Arranging translations

Engage the translation service

Determine which language service provider is to be used for the translation. Some departments and agencies have existing arrangements or contracts with particular language service providers which staff are required to use. Check whether this applies to your organisation.

If your organisation does not have a contract with a particular provider and you need to find one, consult the online Community Directory.

Brief the translator

Before the language service provider can quote for the translation, they will need to understand the requirements.

Basic information will include:

  • name of the organisation commissioning the translation
  • the purpose of the translation
  • the audience for the translation. Be specific; state the ethnic group, age, gender and any other details to help the translator determine the appropriate language and style for the translation.
  • how the translated material will be published or broadcast (for example, brochure, website, media release, podcast)
  • any technical requirements such as the computer operating system and software. Check with IT staff to ensure that uncommon language scripts and fonts are enabled on the system. If not, advise the language service provider to determine the best format (for example, MS Word, PDF, Adobe InDesign) for the translation
  • additional information including any deadlines and copyright arrangements if applicable.

Information on the specific job requirements can include:

  • the text to be translated including a glossary of key terms
  • the languages (including dialects) for translation
  • the required credential level for the translator and, if relevant, required specialisation in a particular field (for example, health, legal)
  • independent checking by another translator
  • the need for the translation to be typeset or to be provided in a particular format (for example, HTML or PDF)
  • translation of the glossary of key terms for future reference
  • certification of the translation (for example, for legal purposes) if required
  • confidentiality requirements
  • including the language and title of the document in English on the translated material
  • any elements of the text that do not need to be translated (for example, logo, acronyms, names)

Independent checking

It is highly recommended that translations be independently checked by another translator with at least the same level of credential as the original translator. The language service provider can arrange this for an additional fee. Independent checking ensures quality and accuracy and involves comparing the translation with the original text.

In addition, it is recommended that the translated material be tested with representatives from the target community group.