How much does it cost?
In Australia, translation is usually charged on a per word basis. There is a range of rates which are influenced by the degree of complexity of the documents. It is a skilled professional service and can be an expensive business. Increasingly, translators have tertiary degrees and constantly update their skills in order to be able to handle texts of high technical or literary complexity.
Why can't I translate it myself?
Well, you can, but be aware that speaking is not writing. Oral fluency does not guarantee accuracy in written form. Think of the purpose of your translation: is it simply for in-house communication, i.e. people basically want to know what the text says. If so, that's fine. But as happens increasingly in the industry, a translation will have a much more far reaching audience and will convey the image of your company among your clients, partners and governments. Sloppy, incorrect, imprecise language and inaccuracies will reflect badly on your business. Also, remember that no one will look as closely at your text as your translator, who will often identify weak spots that have escaped the eye of the author.
Is it better to use an agency or an individual translator/interpreter?
Agencies tend to charge more as they have to cover their management costs. Agencies do not employ translators or interpreters on a full time basis, they sub-contract them. The translators and interpreters that an agency will contract are the same as your individual freelance translators and interpreters, which you can find in professional directories or in the Yellow Pages. Most freelance practitioners also do a certain amount of agency work. In other words, the agency will organise a translator/interpreter for you and you will pay more for the same service. The important thing is to check that you employ a NAATI accredited translator/interpreter.
What is a NAATI accredited translator/interpreter?
It is a practitioner who has been approved by NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters), usually by means of an examination. Linguistic knowledge in both languages will have been tested, but also cultural knowledge and familiarity with the Code of Ethics of the profession. NAATI accredited professionals are required to engage in continued professional development in order for their accreditation to remain valid.
Is the profession governed by a code of ethics?
Absolutely. Professional translators and interpreters abide by the Code of Ethics of the profession. Issues of particular importance are impartiality, accuracy and most importantly, confidentiality.