If you are exporting or planning to export to non-English language countries, then you will need to translate your product, collateral, commercial documentation and - most likely - your web site and email exchanges as well.

The good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune.

Your requirements can be probably categorised as follows:

  1. Basic, shorter documentation for general distribution. e.g. emails and direct messages
  2. Simple, short Speak & Translate exchanges.
  3. Your website and complex formal documentation.
  4. Official Translations.
  5. Face-to-face translations.

Depending on the subject matter that you are translating, you may also have Linguistic and Cultural Diversity considerations into account.

So, what are your choices?

See also TTS's eGuide: Will Machines replace Translators?

  1. Standard machine translations can be used for simple, factual, non-emotional documents and chat exchanges.
  2. Speak & Translate apps can be used for brief chat requirements.
  3. Hybrid translations can be used for more complex documents. This is where the text is machine translated which is then checked and edited by a human translator.
  4. Certified translations will be often required for official purposes. These can relate to legal documents and information such as birth, death and marriage certificates, legal contracts, academic transcripts, etc. these have to be translated by an authorised human translator.
  5. When you have face-to-face meetings having an interpreter will help conversations flow much better and smoother than using a Speak & Translate app.


Machine translations usually provide a rigid, word-for-word, literal translation. Fine, if that is what you are looking for - and then they can work very well. However, if you are looking for a translation that is more nuanced, protecting the original meaning across languages and cultures then it is advisable to employ a translator. In the case of certified translations, you have to use an authorised human translator.

With regard to Speak & Translate services, there are apps for your smartphone available on Apple Store and Google Play which work well for impromptu, short exchanges.

See also: New Markets/Foreign Buyers/Language Considerations.

If you have text that is simple and to be translated immediately e.g. emails and\or foreign language text to be translated into English, then we suggest you use:

Google Translate

Google's free service instantly translates words, phrases, and web pages between English and over 100 other languages. (The translation service also works from the foreign language to English.)



DeepL is also a free service. It covers fewer languages than Google Translate. However, you can download the app and use this offline simply by double-clicking the text you want to translate. They also claim to provide better translations than Google Translate in those languages that they do cover.


Speak & Translate Apps for your smartphone can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play.

To get the best out of machine translations we suggest that you follow these do's and don'ts when preparing yor text:

Do use:

  • Simple words where there is an alternative to “complex” words e.g. “can” rather than “has the capacity to” and “show” rather than “elucidate”.
  • Very simple sentences e.g. avoid the use of subordinate clauses.
  • Short sentences - no sentence being longer than 1 line in the text box.
  • Bullet points to list key points you want to make.
  • Short paragraphs to separate different concepts you want to communicate.
  • Digits to express numbers rather than write them e.g. “1%” not “one percent”.

Do not use:

  • Complex business terms e.g. “Dead cat bounce”, or “Golden share.”
  • Cultural or sporting refences e.g. “Simples” or “You will be bowled over”.
  • Foreign words e.g. “caveat” or “alma mater”.
  • Metaphors e.g. “America is a melting pot.”
  • Slang or jargon e.g. “Gotcha” or “Gazumping”.
  • Idioms. These rely completely on contextual understanding e.g. “over the moon”, “the penny dropped etc.

If at all possible, you should also avoid:

  • Acronyms e.g. “PDA” or “EBITDA” (unless you are sure that they are used and understood internationally).
  • Similes e.g. “…… as gentle as a lamb”.
  • The passive tense e.g. “We deliver goods within 7 days” is better than “Goods are delivered within 7 days.”
  • Using the word “you”. Many languages have different forms representing not just “singular” and “plural” forms but also different degrees of formality – which the English word “you” does not convey. Apart from showing the “wrong” form, there is a risk that different forms will be used in the same document.
  • Any sentences or phrases which could be ambiguous e.g. “Katy and Sharon were in the restaurant and Katy picked up her handbag.” In this sentence “her handbag” could refer equally to Katy’s or Sharon’s handbag.

N.B. If you draft your description taking the above into account, not only will the translations be more accurate, but will actually make it easier for English speakers to absorb your message.

PAB's Hybrid Translation

PAB has developed a method that combines the expertise of a human copywriter with the latest translation engine. The platform can generate translations in 20 languages—at a fraction of the time and cost of mother-tongue translators!

Hybrid machine translation involves a human writer and checker at key points:

  1. By writing in plain, simple English, an expert copywriter ensures the text achieves the best translation first time around.
  2. A human proof-reader then uses refined reverse translation techniques to check the translated text for accuracy.
  3. If there are any ambiguities, then the original text is tweaked, and the process is repeated until a satisfactory translation is achieved.

Hybrid translations are recommended for more complex documents and websites.

Pricing: This will depend upon: (a) the length of the translation (b) the languages involved and (c) the complexity of the text. However, you will be given a quote to allow you to decide whether you wish to proceed.

For a free, no obligation quote, just click here.

PAB's Copywriting Services are designed for complex, formal documentation, such as websites, legal documentation and marketing collateral.

If you are not concerned about cultural differences in the content you are translating and do not have to pay close attention to the brand language, standard translations can be used. However, marketing campaigns and website content need to be tailored to the reader and the purpose. The fact is, when your marketing content is to be read across a variety of regions and to accurately reflect your marketing messages, you need international copyrighting services - which go well beyond "simple" language translations.

Whereas translators work with an existing text which they have to ‘transpose’ into another language, copywriters must create the text from scratch by working to a brief, which will generally contain information about the objective of the content, the desired length, where it will appear, the target audience, etc. Copywriters need to be able to carefully structure their arguments throughout the text, apply storytelling techniques, express themselves in a certain tone of voice, and write eloquently, of course.

International copywriting is the best option when you need to adapt the content to the local and cultural context. This might include advertisements and billboards – both physical and digital – headlines and body copy, slogans and straplines. Indeed, international copywriting is ideal for any type of content you want to emotionally engage your global audience with.

PAB works with experienced translators, and each translator is a native speaker of your target language. Translators have specific industry experience, so the best translator is matched to your brand. Human translators ensure that your brand is represented consistently and that your content has the same tone in all languages.

Pricing: This will depend upon: (a) the length of the translation (b) the languages involved (c) the complexity of the text and (d) whether you require an "Official Translation". However, you will be given a quote to allow you to decide whether you wish to proceed.

For a free, no obligation quote, just click here.

Official Translations are usually required for legal documents - both from a commercial as well as an official rationale. 'Official' requirements vary from country to country, depending on that country’s particular legal system. Each country will also have its own system for appointing and regulating official translators. This means that the translation must be made by an officially recognised person - you cannot use a machine translation service. PAB can help you understand these requirements, ensuring you get the right translation service for your needs.

Types of Official Translation:

  1. Certified.
  2. Legalised.
  3. Notarised.
  4. Sworn.

Certified: The translator must attest that the translation is "a true, complete and accurate translation" of the original document. Each page of the translation should be stamped and/or initialled (by the translator and/or certifying authority).

Legalised or Apostilled: These translations carry a declaration endorsed by a Notary Public. Usually, the original document will bear the Apostille. An Apostille verifies the authenticity of the signature; it does not endorse the content of the document. If you require an apostille, contact the UK Government's Legalisation Office.

Notarised: This usually means that the translation either (i) carries a declaration by the translator that has been signed by the Notary or (ii) carries a declaration by the Notary Public concerning the original document and the translation. Notarised translations are usually for providing accountability in terms of the translator’s details. The Notary’s signature does not endorse the quality of the translation.

Sworn: In the UK, as a common law country, there is no such thing as a sworn translator. However, in civil law countries sworn translators are appointed and accredited by the relevant government authorities. Depending on the country, only sworn translators who are listed on the official list of sworn translators may produce a 'certified', 'sworn' or 'official' translation (these can be checked via the Embassy of the relevant country; see overseas representation in the relevant Country's UK Support Profile).

Pricing: Again, this will depend upon the: (a) the length of the translation (b) the languages involved (c) the complexity of the text and (d) whether the translation has to be notarised – there may be additional legal fees. Again, you will be given a quote to allow you to decide whether you wish to proceed.

For a free, no obligation quote, just click here.

There are Speak & Translate apps that you can download from the Apple Store and Google Play, which can be acceptable for short impromptu exchanges.

However, for face-to-face meetings, video conference calls and formal presentations human interpreters are needed. PAB’s agency partners can provide a quote based primarily on (a) the length of time the interpreter is required and (b) whether the interpreter has to travel or can provide their services by teleconference.

To book an interpreter (and for a free, no obligation quote, just click here.)