How to Translate a Business Document

Being fluent in the language a document is being translated to is only the start for a certified and competent translator. There are some very fine details that must me attended to before it can be accurately completed, and some of these might surprise you. A great deal of work and consideration goes into translating a business document versus something much simpler like a personal letter or an instruction manual. To translate one well, follow these considerations. Your clients will thank you for it.


The job of a certified translator is to accurately translate- that much is a given. But in the process, some questions might be raised. There might be a mis-quote, or something else in the document a translator recognizes as out of place and needs correcting. This is should not be done, no matter what. There will be times where a translator recognizes something can be said better to make the meaning clearer, but again, it should not be done. The translation is to be completed in as close to the original wording, phrasing, and meaning as the original document- resist the urge to edit for improvement.

Make No Assumptions

Regarding business idioms and specific terminology, a document can be a confusing thing to read, even in the original language. When in doubt, check, double check, and triple check a word’s meaning before presuming you know exactly what it intends. One slight assumption could completely change the terms of a contract, or adjust significantly the order amount, delivery terms, or payment specs. When in doubt, make sure.

Work with a Specialist

When in doubt of the terminology being used, look to utilize external sources. These are great ways to not only clarify the document in front of you, but also a wonderful way to garner new business. Translation isn’t about waiting for clients to find you- by integrating yourself in the business community you wish to work in you will make contacts with those who most likely will require your services down the road. Your attention to building relationships will show your attention to detail and the care you place in your orders. A professional expert will not only help you understand the material you are trying to translate, but will also remember you for the next time they are in need of translating services.

Lastly, don’t rush an order. If something pops up that needs additional attention, be sure to give it all it deserves. Your customers will thank you for it.