Archive for the ‘Certified Japanese Translation Services’ Category

Ok, so what’s the deal with the “Show me the documents” thing?

If you’ve ever requested a quote for certified translation, you’ve more than likely had to send in your documents first. Not very many Japanese translation companies – at least not the professional ones, anyway – will issue a translation quote sight unseen (What’s the quote to be based on?). And, most people understand that, especially with personal legal documents, it is necessary for the translation provider to review the documents in order to issue an accurate and meaningful quote.

However, when it comes to personal legal information folks are reluctant to send in their documents. This is natural, considering the nature of those documents and what could happen if the documents were to -God forbid- fall into the wrong hands. The stock response is “All these documents are the same” or “It’s just a Koseki Tohon (Japanese family register) translation”, and “so why do you need to review the document first before issuing a quote?”

Yes and no.

Yes, because in Japan, many documents such as Koseki Tohon, Birth Certificates, Divorce Certificates, Driver’s Licenses, Japanese Family Registers, Juminhyo and Marriage Certificates etc tend to generally follow a similar, but not the same, format. In some cases, however, a totally different format is used. Case in point is the Koseki Tohon, for which there are several formats. Obviously this will affect the quote since the amount of work required is different.

No, because even if the documents follow a similar format, the amount of text is always different. For example, Koseki Tohon can run anywhere from half a page to 3~4 pages. And, since most certified Japanese translation services quote on word count the quote is going to vary greatly even though “It’s just a koseki Tohon translation”.

Now, I know some translation companies publish their so-called “rates” upfront. But, is it really reasonable to expect the same quote for a half page certified Japanese English translation as for 3~4 page job? That rate you get upfront — It’s a hook-and-bait deal designed to get you in the door where their sales folks can get to work on you for the much higher real rate!

So, since you now understand how the system works, know that sending in your personal legal documents for an accurate quote is in your own best interests.

(If you’re concerned about your privacy and person documents, simply ask the translation company for an NDA before sending in your documents.)