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“Paul did an excellent piece of work in translating my business’s website into German. The service was good value, had a speedy turnaround and at all times Paul’s translation was thoughtful and intelligent, suggesting improvements not only to the German version but also to the original English. Many thanks! I would definitely recommend Paul / A1 Language Services for any translation work.”
Catherine Potter, Joint Proprietor, Bambú Holiday Resort, Benamocarra (Málaga), December 2009

A1 Translations: Frequently Asked Questions

How much will it cost?

altTranslation prices vary.  While high prices do not necessarily guarantee high quality, low prices will almost certainly not give you the quality of translation that your company, product or service demands.  After all, if a translator is charging little more than a cleaner or babysitter, they are unlikely to be giving your job the attention and care it deserves.


Who should translate?

Always use a professional.  Professionals only translate into their native language.  Professionals get their work checked and proofread to ensure top quality.

Translations are often done by non-native speakers struggling away with a grammar book in one hand and a dictionary in the other.  The results are often only good for a laugh and not appropriate for a professional company or organisation.

While using a friend or relative, eg a languages teacher or a languages student may appear attractive and less expensive, you are unlikely to get what you want.  Their skills are rarely the same as those needed to produce a smooth, stylish translation.

See also:

F**cked translations

F**cked translations make Spain a laughing stock!

The translator and the cleaning lady‏


How important is style?

For translation of correspondence received in a language foreign to the client, for example, a rough gist translation may be sufficient, but for a reply or for promotional material such as leaflets, brochures, websites, etc, accuracy and style are very important.

What about translation software?

There is no substitute for a human being.  A machine, such as a computer, cannot possibly hope to understand the nuance or tone of a text, or take into account the style or grammar of the original.  It may not even select the correct word or phrase.  We’ve all seen countless examples of translations which are, quite frankly, nonsense.  Take many tourist leaflets, some websites, countless restaurant menus, even expensive neon signs!

See also:

More translation howlers!

Scum sauce?


Do punctuation and accents matter?

Yes, of course, and different languages have different conventions.  For example, French has a space between a word and the colon that follows, and writes quotation marks « ..... ».  In German, quotation marks are  „ ..... “ and in Spanish hyphens are used.  In German, all nouns begin with a capital letter, and in Spanish and French neither months nor days of the week take an initial capital. And do not use a mere “n” in Spanish when an “ñ” is required, otherwise you risk getting nonsense or causing offence, eg in the USA a bilingual banner celebrated 100 anos of municipal history. Año is year; ano is anus!

Do bilingual people make good translators?

Not necessarily.  Bilinguals, while they may speak two languages fluently, may not always be good at moving information between the two, especially in writing, and they may not be skilled at translation.


Paul Whitelock

Paul WhitelockPaul hat einen Bachelor in Spanisch und Deutsch (BSc) von der Universität Salford in Manchester, England. Er hat auch ein Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PH-Training) und ein Diplom vom Institute of Linguists (MIL).


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