314-725-3711 | Since 1998

This post was an email that was actually written by one of our clients quite a while ago and we have saved it because it is a brilliant tongue in cheek piece of writing for the translation quoting process.  The client had been entrenched in translation services for years with us and with many of their clients.  They knew localization and all the issues that come with the quote!  So many times, it was always a virtual quote that we did for them so this is their take on what the quoting process entails….

“Sure thing. But before I can possibly know what to charge you, I’ll have to walk you through our simple 147-point estimation process. I will have my team of engineers send you a spreddy with our questions, likely to include the following:

1) Will you require a response within our normal turnaround time, or do you require a rush reply? If so, I will need to get three teams of translators on this, in addition to a sociolinguistic arbitrator and a marine biologist.

2) Will you require English? If so, please indicate which variant of the language you will require:

  • Queen’s English (EN_Posh)
  • Hoosier English (EN_Hoos)
  • New Zealand English (EN_whatthehelldidhejustsay)
  • Carribbean English (EN_welcometojamaicamanhaveaniceday)

napkin with convoluted image depicting the metaphor of the translation quoting process3) In order to complete your request, you must specify the delivery format:

  • Plain text email
  • HTML
  • Email with Word attachment
  • Email with PDF attachment
  • Email that is undeliverable, then bounced back, and forwarded again and ultimately printed out and faxed
  • Cocktail napkin, marked with ink
  • Cocktail napkin, marked in pencil
  • Cocktail (just a cocktail)
  • Instant text message (allow one extra day for delivery)
  • Morse code (not available for the Carribbean English variant)
  • Scrawled on a cigarette paper and rolled (available only for the Carribbean English variant)
  • Sky writing

4) When replying to your email, will I hit ‘reply’ or ‘reply all’? All recipients of the message will need to be thoroughly trained in our client response protocols, which include:

  • How to open the email containing your English translation
  • Sample excel spreadsheets used to provide your comments
  • 48-page manual on ‘how to read one of our spreadsheets’ (provided as an .xls file)
  • All-expense paid trip to the Carribbean for a two-week seminar on how to load your spreadsheet to our ridiculously complicated Workspaces site (for details, go to the web site and enter your password – you know, that one we gave you 7 months ago)

5) Please confirm you are willing to accept our quality control and review process:

  • Our team of qualified translators, skilled in business correspondence, schedules a five-Martini lunch to review your original German translation. Representatives from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Ohio Amish Country will attend to ensure every possible meaning of the German phrase is discussed, analyzed, documented and graphed. Oh, and we add one Dutch person just to make sure it’s REALLY German and not a similar-sounding Dutch phrase.
  • We take a trip to Amsterdam and tour of the Red Light District. (Not strictly required for the translation, just team building) It was the Dutch guy’s idea.
  • We divide the German phrase into its component parts (letters) and have our very expensive Puerto Rican linguistic advisor provide a doctoral dissertation on the best way to put the letters back (we don’t show him the original phrase, just to make it interesting and to drive up our hourly fees).
  • Once the original German phrase is duly reconstituted (and double-checked by our Amsterdam representative), the phrase is typed into the Google Language tool, which yields the English equivalent in a matter of about 1.75 seconds.
  • The English phrase is then sent by instant text message to our team of non-native English speakers to ensure understanding. Conflicting interpretations of the English phrase will be resolved through the official mediation process sanctioned by the International Association of Translation Mediation Associations, unless this is a rush job in which case the conflict will be resolved through advanced water-boarding techniques performed at secret IATMA prisons.

6) In the event you have a question or need to make a change to final English result delivered in your preferred medium, please go back to step 1.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.”