionals can advise on all aspects of your foreign language projects to ensure the best possible result.

A good script

It is important scripts are in ‘spoken language’ and not ‘written language’. Short, simple and clear sentences are best. The script should be well organized and suitable for voiceover purposes.

Timing is also important, as the script needs to be written – and translated – to match and synchronize with the other parts of your presentation: for example, some words need to be read at the same time as a specific image appears on screen. Remember that your French or German voice over script will most likely be longer than your English original, so a script that is too packed may result in a rushed delivery. Your presentation may need to be adjusted accordingly.

Finally, pronunciation guides should be included, especially for products names, acronyms and foreign language words. Voiceover artists will be native speakers of target languages, but guidance may be required for unfamiliar words or English phrases.

Know your audience

While the language chosen may be obvious, you have to consider other requirements such as accent, region or dialect: If you require Spanish, is it for Spain or South America?) If you require French, is it for France or Canada? If you require Portuguese, is it for Portugal or Brazil? If you require Chinese, is for Hong Kong or mainland China?, etc…

Also, who is your target audience? For example, you do not write for a younger audience using the same language as you would for an older audience.

The Voiceover artist

If you have specific requirements around voiceover artists, you must communicate them to us. These include gender, age, style and tone: Do you need a male or female voice, do you need a younger or older sounding voice, should it sound friendly, caring, humorous or authoritative and business-like?

Language Professionals can then choose the most suitable people for your foreign language voiceover project. Or, in most languages, we can of course supply you with several sample voices for you to choose from. We use professional voiceover artists who speak the chosen language as their mother tongue.

Scripts need to be given to the voiceover artists prior recording so they have time to familiarize themselves with the content and practice reading it, making small amendments if required to suit their own delivery.

Technical specifications

You will need to advise on any restrictions or limitations as to the length of recording, clarifying if the final version has to split into smaller audio files and how much silence should be inserted before and after the audio.

Guidance should also be given on what the final deliverable format should be, such as WAV – 16 bit/48.0 kHz, mono or MP3 – 128 kbps/44.1 kHz, stereo.

If your recording requires visuals, we would normally ask you to supply us with a separate M&E track (music and effects) so all sound effects can be preserved. The foreign language track is recorded and then overlaid and mixed by an audio engineer.

Our voiceover recordings are made in professional studios with engineering support to produce work with high sound quality.

To discuss foreign language voice over projects, please contact Language Professionals on +61 2 9356 1600.

Voice-over, localizing, foreign language re-versioning, re-narrating, dubbing, re-voicing, subtitling…

There are many names for different forms of audiovisual translation, and which one you choose is ultimately driven by your audience’s preference.

A foreign language voice-over will make your presentation look and sound complete and professional, as if built for that language market from scratch. It avoids over-crowding of on-screen text and captions, and is easier to listen to and follow. Most likely though, your voice-over project will be more expensive than subtitling, due to voice talents costs (especially is there is more than one speaker), studio costs and engineering/production costs.

Subtitling Youtube videos is surprisingly easy, and while every viewer is probably going to enjoy a video the most if it’s spoken in his or her native tongue, translated captions can get you more YouTube views by expanding your audience. An uploaded transcript in a foreign language will be searchable, so your video will come up in foreign-language searches.

Mandarin voice-over

Chinese Traditional subtitles


With voice overs, the script is first translated and then re-recorded using voice actors in the new language. There are several methods of doing this:

Dubbing: The replacement of the voices of the people appearing on screen with the voice of different performers speaking another language. This is done by professional actors and with lip-synching. The need for lip-synching accounts for often significant editing. This is normally only used for movies and specialist voice artists are used.

Narration style Voice-over, or renarration: Dubbing WITHOUT lip-synching. The speaker is usually an unseen off-camera narrator. This technique involves the replacement of the original voice-track with the foreign language recording, keeping the music and sound effects. Translation adjustments are often required especially if the video call for the audio to be synchronized to the visual content. This is the most likely scenario for foreign language projects, such as corporate or educational videos, and in most cases only one voice-over artist per language is required.

UN-Style voice over: This method is also often used in documentaries and news reports to translate words of foreign-language interviewees. When an interviewee speaks a foreign language, production companies typically use voice actors to record over the original audio. This way, the viewer hears the interviewee in the background speaking his or her language, as well as the interpreter’s voice. In most cases, the volume of the interpreter’s voice is much louder and lags seconds behind the original audio track.

Find out more about how to prepare your voice over project


With subtitles, the audience hears dialogue in the original language, while a translation appears on screen. The existing soundtrack remains untouched, giving viewers a more authentic experience of the original film or video.

Closed captions: For hearing-impaired people, these include not only dialogue but also meaningful sounds (phone ringing, shot gun, sometimes voice intonation, etc.).

Teletext: For hearing-impaired people, this is scrolling text included in TV programming, often live, usually done with voice-recognition software.

Read more:

Wyong Council: Promotional videos. Mandarin voice-overs and captioning. Produced in-house at Language Professionals.

To discuss future requirements, please contact Françoise on (02) 9356 1600. Or email us: translation@langpro.com.au

Back translation describes a process whereby a text translated into a target language is translated back into the original source language for checking purposes.


The back translation process

The aim of a back translation is to find out if the translation is grammatically correct, the meaning clear, the correct message conveyed, with no omissions or additions. In principle, a back translation will allow a non-native speaker of the target language to check that the translation correctly conveys the meaning of the source text.

STEP 1. The back translation is performed by an independent translator with no access to the original source text, but who is made aware that they are working on a back translation.

STEP 2. Once the back translation task has been completed, a reviewer compares both versions and marks up all discrepancies, places where the meaning may be unclear or ambiguous, and any potential issue.

STEP 3. Because the back translation is never be 100% exactly the same as the original source text and due to the nuances in languages, in most cases the reviewer will need to clarify with the translators. However, it is never clear whether the problems stem from the original translation or from the back translation. The reviewer usually sends his report first to the original translator, who may or may not agree to amend his translation. If the original translator insists that he is correct, the back translator is consulted, until eventually all issues have been sorted out and the final text satisfies all. This is sometimes called reconciliation.

STEP 4. The final approved translation is sent to the client, along with the annotated/commented back translations, outlining all discrepancies and how they have been addressed.

The pros and cons of back translations

The process of back translating is very common amongst pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, clinical research organisations and the likes.

For those organisations and institutions, having a back translation to verify content is a legal and regulatory requirement. Most IRBs (Institutional Review Boards) and Ethics committees require that certificates of accuracy and back-translations are submitted with all translated materials. In such high risk situations, back translations are well worth the investment, adding an extra quality assurance step to the translation process. Language Professionals regularly produces back translations for client in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

On the other hand, back translation is a highly time-consuming and expensive process.

Because the main aim of back-translation is to ensure accuracy, it gives no real indication of the actual quality of the original translation. In fact, a bad or literal translation will often produce an excellent back translation!

  • Do not expect the same text as the original. A back translation will never be 100% the same. In fact, it will often sound very literal and unnatural. This is because the back translator aims at reflecting the translation as closely as possible and is aware that the text is not for publication but for checking purposes. A back translation will not reflect the quality of the translation with regards to style or register. It will not necessarily flag up purely linguistic issues such as poor style, spelling and grammatical errors or incorrect technical terminology.
  • The reviewer must be an experienced, trained linguist, sensitive to language nuances, and usually not the client. Some clients want to do the review themselves, and will ask the translators to endlessly update their translations until the back-translation is almost exactly the same as the original source text, but that is missing the point.
  • Back-translations often wrongly identify discrepancies, usually caused by differences between languages, causing false unnecessary concerns. The majority of alleged discrepancies are often linguistic issues where the back translation does not match the original, but where the original translation did conveying the source text’s meaning in an appropriate manner. For example:
    • Apparent discrepancies in using singular or plural (there are no dedicated plural forms as such in e.g. Vietnamese or Chinese)
    • Apparent discrepancies in using tenses (again, tenses are often not marked in other languages the way they are in English)
    • Apparent discrepancies in using “and”/”or”
    • Addition of some words to make the back translation flow better, but that do not exist in the original translation or the original source text, such as “any”, “some”, etc…

    Many such apparent linguistic discrepancies are often incomprehensible and alarming to clients, as they signal non-conformity in translation when in fact this is not the case.

  • Where issues are identified, it is difficult to assess whether they stem from the original translation or the back translation, so liaising with both translators is usually required, which takes time and diplomacy.
  • For this reason, it’s better to use the same provider for translation and back translation. While it would seem that using two independent agencies would add integrity to the process, it will be much harder to reconcile the translation, as communication with BOTH translators through the reviewer will not be possible.
  • Ample time should be allowed for the resolution of any deviations highlighted by the back translation, particularly if the document is lengthy. This does not make back translations ideal when deadlines are tight.
  • Finally, some translators will simply refuse to do back translations, as they find the process too time consuming and stressful.

Given the amount of time, cost (back translation plus reviewing time), and also potential for incorrectly identifying issues of back translations, other forms of checking are usually preferred to back translation, unless in the specific context of medical, legal or technical translations.

For example, NSW Multicultural Health does not recommend back translation, but favours independent checking instead. Their rationale is explained here: http://www.mhcs.health.nsw.gov.au/services/translation/pdf/guidelinesforcheckingofhealthmedicaltranslations.pdf

Does you brochure need to be professionally printed? Do you want it to look as good as the original?

Our in-house multilingual Desktop Publishing (DTP) team is specially trained in working with foreign languages and scripts, including right to left languages and complex script languages. We can get your translations ready for either print or web publishing.

We strongly recommend taking advantage of this service as many things can go wrong when formatting and typesetting different languages or scripts. We are capable of working on both PC and MAC platforms, and employ state-of-the-art multilingual graphics and publishing software. We usually work with Indesign, but can also assist if you need any Photoshop or Illustrator work.

What we need from you

  • The original English design files (most likely InDesign)
  • Any fonts used in the English version
  • All links (images or graphics) in the English version


What we will deliver

  • Editable typeset files (most likely InDesign)
  • Fonts (Unicode in most languages) but we can also outline all text.
  • PDFs (high resolution and low resolution)


The Process of Multilingual Desktop Publishing

Once the translation has been finalised, layout can start. Our desktop publishing unit is staffed by experienced operators with a vast knowledge of the intricacies of multilingual layout, fonts and software who are very skilled at reproducing clients’ original English templates for the required foreign language versions and emulate their feel and look.

Proofreading takes place after layout and is usually performed by the original translator. Proofreading identifies and corrects typographical errors, punctuation errors, misspelled words, font issues, and formatting inconsistencies. If any corrections are required, these are advised by the original translator. The translator proofreads the final document to make sure it is error-free and possibly insert some last minute changes.

Language Professionals follows rigorous in-house checking procedures once all layout and proofreading tasks are completed to ensure that the document is of the highest quality and looks highly professional. In-house check is performed by Language Professionals‘ staff and will double-check punctuation, formatting, telephone numbers

Are you designing a brochure that will be translated into other languages?

Here are a few tips:

  • Leave plenty of white space – Bear in mind that some European languages can be 50% longer than English. In contrast, Chinese can be 50% shorter.
  • Avoid tight headers/mastheads – When translated, they may become three lines of text.
  • Avoid justified text – It will often look full of holes in languages with long words.
  • Avoid colouring some words within a sentence – To emphasize some words, we sometimes want to make them a different colour, font size or weight. However, this may not be a wise choice on a translation. Other languages have very different grammar from English, what you aimed for visually in your English design may disappear in the translated material, or it may not look as good.
  • Avoid multiple fonts and font weights – The fonts you use for the English materials may not work for other languages. This being said, we’ll try our best to recreate the feel of your original!
  • Remember that Arabic reads from right to left and that brochures also open from the back when you go to your printer.

What about typographical conventions?

These vary from one language to the next. French has a space between the word and the question mark that follows. In German, nouns take capital letters. In Spanish and French, neither months nor days of the week take an initial capital. A Greek question mark will look like a semi colon, etc…

To discuss your future multilingual DTP requirements, please contact Petr or Françoise on (02) 9356 1600. Or email us: translation@langpro.com.au


Read More

Go to our page on Multilingual Desktop Publishing 

Modern Chinese typically involves two main forms of writing: Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, an effort to increase the literacy rate resulted in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) making the decision to simplify the written Chinese language. Thus two distinct versions of written Chinese came into being – Traditional and Simplified Chinese.

Chinese characters are the system of symbols used to write Chinese. Unlike an alphabet which represents only sounds, each Chinese character has a unique meaning. Altogether there are over 50,000 characters, though a comprehensive modern dictionary will rarely list over 20,000 in use. An educated Chinese person will know about 8,000 characters, but you will only need about 2-3,000 to be able to read a newspaper.

Simplified Chinese

Traditional Chinese

Simplified Chinese is the “modern” script used in China and Singapore. The simplified script saw a reduction of the number of strokes per character and a reduction of the number of characters in common use.

Traditional Chinese is the original Chinese script. It is still in use today in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and many overseas Chinese communities, including Australia up until recently. However, Simplified Chinese is gradually gaining popularity among overseas Chinese as more mainland Chinese emigrate and travel abroad.

Did you know that…

more people speak Mandarin than any other language in the world? China is the most heavily populated country in the world with over 1.33 billion people.

77% of Chinese visitors to Australia reported they could not speak English well or at all? Making Chinese travellers feel welcome to our beautiful State is pivotal to enhancing the visitor experience. At the most basic level this involves providing consistent and excellent customer service, more Chinese ‘speaking’ staff and improved Chinese signage.

What is Mandarin and what is Cantonese? And what about Taiwanese?

The Chinese script, or writing, should not be confused with the spoken language (or dialect). Mandarin, Cantonese and Taiwanese are all Chinese dialects.

Mandarin is the major dialect of China, the “common language” spoken by about 70% of the total population. With close to 850 million speakers, Mandarin Chinese is by far the world’s largest language. Standard Mandarin is the official language of

  • the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • Singapore.

Cantonese is the dialect of Yue Chinese spoken in:

  • the vicinity of Canton (i.e. Guangzhou) in southern China.
  • Hong Kong (alongside English)
  • Macau (alongside Portuguese).
    It is traditionally the most spoken Chinese dialect among overseas Chinese communities, but the use of Cantonese is now diminishing in favour of Mandarin.

Taiwanese (or Taiwanese Hokkien) is spoken by 70% of the population of Taiwan, although Standard Mandarin is the official language of the ROC.

Keep in mind however that Chinese has eight major dialect groups: Putonghua (Mandarin), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan and Hakka PLUS many sub-dialects. Note that in China the various regional languages are considered dialects, even though they are probably closer to being distinct languages.

Read more…

More useful information can be found in the brochure ”Ni Hao China”, produced by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.

The Australia–China Council has also produced an Australian Guide to Chinese Language Publishing and Translating to assist Australian organisations and individuals engaging in or planning Chinese publishing.

The current list of Australian Government agencies that have access to the Department of Human Services cooperative procurement programme in which Language Professionals participates (service category: translation) has grown to 36 agencies:

Attorney General’s Department; Austrade; Australian Aged Care Quality Agency; Australian Bureau of Statistics; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Australian Competition and Consumer Commission; Australian Crime Commission; Australian Electoral Commission; Australian Office of Financial Management; Australian Organ and Tissue Authority; Australian Public Service Commission; Australian Securities and Investments Commission; Australian Skills Quality Authority; Australian Taxation Office; Clean Energy Regulator; ComSuper; CrimTrac; Defence Housing Australia; Department of Communications; Department of Defence; Department of Education; Department of Employment; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Department of Health; Department of Human Services; Department of Immigration and Border Protection; Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development; Department of Parliamentary Services; Department of Social Services; Department of the Environment; Department of Treasury; Department Department of Veterans’ Affairs; Fair Work Commission; Murray Darling Basin Authority; National Health and Medical Research Council; Productivity Commission.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) started in July 2013. Translated fact sheets were produced to help with the transition: http://www.adhc.nsw.gov.au/publications/adhc_publications_in_your_language

Language Professionals has been translating Centrelink International claim forms for many years. Australia has formal social security agreements with particular countries that allow you to claim a Centrelink payment while you are living in an agreement country. Translated bilingual forms can be found at: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms/international-claim-forms

In 2014, Language Professionals also secured a contract as exclusive provider of translations for the Office of the MARA, the Migration Agents Registration Authority, which is an office of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). The languages currently required include but are not limited to: Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Dari, Dinka, Farsi (Persian), French, Hindi, German, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Karen, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish, Bahasa Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepali, Portuguese, Russian, Sinhalese, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tigrinya, Vietnamese, Urdu. Translated documents of the Consumer Guide and Tips for using a registered migration agent can be found at www.mara.gov.au/languages/amharic

Translation Memory Software (CAT tools) or Machine Translation.

The primary reasons for implementing either technology are speed, cost savings, and consistency:

  • Speed – Machine translation significantly reduces the time required to translate large volumes of text. CAT tools can also speed up the process for documents with large amounts of repeats.
  • Cost savings – By reducing the need for human involvement, both technologies can reduce overall translation costs.
  • Consistency – Because the systems draw on pretranslated dictionaries and databases, respectively, both technologies allow for significant gains in translation consistency.

It should be noted however that the human translators’ involvement is always required.

Translation Memory (TM) — a translator’s tool

Translation Memory software, also called Computer Assisted Translation, is designed to improve the quality and efficiency of the human translation process, not to replace it. Translation memory software or CAT tools work by saving words and phrases that the human translator has encountered and translated, and storing them into a database for future use. When the same or similar text segment are encountered again, the translation memory software searches the translations previously stored in the memory. It may be an exact match, a “fuzzy” match (nearly the same but not quite…) or no match. The translator then goes through and reviews the translation as a final edit. As the translation progresses, the translation memory grows —essentially a sort of reference built and used by the translator him/herself. This can decrease the time used on future translations while increasing consistency.

Documents and projects which would be good candidates for use of TM tools include those that are:

  • Highly repetitive
  • Technical
  • Large volume translations
  • Updates of previously translated materials

Examples of CAT tools are DejaVu, memoQ, Trados, Wordfast but there are many others. Language Professionals uses DejaVu.

Machine Translation (MT)

MT software aims to replace the human translator. It uses algorithms to analyze the grammar and syntax of source segments according to previously defined rules. It then queries a dictionary to produce a translated segment without human intervention. MT output is generally not good enough to be published without extensive human post-editing. In addition, machine translation can only be used for a limited number of supported languages.

This is how Google explains the process for the Google translator: Inside Google Translate

Google Translate’s basically sifts through large piles of data — in this case, text, billions of words of text, consisting of examples of human translations, and finds patterns. Google refers to this process “Statistical Machine Translation”, or SMT. SMT is built on the premise of probabilities. For each segment of source text, there are a number of possible target segments with a varying degree of probability of being the correct translation. The software will select the segment with the highest statistical probability.

Another model of Machine Translation is the so-called “Rule-Based Machine Translation”, or RBMT. Rule-based Machine Translation is built on the premise that a language is based on sets of grammatical and syntactic rules. In order to obtain the translation of a segment, the software will need bilingual dictionaries/glossaries for the specified language pair, a set of linguistic rules for the sentence structure of each language and a set of rules to link the two sentence structures together. These requirements can be time-consuming and expensive to create and must be done each time a new language pair is required. RBMT however will produce better quality.

Machine Translation quality is not perfect and may never be so, but it is continuously improving. In experienced and informed hands, it is a useful linguistic tool to translate large volumes of the right content, in conjunction with Translation Memory, glossaries, style guides and human translators or post-editors. It’s also useful for individuals to get the gist of some documents.

Language Professionals provides interpreting and translation services in over 100 languages and dialects.

If you require professional translations to or from a language or dialect that is not listed below, contact Language Professionals. We may still be able to help.

Afrikaans translations
Albanian <> English translations
Amharic <> English translations
Arabic <> English translations
Armenian <> English translations
Assyrian translations
Bengali/Bengla translations
Bielorussian translations
Bosnian translations
Bulgarian translations
Burmese translations
Cambodian/Khmer translations
Cantonese translations
Chaldean translations
Chin translations
Chinese translations
Croatian translations
Czech translations
Danish translations
Dari translations
Dinka translations
Dutch translations
Estonian translations

Farsi/Persian translations
Fijian translations
Filipino translations
Finnish translations
French translations
German translations
Greek translations
Gujarati translations
Hazaragi translations
Hebrew translations
Hindi translations
Hmong translations
Hungarian translations
Indonesian translations
Italian translations
Japanese translations
Kannada translations
Karen translations
Khmer/Cambodian translations
Kirundi translations
Korean translations
Krio translations
Kurdish (Sorani) translations

Kurdish (Kurmanji) translations
Lao translations
Latin translations
Latvian translations
Lithuanian translations
Macedonian translations
Malay translations
Malayalam translations
Maltese translations
Mandarin translations
Mongolian translations
Nepalese/Nepali translations
Norwegian translations
Nuer translations
Oromo translations
Persian/Farsi translations
Polish translations
Portuguese translations
Punjabi translations
Pushto translations
Romanian translations
Russian translations
Samoan translations

Serbian translations
Sinhalese/Sinhala translations
Slovak translations
Slovene translations
Somali translations
Spanish translations
Swahili translations
Swedish translations
Taiwanese translations
Tamil translations
Tetum translations
Thai translations
Tigrinya translations
Tongan translations
Turkish translations
Ukrainian translations
Urdu translations
Vietnamese translations
Zulu translations
and more…

Did you know…

  • It’s estimated that up to 7,000 different languages are spoken around the world by 7 billion people divided into 189 independent states.
  • 90% of these languages are used by less than 100,000 people.
  • The world’s most widely spoken languages by number of native speakers and as a second language, according to figures from UNESCO (The United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), are: Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French.
  • The United Nations uses six official languages to conduct business: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Arabic.
  • The European Union has 24 official and working languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish and Swedish.
  • With a permanent staff of 1,750 linguists and 600 support staff, the European Commission has one of the largest translation services in the world, bolstered by a further 600 full-time and 3,000 freelance interpreters.
  • 2,200 of the world’s languages can be found in Asia, while Europe has a mere 260. There are 1,250 to 2,100 and by some counts over 3,000 languages spoken natively in Africa.
  • Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country with a total of 750 languages in some 30 different language families, spoken by a population of roughly 4 million. Most of these languages are very small and endangered at great risk of not being passed on the next generation.
  • South Africa has 11 official languages – the most for a single country. The US has no official language.
  • About 18% of Australians speak a language other than English. Australian Indigenous languages are spoken by about 0.3% of the total population. The most common languages other than English are: Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
  • The first language you learn, your mother tongue, usually comes with little conscious effort. If you’re lucky, you might even acquire more than one language in the so-called ‘critical period’ of language learning, believed to end sometime between ages 4-12.
  • At least half of the world’s population are bilingual or plurilingual, i.e. they speak two or more languages.
  • The full Bible is available in 531 languages and 2,883 languages have at least some portion of the Bible. The pope tweets in 9 languages, including Latin. You can also use an ATM in Latin in Vatican City.

IATE (InterActive Terminology for Europe) is the terminology database for all European Union institutions. http://iate.europa.eu

TermCoord offers glossaries from European Union institutions and bodies, by topic and by language. The glossaries cover a wide range of domains such as legal affairs, environment, medicine, consumer protection, human rights, economy and many others. http://termcoord.eu/glossarylinks/

European Commission Translation and Drafting Resources – Language resources and useful links, online dictionaries, glossaries, national sites for every EU language. http://ec.europa.eu/translation/index_en.htm

UNTERM, the United Nations Terminology Database, provides terminology in subjects relevant to the work of the United Nations. Information is provided in the six UN official languages, and there are also entries in German and Portuguese. http://unterm.un.org

WIPO’s multilingual terminology portal gives access to scientific and technical terms derived from patent documents. It helps promote accurate and consistent use of terms across different languages, and makes it easier to search and share scientific and technical knowledge. http://www.wipo.int/wipopearl/search/linguisticSearch.html

Termium Plus: Maintained by the Translation Bureau, the federal organization responsible for supporting the Government of Canada in its efforts to communicate with and provide services for Canadians in French and English. http://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca

Le grand dictionnaire terminologique ou GDT est une banque de fiches terminologiques rédigées par l’Office québécois de la langue française ou des partenaires de l’Office. A French resource, but some other Latin languages covered. http://gdt.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/

The Alexandria Library resources for translators: Glossaries and downloadable TMs. Mostly EU countries. https://alexandria-translation-resources.com/resources-for-translation-providers/

Librairie du Liban is a major publisher of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries in the Arab World. You can search most of their dictionaries for free. Arabic, but also English, French, Spanish, and German. http://www.ldlp-dictionary.com/

Linguee is a unique translation tool combining an editorial dictionary and a search engine with which you can search billions of bilingual texts for words and expressions. Compared to traditional online dictionaries, Linguee contains about 1,000 times more translated texts, which are displayed in full sentences. Linguee shows translations for expressions such as “strong evidence,” “strong relationship,” or “strong opinion,” and even for rare expressions or specific technical terms. http://www.linguee.com

MyMemory is the world’s largest collaborative translation memory. It works like a linguistic search engine which you can use to look up translated segments and terminology in any language pair and subject domain. Tick the “More context” checkbox to see more context around your search term. https://mymemory.translated.net/

Search ProZ.com’s translation dictionaries and glossaries for medical, legal, technical and other specialized terms, in Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese, Arabic and many other languages. http://www.proz.com/search/

Acronym finder is the world’s largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms and abbreviations, with more than 1,000,000 human-edited definitions. http://www.acronymfinder.com

Microsoft’s language Portal. Access the Microsoft translator, but also free language skins for Windows, Office, and Visual Studio in more than 50 languages. The Bing Translator is also powered by the Microsoft translator. 52 languages supported. http://www.microsoft.com/language/en-us/default.aspx

The infamous Google Translate, now supporting 90 languages with various degrees of success. Still handy to get the gist of a foreign text or an idea of word count. https://translate.google.com/

AUSIT – The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators. AUSIT holds events and training workshops throughout the year to provide members the best opportunities to grow as translators & interpreters. http://www.ausit.org/

NAATI – The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters in Australia. http://www.naati.com.au

AALITRA – The Australian Association for Literary Translation is a national organization that promotes an interest in all aspects of literary translation. They sponsor public lectures and events on literary translation and hold periodic conferences with university bodies interested in the theory and practice of literary translation. http://aalitra.org.au/