Everything You Need to Know About Document Translation for Your Business

Moving your business into a foreign market often sounds appealing to businesses. After all, it’s probably an entirely new customer base. Yet, it can also prove expensive and time-consuming.

Beyond that, you must also deal with the inevitable language barrier. All of your marketing material, product instructions, and even your website are likely all available only in your native tongue. To succeed in your new market, you’ll need document translation done on all of your text.

Never gotten translations done before? Keep reading for everything you’ll need to know about document translation for your business.

Quality of Source Text

Your source text will play a huge role in the speed and quality of the translation. The more grammar errors in the text, the longer it will take. The grammar errors will also influence the quality of the translation.

After all, it leaves the translator the choice of either guessing at your meaning or calling you every time they run across errors that affect meaning. Whenever possible, go through the documents and correct any errors you find before you hand them off. You’ll get better results.

Some Things Don’t Translate

A lot of marketing and advertising relies on clever wordplay. The problem with clever wordplay is that almost never translates into another language. There same often applies when dealing with idioms and slang.

You may also run into problems where specific terms or names have a different meaning in the target market. Companies must often change the name of a product to avoid associating the product with an off-color term in the target market’s language.

Translators will do their best to capture the idea, but you must understand that some things will get lost in translation.


You must also consider the total space required for documents. Translations routinely add up to 30% to the total space needed. This happens because the translator must often explain something that doesn’t have an equivalent term in the new language. If you need documents to stay within a certain size, consider trimming the content in advance.


There is no standard cost for document translation. A document translator may specialize in legal document translation and charge substantially more than a document translation service that focuses on novels. The overall cost of translation will depend on the length, technical elements, and experience of the translator.

Most translation services will offer you an estimate or quote for your document, which lets you compare costs.

Document Translation and Your Business

Document translation can help your business expand into a foreign market. It’s a crucial step in most cases. Unfortunately, it’s not a process without pitfalls.

Your costs can vary widely depending on who provides the translation, the text length, and any technical elements in the text. Clever wordplay and idioms that you find in marketing and advertising often translate poorly. Poorly written content won’t translate well while simultaneously taking longer.

Always get a quote and check reviews before hiring a translator.

Looking for more tips that can help your business? Take a look in our Business section for more articles.