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You'll find here answers to some of the questions we're most commonly asked. If you have a question and you can't find the answer here, don't hesitate to contact us.


Q. Why do you only offer translation from French to English?

Producing a completely natural translation requires a fluency and an "ear" for the target language that, generally speaking, only a native speaker has. Even if you attain a very high standard of fluency and technical accuracy in reading, speaking and writing a foreign language, chances are that you won't have the same the same ability and the same reflexes as in your native language. Some translators, in order to be open to as much work as possible, agree to undertake translations into a language other than their native language. We believe that this can detract from the quality of translation, and we therefore prefer to restrict ourselves to French to English translation only.

Q. Why don't you publish a fixed-price tariff?

Some translators prefer to apply a fixed tariff to all their work; in our view, this approach fails to take into account the diversity of different texts and timescales. Others publish a "base tariff" which is then adjusted for each project; we find that this system can become very complicated. We prefer to keep it simple - rather than publishing a tariff which we then have to change for each project, we'll quote you a price tailored to the requirements of your project, taking into account the nature and length of the text to be translated and the degree of urgency involved.

Q. What is translation?

According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, translation is "an activity comprising the interpretation of the meaning of a text in one language — the source text — and the production, in another language, of a new, equivalent text — the target text, or translation".

Q. What's the difference between translation and interpretation?

Many people use these two terms interchangeably. Strictly speaking, a translator works with written text, whereas an interpreter works orally. A few people work as both translators and interpreters, but as a general rule the two disciplines require different training and skills.

Q. I've heard about automatic or machine translation - does it work?

Computers, however powerful and "intelligent" they may be, will never have the same appreciation and understanding of language as human beings. Even putting aside questions of technical accuracy - which computers already have enough problems with - a computer will always have problems identifying and dealing with cultural differences. Automatic translation can be useful if you want to get a rough idea of the meaning of a simple text, but it will never replace the role of the professional translator. (To try out automatic translation, have a look at Google's language tools page. Have fun!)

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