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Frequently Asked Questions

We have the answers – When you have questions about interpreting or translation services, come to Rapport International to help you make an informed decision about communicating with diverse, multicultural audiences at home and around the world.

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General Questions:

What is the difference between translation and interpreting?

Translation is the transformation of the written word from one language to another. Interpreting is the conversion of the spoken word from one language to another.

Click to learn more about translation and interpretation.

How can I have the best experience when working with a language service provider?

Here are a few things you can do to ensure the outcome of your project is successful:

  • Communicate your challenges, goals, needs, and preferences at the beginning of the project.
  • For translation projects:
    • Optimize your materials for translation by writing in clear, unambiguous Global English and only submitting finalized files.
    • Be open and available for questions as they arise.
    • Have realistic expectations and allow enough time for translators to complete the project.
  • For interpreting projects:
    • Learn best practices for working with an interpreter for clear communications and a stress-free experience.
    • Plan ahead and schedule interpreters in advance to ensure availability.
    • Speak clearly and slowly so the interpreter can keep up and faithfully convey your message.
  • Provide feedback – good and bad – to your project manager to improve future outcomes.

Our goal is to build long-term relationships with clients; we work as your partner, managing all your language service needs.

What is Rapport International’s policy on confidentiality?

We are often privy to sensitive and private information during the regular course of service delivery. Our translators, interpreters, and office staff adhere to all applicable agreements, rules, and regulations and maintain confidentiality with the utmost care. We comply with all industry requirements and regard every document and interaction with the same level of care. We will sign our standard non-disclosure agreement or yours, as requested.

What software and technology does Rapport International support?

We support most systems and software in all languages that we translate. For further discussion of your project requirements, please contact us directly.

Does Rapport International use AI or machine translation software?

Currently, all of our translation and editing is done by professional human translators. AI and machine translation is improving, but it is our belief that at this time, only humans can provide the high-quality output upon which we stake our reputation. In the future, as these tools continue to progress, we may look at implementing a hybrid human/machine model.

Rapport International does use Translation Memory (TM) software as part of our project management process. TM tools are software programs that automate the storage of matching source and target language segments for future use. TM records are kept for each client and provide future cost- and time-saving opportunities by consolidating commonly used terms and phrasing.

Would you recommend using AI or machine translation software?

At this time we do not recommend using any AI or machine translation tools for anything other than a “gist” translation. If you just need a general idea of what a document is about, it’s usually fine to use automated translation software. You can also consider using AI or machine translation tools if you have a high volume of repetitive text that is not confidential, with low risk of liability. In either case you need to be willing and able to manage and verify the data to avoid hallucinations or bad results. If the material represents you and/or your company in an integral way, professional translation services are imperative. Learn more about AI and machine translation.

Cost Questions:

Visit our translation pricing and interpreter pricing pages for more information.

How much does translation cost?

Translation costs are dependent upon several factors, including the type of service needed, the language pair, the turnaround time, and the level of expertise required. You also need to look at the VALUE of the service being provided – look for an LSP that offers linguistic matchmaking, guarantees quality, provides cost-saving suggestions, and insists on transparency.

At Rapport International, every translation project includes:

  • Industry-specific linguistic matchmaking for consistency of voice
  • A dedicated team
  • Transparent project management
  • Localization and cultural adaptation
  • Proofreading
  • Process, cost-, and time-saving strategies
  • Quality control and assurance
  • Secure file management and data exchange
  • Our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Learn more about the cost of translation.

How Much Do Interpreting Services Cost?

Interpretation costs depend on the type of interpreting service needed, time of day, length of the assignment, location, equipment needs, and travel expenses. Each service type may also charge in different ways – by the hour, minute, level of service, language, etc.

At Rapport International, interpretation services include:

  • Project management
  • Dedicated team of schedulers and interpreters
  • Easy access a scheduling portal
  • Team training
  • 24/7 customer service

Learn more about interpreting costs.

Do you have a minimum fee?

Yes. Our minimum fee for written translation is $95 for most languages, non-rush.

Our minimum charge for in-person spoken interpretation ranges between 1-2 hours based on several factors; for VRI there is a 20-minute minimum. There is no minimum charge for on-demand over-the-phone interpreting services.

What are your payment terms?

We require a 50% deposit on all projects estimated at over $5,000; the balance is invoiced when the project is complete. For projects under $5,000, we bill upon delivery of services. All invoices are net 30 days.

Translation Questions:

For answers about specific translation subjects like marketing or website translation, navigate to our translation service pages and scroll to the FAQs there.

Visit our Translation Services overview page for more information.

What is your process for assigning a translator to my project?

We take the time to understand your needs then assign a translator who has experience in your industry, the goal being to establish a partnership that will last over time. Future projects are easier and much more cost-effective when you’ve found your “match,” the right team of dedicated translators that understand your business and voice and provide consistent translations over time. Learn more about our unique linguistic matchmaking process.

How does Rapport International qualify and assign translators?

Rapport International screens translators when hiring, as well as during project assignments. Our translators must be native speakers of the target language and possess these skills, among others:

  • A solid command of grammar and syntax in both source and target languages.
  • American Translators Association certification and/or years of professional experience.
  • Training in or previous experience with the subject matter.
  • Proven experience with and knowledge of local cultures.
  • The ability to transfer the exact meaning, voice, style, and emotion of the original message to every translation.
  • Attention to detail.

Once assigned to a client we do our best to maintain the translator/client pairing on future projects to help them build a deeper understanding of the company’s style, needs, and preferences, which instills time- and cost-efficiencies into future projects.

Can my bilingual employee do my translations?

Although it may seem like a good idea to use a bilingual employee as your internal translator – they know the business and company lingo, they are accessible, it wouldn’t cost additional money – there are several reasons it may not be a good idea, including:

  • Lost productivity in relation to the employee’s actual job requirements.
  • A potential lack of the grammar and writing skills needed to produce high-quality translations.
  • Lack of knowledge or inherent biases involving the target culture, leading to unintentional mistranslation.
  • A tendency to make assumptions when words or phrases are ambiguous, changing the meaning simply to complete the project.

Utilizing an employee or a free machine translation tool is helpful when quality doesn’t matter and you just need to know the “gist” of something that is written in another language. But to get the highest quality translation, find a professional translation company. Factors to consider when searching for a partner agency include:

  • Do they offer the services you need?
  • Do they have experience and expertise in your industry?
  • Do they offer a quality guarantee?
  • Are they easy to work with? What do their prior customers have to say about them?

Learn more about asking an employee to do your translations and about choosing a translation company.

Can my distributor or overseas vendor do my translations for me?

It may be tempting to ask your overseas distributor or vendor to do your translations for you – they are familiar with your product, may charge less than a language service provider, and will be eager to get the job done to shorten the time to market. Without exception, your distributor will not be able to provide the level of service you get when you partner with a professional translation company, especially with regard to cultural adaptation and localization. When the material is important to your brand, sales, and reputation, it’s best to use a trusted language service provider. Learn more about the drawbacks to using a distributor for translation by reading our blog or listening to our podcast.

Are free online translation tools good enough to use for my translations?

In a word, no. Online translation tools such as Google Translate and generative AI tools like ChatGPT might seem like a good option because they’re quick and free, but using these tools comes with risks. This is especially true for highly technical documentation with niche terminology or unique jargon, or with stylized marketing messages that are meant to elicit an emotional response. Don’t take the risk – it’s better to partner with a translation company that will assign a skilled translator with experience in your industry. Learn more about AI translation and Google Translate.

How long does it take to complete a translation?

Generally, translation time estimates include 1 day for every 1000 words plus time for project management. Rushed timelines are available for an additional fee. Learn more about translation timelines here.

What is a certified translation? And do I need one?

A certified translation has been notarized by a member of the agency responsible for the translation, attesting to its completion and accuracy. Generally, certified translations are only required for information for the government, like translated visas or birth certificates, or for regulatory scientific/technical documents such as pharmaceutical research results or clinical trial notes. Learn more about certified translations here.

Do I need to translate every email?

Translating emails one at a time can become costly and slow down sales and service, and using a quick AI or machine translation tool may result in errors when answering questions. We recommend developing then translating a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which can be sent in response to every email inquiry, saving time and money and keeping messaging consistent.

How do I communicate and answer customer questions if they speak another language?

When customers contact you in a different language, consider using interpreting services to facilitate communication – over-the-phone, Zoom, or in-person services are available to meet your needs. We also recommend developing, translating, and adding to your website a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to which you can direct customers, to proactively address the questions you hear most often.

What other services might I need after getting my materials translated?

As a full-service language service provider, Rapport International offers all the services you need to design, layout, and format translation projects large and small, from websites and multimedia assets like audio and video to marketing materials and technical documents. We guarantee accurate communication and culturally adapt printed and visual content appropriately for each target audience. Continue exploring our website to learn more about the types of services we provide and contact us if you have any questions.

Interpreting Questions:

For answers about specific interpretation subjects like conference or over-the-phone interpreting, navigate to our interpreting service pages and scroll to the FAQs there.

Visit our Interpreting Services overview page for more information.

What are the types of interpreting?

There are two basic types of interpreting: simultaneous (or “conference”), where an interpreter listens and interprets at the same time, and consecutive, when an interpreter listens and waits for a pause before delivering the message in another language. Similarly, there are different modes of interpreting services – in-person, telephonic, and virtual. Learn about using interpreting services here.

How do I find a good interpreter?

Look for an agency that offers a full range of interpreting services and matches you with an interpreter experienced in your industry. Credentialing differs according to need – for example, state courts require written and oral exams for court interpreters – and a high-quality agency will be transparent about its interpreters’ training and skills. Look specifically for interpreters trained in active listening and memory skills, cultural competence, objectivity, and ethics. Learn more about Interpreter skill sets here.

Can’t I just use an employee or family member to interpret for me?

Using a bilingual employee, friend, or family member will compromise any interaction – personal opinions or commentary or a lack of familiarity and understanding of relevant terms and concepts can result in the delivery of erroneous or incomplete information. There may also be cultural traditions and nuances that interfere with the information being conveyed. And certain industries – legal, healthcare, and education, for example – require professional interpreting services by law. Ensure accurate, impartial, and confidential communication by always relying on a professionally trained interpreter. Read more about the risks here.

How do I schedule an interpreter?

Here at Rapport International you have several options for scheduling an interpreter: phone, email, or client portal. Our schedulers are available to take your requests and assign the best interpreter for your needs 24/7. Reach out today.

How do you work effectively with an interpreter?

There are things you can do to make your experience working with a consecutive interpreter more efficient and effective. When both the client and the interpreter follow best practice guidelines, communications go more smoothly.

  • Speak slowly and clearly, pausing between thoughts to give the interpreter time to convey your message.
  • Look at and speak directly to the person you are communicating with, not the interpreter.
  • If issues arise, pause and address them immediately to get the conversation back on track.

Learn more by watching the webinar Interpreting – Best Practices.

Multicultural Workforce Questions:

Visit our Multilingual and Global Workforce Services overview page for more information.

What are the benefits of employing individuals who may not be fluent in the local language?

There are many benefits to hiring linguistically and culturally diverse team members:

  • Varied experiences and knowledge, which together promote creativity and novel problem-solving.
  • Access to local hardworking, qualified community members with limited English proficiency – an approachable, welcoming HR strategy can inspire word-of-mouth recruitment.
  • Insight into other cultures to customize messaging, scaling sales and future growth and building a new local customer base who feel welcome and engaged.
  • Outstanding customer service. Customers are more loyal to companies fluent in their language.
  • A company makeup that resembles the global landscape.

And so much more. Learn more about the benefits of embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

How can I hire, engage, and retain employees who don’t speak my language?

Translate to attract local non- or limited English-speaking job applicants and provide interpreters during job fairs and interviews to demonstrate support and awareness of your surrounding community. Having language services always at the ready gives you a distinct advantage over employee engagement and retention – it proves your commitment to long-term, meaningful relationships and an understanding of our increasingly diverse demographics.

Read our case study of a Massachusetts-based manufacturer who achieved success by embracing and celebrating a local, multicultural workforce.

What strategic services do you provide for managing employees who speak different languages?

Managing a multilingual or global workforce can pose some challenges. We help you create and implement communication strategies and documented processes that mitigate miscommunication and promote individual and group growth and development, a repeatable process for your growing business. Read about creating and implementing tools and strategies for managing multilingual employees here.

What are some strategies for overcoming language differences at work?

Translation means consistently providing information to employees in their preferred language; interpreting means each employee will be heard and feel understood. A high-quality language service provider will help you determine the most cost-effective strategy with the greatest impact. For example, you may benefit most from:

  • Prioritizing content translation
  • Translating and culturally adapting documents with intent
  • Augmenting printed material with audio/visual and social media campaigns
  • On-demand interpreting services available 24/7
  • Language-specific outreach to local communities

and countless other tools and services that help you communicate effectively with your employees, all of which work together toward that sense of belonging.

What is a language proficiency test, or language testing?

Language proficiency pertains to an individual’s capacity to both speak and comprehend a specific language. Proficiency test scores grade the skill with which a person can effectively communicate in the tested language; proficiency levels indicate an individual’s ability to read, write, and converse within a designated language. Learn more about language testing.

Exporting and Global Marketing Questions:

Sign up for our email mini course Global Marketing: Turning Your Domestic Sales Into International Profits for actionable steps toward taking your goods and services to new international markets.

How do I know if I’m ready to go global?

In a sense, if you’re online you’re already global. Customers worldwide can access your goods and services even if they speak a different language, thanks to translation plugins (although this is never the best alternative). Developing a global marketing strategy goes beyond servicing the occasional customer from abroad, it entails planning for deliberate, targeted global expansion. So, the better question is: are you ready to go global with intention? Consult the Universal Internationalization Readiness Checklist from Soft Land Partners, a global network of exporting professionals and organizations, to find out. And learn more about Determining When to Go Global in our blog.

Where do I start when I want to export?

A good place to start is with our Exporter Treasure Map, which provides all of the resources you need to enter or expand into international territories. The US Government offers a host of free resources, grant monies, and government-backed loans for companies interested in global expansion, which directly addresses the currently lopsided balance of trade. Grant monies can be used for services such as:

  • Translation
  • Trade missions
  • Website localization
  • Culturally adapted marketing design
  • Market research
  • Product testing in target markets

And that’s just for starters. Contact us for an initial conversation and we’ll walk you through it.

What are the immediate and long-term benefits of global marketing?

Simply put, the benefits of selling your goods and services on a global scale are higher revenue, profits, salaries, and growth. Today, fewer than 5% of 30 million US companies export, when more than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the US. In contrast, Italy, Belgium, and Denmark export at a rate of around 90%. US International Trade Administration data recently reported that between 2005 and 2009, small- and medium-sized US companies that export saw a 37% increase in sales, compared to a 7% decline in sales for non-exporting companies. Exporting simultaneously mitigates fluctuations in domestic markets, contributing to company stability, endurance, and overall valuation.

Planning, strategizing, and acting from a global perspective can immediately account for – and service – the international clientele you already have. We see “accidental exporters” every day, companies who did not intentionally market outside their country but find themselves attracting international buyers who stumbled upon their website and initiated a purchase. Whether intentional or not, global marketing efforts of any size reap lucrative, low-hanging sales in the near term; in the long-term, expect brand entrenchment and customer loyalty, which grows out of a respect for the culturally diverse ways in which different cultures do business.

A solid global marketing strategy helps you create a repeatable process for expansion into new geographies and additional markets. Having a global marketing plan in place – one that is consistently refined to adapt and mature over time – helps companies grow their global efforts into a manageable, consolidated Language Operations (LangOps) department, achieving corporate goals across departments with fluidity and consistency, elements vital to customer retention. Learn more from our podcast, The Global Marketing Show, which features guests and viewpoints from every corner of the world and read about how Rotary International optimized its global communications and marketing outreach via a translation strategy.

What is a global marketing strategy and why is it important?

A global marketing strategy is a plan that outlines a culturally appropriate strategy for international sales and marketing or culturally adapts a domestic strategy to appeal to a specific audience or the worldwide marketplace. It encompasses steps small to large – promoting a new product line in a new city, for example, or the complete re-creation (transcreation) of your company’s brand – to attract new audiences and sales.

Simply put, a global business mindset inspires higher revenue and profits, stimulates job growth, and helps you mitigate disruptions in domestic markets. Read a sample of our CEO’s 2021 book, The Language of Global Marketing: Translate your Domestic Strategies into International Sales and Profits to discover the myriad benefits of “thinking globally.”

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