What is the difference between translation and interpretation?
Translation involves the transferal of the meaning of a written document into another language via writing. A translator is able to make use of reference materials, such as dictionaries and glossaries, during the translation process. For example, a user manual may be translated from English into a variety of foreign languages.

Interpretation is the facilitation of verbal communication between individuals who do not speak the same language. The immediate nature of interpretation prohibits the use of reference materials. For example, in a trial involving a foreign-speaking defendant, any statements by the judge or attorneys will be communicated in Spanish to the defendant, and any statements made by the defendant in Spanish will be repeated in English for the court.

I only asked for one simultaneous interpreter, but your estimate is for two interpreters.
After evaluating your requirements, we may determine that two interpreters are necessary in order to provide the appropriate level of quality. Interpretation is mentally and physically challenging, requiring immediate, accurate conversion of spoken words into another language without the help of reference materials. Accuracy is achieved through intense concentration. Because this activity is so demanding, simultaneous interpreters take turns, generally in 20-minute increments.

Why do I need two sign language interpreters for a 4-hour assignment?
Sign language interpretation is a strenuous physical and mental activity. As a rule of thumb, for any assignment of more than one-hour duration, two sign language interpreters are required.

How do you charge for interpretation?
Interpretation services are generally charged on a half-day or full-day basis. A half-day consists of up to 4 hours, while anything over 4 hours is charged at the full-day (8 hours) rate. Please note that due to the demanding nature of interpretation, interpreters do require regular periods of rest, as well as meal breaks, to maintain a high level of accuracy. We also bill travel time and expenses.

What is your cancellation policy for interpretation?
Our cancellation policy varies depending on the type and length of the assignment and is always spelled out in our estimate letter.

What type of equipment is needed for interpretation?
That depends on the type of assignment. For one-on-one meetings, no special equipment is required. If you have only one attendee at a seminar who does not speak English, we may recommend whisper interpretation, which also does not require specialized equipment.

However, for events involving more than two or three foreign participants, we may recommend the use of a portable microphone so that all of the participants are able to hear the interpreter. For seminars with a number of non-English speaking attendees, you will need a microphone for the speakers and the interpreters. An international conference has the most specialized equipment requirements, such as soundproof booths for the interpreters, headsets with channels so that the participants can listen to the language of their choice, microphones, etc. In addition, it is important to work with a language service provider that knows the small details, such as the fact that infrared equipment will not work in a room that is painted green.

What languages do you translate?
We’ve provided language services in more than 100 languages. Please see our language listing for more details. If you don’t see your language on the list, please let us know. We specialize in languages of limited diffusion and are experts at locating qualified linguists through our networks. If anyone can find a Temne or Bambara interpreter with a secret clearance and background in aviation technology, we can!

I need a document translated? How do I proceed?
First, obtain a price estimate by e-mailing, faxing, or mailing us a copy of the document to be translated. If the document is large, please send between five (5) to ten (10) representative pages. To receive the most accurate estimate, follow the guidelines on our pricing page.

After you approve the estimate, send us the complete document and any previous translations or background materials you may have that will be helpful to our linguists. We’ll get started promptly and will contact you occasionally with a status report or questions.

When the translation and quality review process are complete, we’ll send the translation to you via your preferred method and will call or e-mail you to confirm your receipt and satisfaction.

What is your standard turnaround time for translations?
We’re among the fastest in the industry. Your estimate will include our lowest price for the services and turnaround time you require. The number of words that can be translated, edited, proofread, and formatted varies depending on the language, subject matter, and other requirements. The best quality and terminology consistency is achieved using one translator and one editor; however, we understand that deadlines may require alternative solutions. For a tight deadline or high volume of documents, we can assemble a team of translators, editors, and proofreaders to get your job done well and on time.

What software do you use?
We work with all files in all major word-processing and desktop publishing formats, including WordPerfect, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, PageMaker, QuarkXpress, and HTML for websites. We also use a variety of translation memory software packages to ensure consistent terminology use on large projects.

Do you use machine translation?
There’s a time and a place for machine translation (MT), but it does not provide the level of accuracy or polish our clients generally require for documents that are to be printed, published, or distributed to clients and/or the public. It takes more time (and is more costly) to edit machine-translated text up to an acceptable level than it does to have a person translate it in the first place. MT can be useful if you have large volumes of machine-readable, repetitive text – Caterpillar, for example, has developed machine translation systems for their numerous equipment manuals and their frequent updates.

Some government agencies find machine translation helpful to obtain the gist in English of large volumes of foreign language documents.

What is the difference between translation and transcription?
Transcription involves transferring recorded language into a written transcript. Using a tape recording of a Spanish-language interview as an example, while listening to the tape, a transcriber produces a written transcript of the interview in Spanish. A translator then translates the Spanish transcript into English.

We only have one copy of these tapes. Are my originals safe with ILS?
Yes, we follow strict policies for safeguarding client materials. If possible, we recommend that you make a copy of the tapes for yourself. You’ll obtain better quality if we work from the originals.

How long will it take me to learn a foreign language?
That will depend on a number of factors, including the relative difficulty of the language you wish to learn, whether you’ve studied the language (or a similar language) before, your level of motivation in learning, and the amount of time you are willing or able to spend practicing between classes. Please call us, and one of our advisors will be happy to discuss your situation and make recommendations.

How do I obtain a copy of your client listing?
We follow a strict policy of confidentiality on each project. We don’t release any information about our clients or their projects without permission.

I’ve never worked with your company before. Can I obtain references?
Yes, of course. After you’ve reviewed our estimate, we’ll be happy to request authorization from clients for whom we’ve provided similar services so that you may contact them directly.

Can you provide a certified translation?
Yes, we can. Please let us know that you require a certified translation when you request an estimate. There is no additional charge for certification, but it is important for us to know that certification is required prior to beginning the project. We do, however, charge an additional fee for notarization.

What is your payment policy?
We generally require payment in advance for small projects and first-time clients. Depending on the complexity and nature of the project, we sometimes require a down payment. For clients who have established contracts or credit accounts with us, we will bill small projects upon completion. Long-term projects may be billed weekly. Our invoice terms are net 30, unless stated otherwise in the contract.

What if I’m not satisfied with your work?
Thanks to our stringent Quality Assurance/ Quality Control procedures, our clients are rarely dissatisfied with the quality of our work. However, on those rare occasions, we take complete responsibility for correcting any problems. We take immediate action to remedy the situation to the client’s satisfaction.
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