How to commission a translator or interpreter

Bilingual material where the Welsh version is of a high standard can enhance the image of your company/organization so it is vital that you seek the services of a qualified translator or interpreter.

Text translation

Cyfieithu testun

1. Choosing a translator
It is important to ensure a high standard of translation. Full Members of Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru would be expected to complete work without the need for further editing.

Basic Members have passed Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru's examination and achieved a level deemed appropriate for a translator who has been working under supervision for at least a year. A number of them may of course be more experienced than this.

The directory will indicate into which language the member is competent to translate.

2. Agreeing terms
You should explain both requirements as well as the context of your work and discuss any specialist terms that may arise.

Terms and a timetable should be agreed in advance. Translators usually charger per 1,000 words, though most translators also have a minimum fee. A charge per hour may be levied in some instances, if appropriate. Some translators charge VAT.

When you agree the translation rate for documents, you should ask whether it includes a charge for proofreading. If it does not, the rate charged needs to be agreed.

To avoid misunderstandings, a member of your staff should be designated as the contact point between your organization and the translator.

If more than one person is involved in translating a document, it is important for the translator to ensure that the translation is consistent in style and terminology and of a high quality throughout.

3. Proofreading
Proofreading is an essential part of the translation process. Sufficient time must be allowed for it to be done thoroughly, even if the document is comparatively short. Small errors, particularly on signs, can often prove expensive.

As a rule, the translator himself/herself undertakes a final check of the proof.

4. Software
Please remember to consult the translator to ensure that his/her software is compatible with yours. In some cases, organizations commissioning translation work are prepared to install their software on a translator's computer system.


1. Arranging an interpreting service
Interpretation (also known as simultaneous translation) involves a skill very different from that of written translation. Such services are used extensively in parts of Wales, in meetings from community councils to all-Wales conferences. The usual practice is for the interpreter to work from Welsh into English so that non-Welsh-speakers are able to understand the proceedings.

Copies of documents to be used at the meeting should be sent to the interpreter beforehand where possible.

To make the service a success, the Chairman should refer to the availability of the said service at the start of the meeting and ensure that all those present know how to use the equipment and into which language the interpreter will be translating. The success of the service depends just as much on the approach adopted by the chairman as on the skill of the interpreter. If you decide to use an interpreter at a meeting, it is important that you encourage those attending to use the service.

2. Choosing an interpreter
Interpreting Members have passed Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru's test. The level is that of wholly professional standard.

Please bear in mind that interpretation is such demanding work that an interpreter should not be expected to work for more than half an hour without a break. If you expect this to be exceeded, you should employ a second interpreter.

3. Agreeing terms
Once you have approached several interpreters, you should agree terms in advance of the meeting or meetings.

Interpreters normally charge by the hour. If a face-to-face meeting, interpreters will normally charge for the time spent travelling to and from their workplace in addition to their travelling expenses and the hours spent doing the actual translation work. Some interpreters charge VAT.

4. Interpretation Systems
Usually the interpreter will have his/her own equipment or will be able to supply one. Rental charges should be agreed upon beforehand.

5. Remote Interpreting
Advice on holding bilingual meetings.

Indemnity Insurance

The fact that the translator/interpreter has indemnity insurance may indicate that the customer's rights are safeguarded and that a professional approach is adopted in dealing with clients.

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru is part funded by the Welsh Government.