Language is a living organism. It is shaped and influenced by the culture in which it flourishes. Having at your side a native translator who is expert in his/her services and fully familiar with the local nuances and the current socio-cultural trends of the target language is crucial in terms of getting your message across to your intended audience.
Having spent decades detecting and editing bad translations, I have come to realize one thing: word-for-word translation divorced from local nuances in Turkish simply does not work. It is these nuances that will ultimately engage the receptivity of your Turkish audience and thereby determine the success of your text, be it a legal contract or a leaflet of a beauty product. Bad translations will cost you time and money at the best, and your reputation and credibility at the worst.
Turkish language is also markedly different from most Western languages in that it is grammatically structured in a peculiar way with the verb coming at the end of each sentence. This presents major issues (especially in the case of marketing translations that involve puns and plays on words) for translators who sacrifice localization for the sake of doing word-for-word translation, which, more often than not, results in translations that sound totally foreign and incomprehensible to the Turkish audience. But this peculiar grammatical structure of Turkish language also serves as a stage where a talented and expert translator focusing on local point of view truly shines.
I recognize the fact that Artificial Intelligence has come a long way and some translators may have legitimate fears about losing their jobs to Machine Translation (MT), but I very much doubt this will be the case with Turkish translation due to the reasons I mentioned above. While MT has made great strides in major European languages, it completely fails to capture the local essence that is absolutely required for producing flawless translation and seamless localization into Turkish language. With that being said, however, you should have more cause to worry about incompetent translators than the quality of MT when it comes to Turkish language. So go with an expert local translator, reduce your costs and put your mind at ease.
There are several advantages to working with a local freelance translator instead of a Turkish translation agency:
1- Direct Communication and Feedback
First of all, you’re dealing with a flesh-and-blood person whose very livelihood depends on providing you with first-class translation and localization services. A local freelancer will walk you through the process, receive your feedback and make necessary changes and additions as per your request directly without an intermediary (for instance, in the case of Turkish translation agencies, a secretary or a PM who, in all likelihood, won’t even speak a word of English), and will be responsible for his/her work even after the payment has been made.
2- Bona Fide Specialization
A freelance translator is an independent service provider who chooses his/her work on the basis of his/her areas of specialization as opposed to having the job assigned to him/her by a Project Manager who negotiates the deadline and rates with the client on translator’s behalf. For this reason, in-house translators, more often than not, are made to dabble in all kinds of subject matters with no actual expertise whatsoever, and work tight deadlines set for them. This inevitably results in poor, inaccurate and erroneous translations, which cost the client more money, embarrassment and delay.
A freelancer, on the other hand, usually receives assignments in his/her areas of expertise, and will have more time to spend on online research and quality check to produce higher quality translations than an average in-house translator.
3- Well-Researched and Quality-Checked Translations
It is unrealistic to expect a salaried in-house translator working under contract to produce a certain word count on a weekly/monthly basis to exercise the same degree of care and diligence as a freelance translator who directly works for his/her client. In-house translators tend to regard each assignment as another task that needs to be performed as quickly as possible before they can move on to the next one and the one after that until it is time for them to go home. Since they have no contact with the client, they cannot feel the same degree of personal involvement and sense of responsibility as a freelancer. And this affects the translation process and the overall quality of the translated text.
4- Quality over Quantity
Translation agencies, by their very nature, deal in bulk quantities (receiving assignments from their corporate clients that contain hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of words) on very tight deadlines and at very competitive rates. This means assigning to their in-house or freelance translators daily assignments that are 4 to 8 thousand words in length. My experience tells me that no translator worth his/her salt that invests time and effort into terminology and subject matter research and quality check can produce more than 3 thousand words a day. Since most Turkish translation agencies promise their clients ‘Fast Turnaround’ with almost impossible deadlines, they discourage their in-house translators to spend time on research and quality check. They also divide large projects into smaller parts to be assigned to in-house and freelance translators to meet the deadline without first establishing a uniform terminology and style requirements for each translator to follow, and this, inevitably, leads to hastily performed, inaccurate, inconsistent and, above all, poor translations.
Having also worked with European and North American translation agencies, I can attest to the fact such translation agencies invest more time and effort into quality than their Turkish counterparts, but in the end working with a freelance translator directly far outweighs the advantages of working with an agency.
5- Getting in Touch Despite the Time Difference
If you are located in the USA and have a time-sensitive project that needs to be translated into Turkish, you need to take into account the time difference between the USA and Turkey (which is 7 to 10 hours). While you can maintain daily communication with a US translation agency, you couldn’t do the same with a Turkish translation agency; even if you did, you couldn’t get in touch with their in-house personnel. A local freelance linguist, on the other hand, can be highly flexible and may respond to your queries in matter of minutes despite the time difference. In most cases, it is almost impossible to maintain such communication with a Turkish translation agency. And in this business, communication is vitally important.
6- Better Quality at Cheaper Rates
The services of a freelance translator are considerably cheaper than that of an agency in Turkey or elsewhere.
In order for official documents, issued in a foreign country, to be considered legally valid by the Turkish authorities they have to be translated by and bear the stamp and signature of a Sworn (or Certified) Translator. The same also applies for the documents, issued by the Turkish authorities, to be submitted to foreign authorities such as embassies, consulates etc. Further notarization (legalization) and apostillization is also required depending on the purposes of the transaction, but in either case such procedures require the translation to be done by a Sworn/Certified translator.
I hold Sworn Translator Certificates issued by several Notary Offices across Istanbul, Turkey and I am accredited by the Turkish Ministry of Justice to provide translation and interpreting services from and into Turkish.
In the case of notarization procedure that requires the presence of the foreign national who will be signing and confirming the document by ‘reading’ it (that is to say by having the document interpreted for their benefit), the client has to have a Sworn/Certified present that is affiliated with the said notary office. As I mentioned, I work with several Notary Offices and I can find one for you that is in close proximity to your location. If the notarization procedure does not require the presence of the foreign national at the notary office, then I can have the procedure completed on your behalf and send the notarized documents to your address by post. But in order for me to carry out these procedures for you I shall have to ask that the notarial and postage expenses be paid in advance.
Owing to my academic background and my 10 years’ in-house translation experience, I specialize in the areas listed in the services section. While I possess extensive experience and expertise particularly in legal, business, marketing, patents, certified translations, I regularly collaborate with trusted local translators who particularly specialize in technical, medical and pharmaceutical translations. I run a tight ship and collaborate only with a few translator colleagues with whom I worked at the same agency for nearly a decade, and who have a proven track record and demonstrable expertise in their respective fields of specialization. I and my colleagues work as a team, and we proofread and edit each other’s work without further cost to the client.
I can handle most file formats including that of CAT tool formats. However, for the best results, I prefer to receive files that are in standard MS Office formats. Realizing that most of the materials provided to the client for certified translation come in badly formatted PDF files that need to be converted into editable texts, I spend a good deal of time and effort into DTP work and formatting, which are separately reflected in the translation rate.
I and my colleagues each produce about 2,500 words of accurate, well-researched and quality checked translation on a daily basis. As mentioned in another article, human brain can deal with only so much information at one time, and it is a generally acknowledged fact that the quality of translation is bound to deteriorate due to mental fatigue or compromising on QA check and research if a translator claims that he/she delivers more than 3,000 words a day.
Since I spend a considerable amount of time on quality check and send my work to another colleague for proofreading, I require at least an additional half day once the translation is completed. Taking these facts into account, I’d deliver a 5,000 word assignment in about two and a half days.
My years of experience as a translator have shown me that such bold taglines as ‘high quality, fast turnaround’, favored by most translators and translation agencies alike, usually prove nothing more than a ‘contradiction in terms’. It is impossible to expect ‘high quality’ in a 20,000 word text that has been translated over the weekend, even if it was distributed among several translators.
A high quality translation requires a thorough research of the subject matter prior to translation, a consistent and accurate use of terminology, style and punctuation, and painstaking quality check, formatting and proofreading following the translation. All these requirements mean that the translator has to spend a good deal of time on tasks besides translating the text, and, taking into account such factors as exhaustion and mental fatigue, human brain can deal with only so much material at one time. Therefore, it is good practice to be wary of ‘high quality’ claims from people who claim to be translating more than 3,500 words a day.
With that being said, however, I try my best to accommodate my clients’ urgent projects by working on weekends and beyond my usual working hours, but always remaining within the limits of my capacity that allows me to produce high quality translations as required by my clients.
I personally carry out all the translation projects in my areas of specialization, and do not ordinarily subcontract my work unless it is absolutely necessary for me to allocate an urgent and voluminous translation assignment to a few trusted colleagues to meet a tight deadline with the client’s permission.
In such cases, however, I maintain close contact with my colleagues, providing them with all the necessary terminology lists, Translation Memories, notes on preferred style and punctuation to ensure a flawless and seamless translation process. After that I proofread my colleagues’ work and make the necessary changes before delivering the translation to my client.
I sign NDAs with most of my clients and comply with such agreements to the letter. As mentioned in the previous article, I only work with a few highly trusted colleagues, with whom I’ve been working for over a decade and whom I can totally vouch for.
I respect the client’s privacy and their sensitive data, and I take necessary measures to avoid unnecessary disclosure. I destroy all data (save for those kept in our TMs) within a week following the delivery.
My clients include individuals, local and international corporations, organizations of various kinds, law firms, notary offices and translation agencies.
Although each client has their uniquely specific requirements, my years of experience as both an in-house and a freelance translator have provided me with invaluable insight into the needs and expectations of each group of clientele.
With the exception of sworn/certified translations, I avoid translating from my native language as I believe the best results in the target language can only be achieved by a native speaker of that language.
Owing to the fact that there are precious few native English speakers who are accredited by the relevant Turkish authorities to carry out sworn/certified translations, I provide such services in my source language. Being a non-native, but proficient (Level C2) English speaker, I exercise utmost care and diligence in translating texts from Turkish to English. I regularly collaborate with a native English speaker specializing in legal translations from Turkish to English, and have him proofread and edit my translations before certification.
I place great importance on Quality Assurance and the Four-Eyes Principle to ensure high quality and error-free translations.
Once a translation is finished, I run a QA check in my CAT tool to identify any spelling and punctuation mistakes. After that I send the completed file to one of my colleagues for proofreading. My colleague makes the changes he/she deems necessary and then sends me back the amended text for my approval. I, then, give the translated text its final shape based on my colleague’s suggestions, and read the segments one by one to see the overall flow and fluency of the text in the target language. Once I am completely satisfied that the text reads as if it is the work of a local author rather than the translation of a foreign text, I deliver the file to my client.
No. All the documents I and my colleagues translate are 100% human translation. We solely rely on our Translation Memories that were created as a result of years of careful and well-researched work. We do not use MT plugins in our CAT tools.
Having been in the business for over 12 years, I am familiar with most CAT tools. I am a licensed user of Trados Studio 2017, but I have also experience with MemoQ and most other cloud-based CAT tools. While I can totally comply with the client’s CAT tool of choice, I feel more at home and productive with my preferred CAT tool, which is Trados Studio 2017.
I provide proofreading and revision services for texts that were translated by different translators.
As mentioned in the article regarding rates, I provide DTP services as I believe maintaining a closely resembling replica of the original document with matching layout and format is important. I have a very talented DTP expert friend, who kindly lends his services to make the translation process go more smoothly. Normally DTP services are included in the translation quote, but if you require, we can provide you with DTP services on a per page basis. For more information please contact me.
I charge a ‘per source word rate’ in EUR, USD and GBP (depending on the client’s location) like most translators. My rates vary depending on the nature of the translation. Sworn/Certified Translations cost more than technical translations, whereas marketing translations requiring a good deal of transcreation and content writing skills cost more than legal translations. The format in which you send your document also plays a factor in the pricing in that badly formatted PDF files that prove impossible to be OCR’ed properly into editable texts for translation will increase the cost and extend the delivery time. However, working with a very talented DTP expert, I do my best to keep such costs and loss of time at a minimum.
I apply a minimum charge for translations less than 180 words. I can also work on a per page basis in the case of badly formatted PDF files that cannot be converted into an editable text format. Although according to the most commonly applied standard in the translation industry a page consists of 250 words, a different kind of arrangement can be reached with the client depending on the nature and state of the text.
I charge an ‘hourly rate’ for proofreading and revision services, the amount of time will be determined by the length of the document. The same ‘hourly rate’ principle also applies to interpreting jobs, which in addition to the hourly rate include traveling, meal and, in some cases, accommodation expenses.
In order for me to be able to give you an exact quote, I need to study your documents, know about the exact deadline and work out the DTP details. Rest assured, my rates are fairly reasonable compared to a translation agency.
I accept EUR, USD and GBP depending on the client’s country of residence, and arrange my rates accordingly, taking into account the FX differences. I accept SEPA bank transfer from my clients in the EU, while accepting local bank transfer from my clients located in the UK, and use such online payment methods as Payoneer and Transferwise from my clients located in the US. Owing to the fact that it no longer operates in Turkey, I cannot accept payments by Paypal.
I issue an invoice for my services reflecting the word count, PO number, amount payable, due date, payment instructions and all other necessary details.