314-725-3711 | Since 1998

An empty checklist is on a clipboard with a pencilIf you need a quote for translation and don’t know where to start, we hope this translation quote checklist will be a helpful starting point.

Confirm that translation is what you need.

Translation is creating an equivalent written document in a language other than the one in which it was originally written. If that doesn’t sound like what you’re after, some other services you may be looking for are:

  • Interpretation: facilitating oral communication between two (or more) parties who do not speak the same language. This is frequently required at medical appointments or legal proceedings.
  • Transcreation: rewriting creative copy (such as a tagline or jingle) in the target language. This is required when your source copy will not translate directly (or effectively) into your target language.
  • Linguistic screening: determining the appropriateness of a brand or company name for a foreign market. This is required to determine if your product or company name will be problematic (or position you positively) in another market or region.

The word "Punjabi" written in both the Gurmukhi and the Shahmukhi scriptsConfirm what language(s) you need.

Deciding on language(s) for translation may require more research than you think. Please consider the following:

  • Many languages (such as French, Portuguese, and Spanish) have several variants that are used in different regions around the world.
  • If you think you need a document translated into Mandarin Chinese, think again! Mandarin is an oral dialect of Chinese. There are two writing systems for Chinese: Simplified and Traditional.
  • There are also two writing systems for Punjabi: Shahmukhi (used in Pakistan) and Gurmukhi (used in India).

Determine your source file(s).

Some popular source file types are Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and Adobe InDesign and Illustrator documents.

  • A PDF is not a source file! If all you have is a PDF, you can typically determine the source file type by right clicking in the PDF and selecting “Document Properties.” Next to “Application” you should see in which program your file was created. When in doubt, your language service provider (LSP) may be able to help.
  • If your source file is a video:
    • Determine whether you need subtitles, voiceover, or both.
      • If you need subtitles:
        • Determine whether you want open or closed captions. Open captions are burned on to the video and the deliverable will be a video file with permanent subtitles. Closed captions can be toggled on and off and the deliverable will be a subtitle file such as an SRT.
      • If you need a voiceover:
          • Determine whether you prefer a male or a female voice.
          • Determine whether your video will be used for paid advertising.
      • Determine whether there is any on-screen text that needs to be translated.
      • If your video has background music, determine whether you can share the audio file with your LSP or whether they will have to purchase a copy.
  • If your source file is a web page:
    • Determine how you will export the content for translation. For WordPress sites, we recommend WPML.

A Translation Memory with English source copy and corresponding French translationsDo you have some materials already translated?

If not, welcome to the wonderful world of translation! We’re glad you’re here. 😊

If yes, your LSP may need some time to mine for important terminology. Or they may create a Translation Memory to help leverage your previously translated content.

Will you need the translated piece to be typeset?

If your source file is in a design program like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop, ask your LSP about international DTP.

Will you be incorporating client linguistic review (CLR)?

Will you be asking a colleague or client to review and possibly edit the translations after they have been completed? If yes, this is considered CLR and affects your translation quote.

"Hello" is translated to "Bonjour" which is then translated to "Hi"Will you need back translation?

Are you submitting the original and the translated piece to a regulatory committee for approval to go to market? If yes, you probably need to submit a back translation into the original source language.


Have questions about any (or all) of the items on this translation quote checklist? We encourage you to peruse the rest of our Advocating Global blog posts or contact us with specific questions about your project. We value client mentorship and love when we can help our clients grow their global competency!