About our Professional Translation Services

What are professional translation services?

Professional translation services are translation services provided by professional human translators. But they are also the key to effectively reaching new international audiences, allowing you to take your product to new global markets and to reach potential customers who speak a different language to your own.

What is the definition of a professional translator?

Professional translators are expert linguists who have spent years crafting their skill as a translator. A basic pre-requisite for a professional translator is to be fluent in the source language (the language the original document is written in) and native speakers of the target language (the language of the translation); but being able to speak another language does not make you a translator.

Translation is a skill that must be practised and honed. Many professional translators have a degree in Translation Studies and many are members of a professional body, such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting here in the UK.

What is the difference between translation and interpreting services?

Both translation and interpreting are language services provided by expert linguists but they have one fundamental difference: translations concern the written word whereas interpreting involves conveying what has been spoken in a different language.

Some interpreters also work as professional translators, but most translators do not also work as interpreters as it is a very different discipline, requiring a very different skillset.

What is the difference between human translation and machine translation?

Machine translation refers to automated translations produced by online translation services. You enter your source text and the machine provides a translation. Example machine translation tools include Google Translate and DeepL. Online translation services are generally free and provide instant results, which gives them a big advantage over professional translation services. But the trade-off is the quality, which is often questionable. Machine translation tools tend to struggle with complex phrases, synonyms and idioms, and are only able to provide a direct translation.

When it comes to professional translation services provided by human translators, the translated document is unlikely to contain many direct or literal translations; instead, human translators tend to use their cultural knowledge and writing skills in their native language to produce a text that reads as though it has been written in the target language.

Sadly, despite great advancements in technology in recent years, machine translations still tend to produce texts that sound like translations. Machine translated texts are also prone to inaccuracies. In short, while they can be useful for translating signs or menus when abroad, their quality is such that they should not be used for professional purposes.

Is translation software the same as machine translation?

Many translation companies and translation agencies talk about translation technology and translation software. Here they are referring to so-called CAT tools. The acronym CAT stands for Computer-Assisted Translation Tool. While this may sound similar to an online translation service, CAT tools are actually useless without professional translators. CAT tools work by storing the translations entered by translators into so-called translation memories. Each time a translator translates a phrase, both the source text and the translation are saved to the translation memory. If this phrase then appears later on in the same text or in a subsequent document, the CAT tool suggests the saved translation.

CAT tools help to make translations more consistent. They can be used to create translation glossaries or termbases, which ensure that the correct terminology is used for specific texts and specific clients. CAT tools also serve to improve the quality of translations through their quality assurance processes.

Translation technology, such as CAT tools, is particularly useful for technical translations where there are lots of repetitions. They are less useful in more creative aspects of translation, such as marketing translations and advertising, where more flexibility is required and the sentences don’t necessarily match up 1:1 between the source text and the translation itself.

What is a certified translator?

On some occasions, for example when it comes to translating official documents, a certified translation is required. Certified translations include a paper copy of the source text, a paper copy of the translation, an official stamp and a letter of certification in which the translator attests to the document translation being “true and accurate translation of the original document”. Not all translators can certify a translation. In the UK, they must be a qualified member of one of the two official translation bodies: the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI) or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL).

>> Certified translation explained

Do I need a native speaker translator?

Translators need to be fluent in the language of the source text – be it a document, website content, report, presentation, etc. – and be able to write flawlessly in the language of the translation. Although translation involves far more than writing in one language, if you cannot write perfect English, for example, you cannot be a professional translator translating into English. There are many people across the world who can speak more than one language fluently and even without any accent at all, but there are far fewer people who have such an impeccable command of a second language that they can write in a range of styles in that language without error. That is why, as a general rule, professional translators should always be native speakers of the target language: it guarantees high-quality translation.

There is a second point here too: human translation is far superior to machine translation and will always remain so because professional translators are not just highly skilled writers, they also have a deep understanding of the culture of the target language or target country. Translation is rarely just a case of conveying a message literally in a different language; it often involves tweaking the message to suit the audience in question and that requires not just an excellent grasp of language; but a comprehensive understanding of the cultural nuances too.

What translation services does LEaF Translations offer?

LEaF Translations is a professional translation company specialising in website translations and SEO translations. Our clients for website translations include businesses from the hospitality and tourism sector, as well as UK businesses looking to export overseas.

As a carbon-neutral translation company, we also have a strong focus on sustainability and ethical business and love nothing more than supporting other companies and organisations in this sector with high-quality translations.

As experts in SEO translation, keyword localisation and multilingual keyword research, we also work with a number of digital marketing agencies in the UK, providing white-label SEO translation services and supporting them with international SEO.

Finally, our qualified translators in a number of different languages are on hand to provide certified translations of official documents as well as other document translation services.

>> Our expertise

What languages does LEaF translate?

We translate a number of different languages, but the main ones include German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Chinese.

What types of documents does LEaF translate?

In addition to websites, landing pages and marketing materials, we regularly translate documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and degree certificates – predominantly for immigration purposes.

In terms of document formats, we can process almost any document, although we do have to charge an additional fee for non-editable files.

What is SEO translation?

As an SEO translation company, SEO translation is a big part of the translation services that we provide. Put simply, SEO translation refers to two distinct disciplines:
1) Translating title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags etc. for the on-page optimisation of websites (part of technical SEO)
2) Translating web pages in such a way that includes relevant keywords that will help the web page to rank in the desired target market.

Unlike most translation companies, we have real expertise and experience in SEO and, as such, we are also able to provide keyword localisation, multilingual keyword research and other more technical SEO translation services for international SEO.

>> Our Ultimate Guide to Multilingual SEO Keyword Research

Can translators do keyword research?

Not only can some translators do keyword research, when it comes to multilingual keyword research or keyword localisation for foreign-language websites, SEO translators are actually the best people to do the keyword research. But, you should only work with translators who have a suitable level of knowledge and experience in keyword research, as it is a complex discipline in its own right.

More and more digital marketing agencies are looking to SEO translation companies like LEaF Translations for white-label multilingual keyword research and keyword localisation services. Why? Because localising keywords does not just mean translating them; it requires a deep understanding of the local culture. After all, different cultures have different attitudes to risk and there are other aspects such as collectivism vs individualism which influence what they search for and how they use search engines. A seed list of English keywords needs to be localised. Putting the keywords into Google Translate won’t cut it.

>> Our Ultimate Guide to Multilingual SEO Keyword Research
>> How to Translate Amazon Listings