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What is the difference between interpreting and translation?

Interpreting is the verbal rendering of one language into another, a translation deals strictly with written texts. For a court case, a marriage ceremony or a notarisation, you will require an interpreter if you do not have adequate command of the language in which the proceedings are taking place; the necessary accompanying documents, however, for example a petition or contract, a birth certificate or a marriage license, or a notarised sales agreement (or a draft thereof) can be translated in advance.
Übersetzungen vom Fach offers translation services only. If an interpreter is what you are looking for, we would be happy to recommend one or more of our professional colleagues. You can also search for interpreters in the database of the Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ) on their homepage www.bdue.de/en/bdue. Or, if a sworn interpreter is needed – meaning an interpreter who is court-authorised – you can search the database of the Administration of Justice.

What does a translation cost?
There are various ways to determine the rate/fee for translations, but the most common are per line, per word, or by the hour. In any case, the translator must first look at the project to get an idea of the amount of text and the necessary time involved, before putting together an offer or negotiating a price.
If you would like a (free) offer for your translation, please send all documents to be translated (preferably in an editable digital format such as Microsoft WORD(TM)), or in the case of a certificate/deed, etc. as a scan (preferably .pdf) directly to info[at]uebersetzungen-vom-fach.de.
We will get back to you as soon as possible with an offer and an estimated completion date.
Is there a minimum fee for your work?
The minimum fee is currently set at 35.- €, excluding VAT, or 41.65 € including. This means that even if your text is easy to translate and is only a few lines long, you will be charged our minimum fee. Since there are always peripheral tasks connected to every project, such as writing e-mails, creating invoices and receipts, arranging for pick-up times, etc., it is not economically viable for us to accept a job for less than the minimum fee.
What payment methods do you accept?
Übersetzungen vom Fach will either send an invoice or you can pay cash at pickup. We regret that payment with an EC card at our office is not possible.
How long will it take to complete a translation?
This will of course depend on the amount of text as well as the level of difficulty. In addition, we generally complete assignments in the order in which they are received. This means that there will be a longer turnaround time if we have other projects that have to be completed first.
Smaller projects of up to 3 pages, such as certified documents for government agencies, can usually be processed within three business days. For more involved tasks, a rough guideline of between 4 and 8 pages per day is considered reasonable, with at least one additional day for proofreading.
Should your translation need to be done particularly quickly (within 1-2 days or within a few days, depending on the scope of the project), please contact us in advance by phone to inquire whether or not this will be possible.
What is a certified translation?

In certain instances, a translation must be certified. This is most commonly the case for documents which are to be submitted to a government agency, for example birth certificates or a certificate of no impediment for a civil marriage in Germany. Proof of academic degrees acquired at a foreign university, or pertinent documents for application to a German university, are also often required to be certified. In addition, documents applicable to making entries in the Commercial Registry will in most cases also need to be submitted in the form of certified translations if the original is in a foreign language.
The main difference between a certified and an uncertified translation is that the certified translation is marked as such in the heading, and is endorsed with a note of authenticity, a stamp and the signature of the translator. The document must also be printed and either sent by mail or picked up by the customer. Either way, this results in an additional outlay of time and materials for the translator.
Furthermore, only sworn translators – translators who are court-authorised – are allowed to add their endorsement, stamp and signature to a certified translation. A sworn translator must meet specific requirements in terms of qualifications and personal traits, and a non-negligible fee must be paid annually.
Übersetzungen vom Fach has the requisite legal authorisation to issue certified translations (literally “to attest to the accuracy and completeness of a translation”). If you need a certified translation, please let us know during the initial request for an offer, if possible. Because of the additional effort involved, as listed above, a certified translation will incur a certification fee (see Services). This is a one-time fee per document; the actual amount will depend on the number of pages to be translated.
PLEASE NOTE: We can also certify a document that was previously translated, irrespective of whether the original translator was sworn or not. In this case there is no charge for the translation itself, however, in addition to the certification fee we will charge an hourly rate [hyperlink] for proofreading (and where applicable, correcting) the existing translation. This variation can be more cost effective than doing a completely new translation, as long as the existing translation is of good quality.

What is an apostille/legalisation?
Official documents that are to be used in other countries generally require special additional proof that they are authentic. This proof can be obtained either through an apostille, or through legalisation by the embassy of the respective country, whereby Germany requires a prior legalisation by the district court (and sometimes additionally by the Federal Administration Office). Further information can be found at www.dnoti.de/DOC/2010/2000.pdf [hyperlink].

Procurement of an apostille is the easiest way to prove a document’s authenticity to another country. Often laid out in list form, it is attached either to the front or back of the document as a stamp or sticker. However, an apostille is only accepted by countries that have signed the Apostille Convention. This includes all countries in the EU, the USA and many countries in Middle and South America, but not India or China, for example. Normally the apostille is translated along with the corresponding document; in other words, it is procured before the document is submitted for translation.

Legalisation by the district court
If an apostille cannot be issued, then the time-consuming, multi-step process of a legalisation must be undertaken. The first step in this process is a legalisation by the district court, which is also sometimes referred to as an “apostille”. It is issued as a stamp/sticker affixed underneath the text or on the back of the document, which is then signed by the President of the district court. The signature of a translator on a certified translation can also be legalised in this way. A legalisation takes place after the actual translation and can be handled by Übersetzungen vom Fach along with the translation of the document. Depending on whether the legalisation is mailed or if it is handed over at a personal interview at the court, it usually takes anywhere between 2-3 business days and a week, and costs 20.- € court fee (per document) plus an administration fee.
Do you offer translations into other languages?
Übersetzungen vom Fach offers translations from English and Spanish into German, and from German into English (if requested, and through collaboration with other colleagues, also into Spanish). If you require translations into other languages, Übersetzungen vom Fach will be happy to recommend someone. You can also search for translators of other languages in the database of the Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ) on their homepage www.bdue.de/en/bdue. If a sworn translator is needed, the database of the Administration of Justice (www.justiz-dolmetscher.de) is a good reference.
Übersetzungen vom Fach includes the applicable VAT on all invoices and receipts. If the work order comes from a company operating outside the EU, the invoice can be issued without VAT if, as required by tax regulations, the recipient provides their VAT identification number.
Price per line
Übersetzungen vom Fach typically charges per standard line. To determine the number of lines in a text, a text editing program or other software is used to count the number of characters in the document. A standard line has 55 characters, including the spaces; so the total number of characters in the original text is divided by 55 (and rounded off), giving the number of lines. An offer will then be made based on this number and the price per line (which corresponds to the difficulty level of the text, as well as any other tasks involved such as reworking the layout or proofreading by another translator (See also Cross-check/Four eyes principle).
Upon completion of the translation, the final cost will be determined based on the number of lines of the translated text and the price per line negotiated with the customer. Often the translated text is longer than the original – how much or how little will depend on the language into which the text is being translated.
The final cost of the translation can easily be 5 to 15% higher than the price quoted in the offer, which is based on the number of lines of the original text.
If the customer wishes to know exactly what the final cost will be, a fixed price can be negotiated. This is calculated based on the number of lines in the original text plus a surcharge of between 5 and 15%, which Übersetzungen vom Fach will set based on past experience. In this case, no matter whether there are more or fewer lines in the final text, the fixed price will be charged.
Hourly rates
There are some translations for which invoicing by line does not make sense, either because it would take too long to ascertain the actual number of lines to be translated (for example if only specific changes in the text are to be translated, or because it would be difficult to convert the text into a format that allows for a word count by a software program), or, for example, because of the extra time required for layout, as in the case of PowerPoint(TM) slides or graphics, etc. In such cases the price for the translation will be based on a set hourly rate. Keep in mind however, that the final cost cannot be determined with complete accuracy in advance, since only a rough estimate of the hours required can be made when first seeing a project.
Proofreading of translations done by other translators (see also Cross-check/Four eyes principle, certified translations) are also charged by the hour.
CrossCheck/Four eyes principle

For translations from German into English (or Spanish), Übersetzungen vom Fach typically works together with other qualified native language translators according to the “four eyes principle”. This means that the text will either be translated by a native speaker and Übersetzungen vom Fach will do the proofreading, or vice versa. Either way, the four eyes principle gives a second level of accuracy and quality to the translation.


> Short and relatively straightforward texts (marriage/divorce certificates, correspondence,
e-mails, etc.)
> Express jobs, where there is no time for a cross-check
> The customer does not want the document to be proofread by a second person (for example, in cases where the work order comes from a company that has proofreaders in house)

The four eyes principle will also be applied to translations into German in instances where the text is intended for publication; for example, on the web, in brochures or other printed materials, or if requested by the customer. Because proofreading by a second qualified translator understandably raises the price of the translation, you may of course state whether or not you want us to apply the four eyes principle. However, unless you indicate otherwise, Übersetzungen vom Fach will proceed according to the above-listed rules and exceptions.

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