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English to Spanish Translation

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. There are many Spanish dialects. How is this handled in the translation process?
  2. How effective are machine translations?
  3. How are English to Spanish translations priced?
  4. Does Strictly Spanish translate into other languages besides Spanish?
  5. Can one of our employees with a basic knowledge of Spanish do the translation?
  6. Should we use a freelancer or a translation company?
  7. How bad is that error?

1) There are many Spanish dialects. How is this handled in the translation process?

There are many Spanish dialects as there are English dialects. But first, let's talk about the Spanish-speaking population in the United States. According to some of the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, 67% of Hispanics are of Mexican descent. Fourteen percent are from Central and South America, 9 percent from Puerto Rico, 4 percent from Cuba, and the remaining 7 percent fall under the category of "other Hispanic origin.” At Strictly Spanish, we use a neutral Spanish. Some people call it broadcast Spanish. It is the Spanish version that all of the above-mentioned Hispanics communicate in and can clearly understand. It is the language that is used in newspapers and in broadcast media (television, radio, etc.). It is free of slang and localisms. It is the language that is used in schools, textbooks, etc. Think about it this way, in the United States and in the world, for that matter, there are many different regional uses of the English language. What you hear in Louisiana might sound different than what you hear in Maine or Arizona. What you hear in the language spoken in Australia or South Africa is definitely different than the English you might hear spoken in New York. However, when books are published, newspapers are printed, or news is broadcast, it is done in a language that can clearly be understood by the entire English-speaking population of the world. For example, CNN broadcasts in English all over the world; Telemundo broadcasts in Spanish all over the world. Neither uses a localized language but a general, neutral basic language that all the different nationalities can understand. Does Stephen King write in different regional English? No, he doesn’t! Does García Márquez (world renowned Spanish writer) write in any Spanish dialect? No, he doesn’t! With that said, if your translation is to be used in Spain, you need to let us know because there are slight differences as compared to the Spanish spoken in the United States. It is similar to the differences in how English is spoken in Great Britain as compared to how English is spoken in the United States. For example, people from Spain use the second person of the plural (vosotros) in current conversation and literature, while that is not used anywhere else. In this situation, we would assign the project to a Spanish translator that is a native of Spain to insure the best possible Spanish translation.

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2) How effective are machine translations?

There are many free translation machines in the Internet. Google has one under its language preference section. Altavista has Babel Fish. Strictly Spanish offers a translation machine on its website. Visit our Spanish Translation Resources page to access it. There are many more and some are better than others. Translation machines are only effective if you are trying to get the gist (basic understanding) of an email or correspondence. However, translation machines have limitations. To clearly see their limitations, translate an email from English to Spanish in a translation machine that you like to use, and then re-translate it back into English. You will find a translation that probably does not read smooth and has lost some of its intended meaning. You should not use machine translations for anything other than getting the gist of an idea, correspondence or email. Your image is too important. There are legal ramifications with faulty translations. You can lose customers and prospective customers through not communicating professionally. If you do not communicate clearly and accurately in the language of your intended audience, they will not take your offering or company seriously.

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3) How are English to Spanish translations priced?

In the translation industry, you will find a wide spectrum of prices for English-Spanish translations. It can be confusing for someone who is trying to hire translation services. It is no different than purchasing any other goods or services. Consider the price ranges for cars, college educations, computers, consulting services, etc. Our services and pricing are geared to clients where quality is very important. Our Spanish translation pricing is not the lowest, but we are very competitive. In the translation industry, pricing is determined by the number of words included in the document, the complexity of the subject matter, and the time the client requires to complete the project. Other factors that affect pricing are formatting, copy-fitting, and type-setting. This can sound complicated, but it does not have to be for a client. Once we have a chance to review the materials that you want translated and discuss with you the format you want them to be returned in, we can give you an actual cost—not an estimate—that we will stand by. Please keep in mind that we cannot give an exact cost until we have reviewed your materials.

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4) Does Strictly Spanish translate into other languages besides Spanish?

No, we do not. Our clients tell us they are skeptical of translation agencies that have brochures and websites that say they translate into and out of all languages. Our philosophy has always been that a translation company shouldn't try to be everything to everybody. A company should have a focus and be better at it than everyone else. Quality is at the core of everything we do, and it is one of the characteristics that separate us from our competitors. It is the main reason why we decided to focus on one language.

To understand that statement you need to know that it takes years to develop a translator that meets our strict quality requirements. Also, it takes time for that translator to become familiar with a client’s projects, terminology and preferences, and that is why the same team is always assigned to the same client, as is the same reviewing editor and proofreader. We know that to develop quality translators in every possible language according to strict requirements would be practically impossible. As a result, many companies that translate lots of languages are passing on to their clients the errors of their translators.

Strictly Spanish guarantees that all translations are done by members of teams organized by specialty, that those translations are then edited by the team leader, and that finally those translations are edited and proofread by a Senior Editor and a Senior Proofreader. We know that our quality control is second to none in the industry and that is the reason why our clients are so thrilled with what we do and keep coming back.

Another reason we focus on English-to-Spanish translations is because we know that clients like to talk directly to someone who speaks the language when they have questions, so when they call our office, they get the answer they are looking for because we have Hispanic translators and editors on staff who can talk directly to the client. How can a company that handles 100 languages do that? Do they have 100 foreign nationals sitting around at their headquarters waiting for the phone to ring?

Although having a one-stop-shopping for all the different languages you need might sound convenient, we believe it sacrifices quality in the long run and the image of your company.

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5) Can one of our employees with a basic knowledge of Spanish do the translation?

Absolutely not. Translating is an art, just like writing is an art. Spanish translators are bilingual linguists who intimately know the two languages. They are also skilled writers who have spent years in college learning all the intricacies of the English and the Spanish language. Another thing to consider is that a professional has to craft the translation so it can be understood by a wide range of nationalities. How many qualified people in your company look at and change an English document before it is suited to be distributed or published? How many people make sure the document is perfect? Shouldn’t your Spanish translation be handled the same way? Certainly your foreign employees or customers deserve the same respect as your English audience. So just like you don’t compromise the quality of your English document, you shouldn't compromise the translated document. After all, it is still your image.

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6) Should we use a freelancer or a translation company?

There are some excellent freelancers, and we certainly use the services of some of the best there are. In our years in the business we are still to find a translation that can be delivered to a client as it was done by the translator without any further editing. When you work with a freelancer directly you are publishing the mistakes of that translator. Working with a reputable translation company assures you that the documents have been looked by at least three professionals eliminating the chance for errors. Just like you have your English documents looked at and signed off by a variety of people at your company, working with a Spanish translation services provider like Strictly Spanish is like having your own Spanish review board. We protect your image.

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7) How bad is that error?

Sometimes when we evaluate a translation that a potential client showed us that was done by a non-professional we point out errors, typos, etc. We always hear the same thing: How bad is the error? Can we live with it? An error is an error is an error, and if you will not allow errors in your English documents, how can you even think that the error is not bad enough in the translated document just because you can’t read it? What constitutes a “good” error? We still have not found a “good” error in all of our years editing and translating. Have you found a “good error” in your English documents you could live with?

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