Document translation consists of taking written text from one language and transfer it into another written text in a different language. An example would be taking a court order written in English and render it into a Swahili document.
Document translation requires excellent understanding of both languages. It also requires a good understanding of certain rules pertaining to translation. For example, knowing who the target reader is will make a huge difference in deciding how to write the document . One word may mean two different things for people coming from different parts of the world. And in some cases it may mean different things even from people coming from different parts of the same country. The word ‘chucha’, which is a Spanish word may mean bad armpit odor in some latin American countries. It also means female reproductive organ in other countries of the same region. It can also be used to describe something that is far away. Same word, same spelling but different meanings. This is where document translation becomes a bit tricky.
Although it may be impossible to know and understand all the slangs of a language, a good translator will do his/her best to familiarize him/herself with all versions of the language. Or at least have resources that will help him/her to decode meanings from words that people do not use commonly. Example, in Kinyarwanda, telling someone “uriya mwana arahiye”may be interpreted as to say, that child is burned; that child is fully cooked; that child is ripe; or that girl(woman) is sexy.
A good translator must be able to understand what the text is saying even when the text uses words in non-conventional ways like in the example above.
Document translation rates
For document translation I charge per word. If the assignment is too small, such as translating a national ID or Diploma, I charge a flat fee. There are different elements that I take into consideration when determining how much to charge for document translation:
– The type of document: technical documents require more time and resources to translate.
– Whether the document needs formatting: formatting requires special software and other skills that are normally outside the scope of the translator’s job.
– The deadline: if the deadline is too tight I must set aside everything else and focus on the one assignment. That will drive up the cost.