Note: This blog post was originally written in Japanese for our Japanese website. We used our machine translation platform Translation Designer to translate it and post-edit the content in English. The original Japanese post can be found here.

Working effectively with professional translation services companies is the key to a successful translation project.

In this post, we will discuss about how to get your desired quote. Everyone wants a quote that is low in cost with a quick turnaround time. However, in order to get your wish, it is necessary to provide information as detailed and accurate as possible when asking for a quote for professional translation services. This post explains the five points you should clarify before requesting a quote.

Know your document to be translated (i.e., source file)

Of course, you will have a document that needs to be translated, but have you looked through it? It’s important to understand the content and structure of your document.

Scope of translation

Unless otherwise specified, translation companies will quote the entire document. If there are sections that do not require translation or need to be left in the original language, you should point them out beforehand and clarify the scope of translation.

Some other things that are worth mentioning in advance are charts, header and footer, index, and the note section of PowerPoint slides. Let translation companies know whether these need to be translated or not. This will make the quoting process much smoother.

Target language

Even if it's the same language, words and expressions may differ depending on the country or region. For example, Chinese has simplified and traditional characters. Which one to use depends on the region. Also, Spanish has different words and expressions when used in Spain and Latin American countries. Therefore, it is necessary to exactly know which country or region your readers are from to determine the target language.

Delivery format

Another important information is how you want your translations to be finished. The following three methods are common when delivering translations.

1. Unformatted text
A method of delivering the translations with simply just text in a file. This is suitable when you only need the translation and don't want to pay extra fees for layout work. Since it's only text with no layout work, it won't look the same as the original document. But needless to say, the translated text are in the same order. You can identify the relevant sentence by comparing it with the original document. For this method, delivery in Word file is common.
It has the advantage of a quick turnaround time and reducing cost. However, it might take time to identify the translations with the relevant part of the original document due to lack of structure.

2. Side by side
A method of delivering the translations side by side with the original text. This works the best if you want to review the corresponding translations at a glance. If you're translating a brochure and doing the layout work afterward, having the original and translated text side by side will make the work much more efficient. Whether you're editing the layout yourself or outsourcing the work, anyone can see where to lay out the translated text. For this method, delivery in Excel or Word files is common.
It has the advantage of being able to easily compare the original and translated text. Although, it might be a little more costly and time-consuming depending on the side-by-side format.

3. Formatted text (i.e., with layout work)
A method of delivering the translations in the exact same layout as the original document. This is good when you want to use the deliverables as is, such as for printing.
Engineers at the translation companies will overwrite the original data using the translated text. They will format the text so that it looks the same as the original document, and then deliver it in a complete layout. There are several types of data that we use for printing materials. Illustrator is common for flyers and brochures, and InDesign and FrameMaker are common for something with page structures, such as manuals.
This method has the advantage of being able to use the deliverables without having to do any edits yourself. But this also means that it will cost and take time the most.

Source data

If you want the layout done along with the translation work, pricing and turnaround time will change depending on whether you have a source file that translation companies can overwrite.

For instance, PDFs cannot be overwritten. Translation companies will need to recreate the data using software such as Word or InDesign. Therefore, it costs more and takes more time compared to if you had the source data of the original document.

Reference materials

It is also important to provide information about the terminology and style when requesting professional translation services.

If you have a glossary, style guide, or any other materials related to the original document, you should share them with the translation companies. In doing so, you avoid the risk of having to make tons of corrections after receiving the translation or to translate again yourself from scratch.

In addition, other information such as your target audience and how the translated document will be used is also important in determining the necessary processes and the tone of the translation. This kind of information is essential for translation companies to provide translations with the quality you are looking for.


Providing as much information as you can when requesting professional translation services will help you obtain translations with your desired quality and reasonable turnaround times and cost. You can use this post to prepare your document to be translated. And don't forget to clarify the points that we covered here before you request a quote.

Kawamura's translation services

Kawamura International delivers consistent translation quality in both short-term and long-term projects by its quality assurance based on statistical quality control methods. We are certified for ISO 17100, the international standard for translation services, and ISO 27001 (ISMS certification), the international standard for information security. So, sit back and relax while we take care of your documents.

Kawamura has been providing high-quality professional translation services for more than 30 years, and its strength is the ability to flexibly respond to various needs and propose the optimal solution to its customers. Feel free to reach out to us for a free quote or if you have any questions about translation and localization services in general.