Here are some commonly asked questions by customers looking to purchase interpretation and translation services. The answers may help you when hiring Directory professionals.


Why are two interpreters required for events lasting more than one hour?

Interpretation work demands a high level of concentration from those involved. Presentations over one hour in length require that two interpreters take turns, allowing one interpreter to rest for 20 minutes and/or help his colleague with terminology, and thus ensuring the quality of the service. This procedure is regulated by the National Union of Translators (Sintra)*.

How many interpreters are needed for liaison services?

If there are pauses during the course of the work, it may be possible for a single interpreter to handle the job alone. The customer, however, must be very clear regarding the service he needs. When the work entails more than one hour of uninterrupted activity, it is best to have a second professional in order to assure quality.

What is the difference between consecutive and simultaneous interpretation? When should each be used?

In consecutive interpretation, the speaker delivers his speech in chunks, that is to say, he/she speaks and then waits for the translator to deliver the translation. This continues for the length of the speech. In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter simultaneously translates the speaker’s words. For events with a small audience, consecutive interpretation is a good choice, but one should be aware that this will cause the duration of the talk to increase considerably – even double. For larger events, simultaneous interpretation is recommended. The customer should provide as much information about the presentation or talk to be interpreted as possible so that the interpreter can properly prepare.

What equipment is needed for simultaneous interpretation?

For simultaneous interpretation, a room with an acoustic insulated booth is required. The interpreters work with headphones and a microphone, which can be coupled. An audio technician makes sure the speaker’s voice reaches the interpreter’s headphones clearly so that his interpretation can then be conveyed to the audience through their headphones.

What is the difference between an active language and a passive language?

Usually, languages are classified in three categories: A, B, C.If the interpreter speaks a language fluently it is called one of his 'active' languages; if he/she understands a language perfectly but does not speak it so fluently, it is said to be one of his or her 'passive' languages.
Languages A and B are normally languages that interpreters work from and into, and a passive language is considered language C, one that he understands perfectly but into which he does not translate. When you perform your search in the Directory you will find only interpreter’s A and B languages, though some of our members have passive languages listed in their résumé/CV.

In cases involving travel, how does that change interpretation pricing?

Generally speaking, travel, transportation, food and lodging expenses are covered by the client. This is case-specific and depends on the specificities of each service to be provided.

Are the interpreters experts in all areas? If not, how do they prepare for technical events?

We ask clients to send as much information as possible about the lecture or presentation to be translated beforehand, so that the interpreter can prepare accordingly. In general, one to two days are needed for the interpreter to study the terminology.If necessary, we can sign a confidentiality agreement.

*The Directory includes interpreters and translators from various countries who charge different rates, as regulated by their Associations and Unions.


How is the translation rate calculated?

A translation rate/fee is calculated either by the number of words or by the lauda/page. Upon receiving the original document, the professional counts the words and calculates the price. Prices and how pages are counted can vary from country to country. An additional fee is added for urgent translations.

What is the difference between a translation and a version?

A translation is a written document that has been translated from one language into the translator’s native language. A version is a written document translated from the translator’s native language to a different language. The National Union of Translators (Sintra)* suggests a higher fee for versions than for translations.

What if there are changes to a document after the work has started?

The delivery date will need to be renegotiated according to the changes, and the final price will also be adjusted. To avoid setbacks, clients should make every effort to make all necessary changes before sending the document to be translated.

Are the translations done by the Directory’s professionals reviewed? Do they offer proofing services as well?

Yes, the Directory translators have their translations reviewed by others, according to the case-specific need. Some professionals also offer proofing services, and we recommend hiring professional proofreaders.

What is a certified translation?

This is a translation done by a certified translator who has passed a specific test conducted by the Commercial Registry of his region. The sworn translator has a registry book in which he keeps a copy of all the documents he has translated. A certified translation is considered a legal document and can be recognized as such outside national territory.

Do contracts need to be translated by certified translators?

Agreements do not need to be translated by a certified translator, unless the document has to be legalized.

*The Directory includes interpreters and translators from various countries who charge different rates, as regulated by their Associations and Unions.

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