5 questions to ask your potential translation agency
Client empowerment, Insider info, Tips

5 questions to ask your potential translation agency

5 questions to ask your potential translation agency

When shopping around for a translation agency, it is your right to be informed. Thus, we at Go Dutch Translation believe in educating and empowering clients. We want clients to make the best decisions regarding their language service needs. Here are our 5 questions to ask your potential translation agency, straight from an industry insider.

1. What makes your agency stand out?

There are thousands of translation agencies of all types. They range from are one person operations to conglomerates with 100s of employees. However, the translation agency you choose depends on your needs rather than their size.

As a client, it’s essential to be informed. Be prepared to ask your potential translation agency why they stand out. You may find that the scrappy upstart can handle your 20,000-word project just as well as the large agency, but without the costly overhead.

And be sure to do your homework. Use search engines like Google to find out more information about the agency if you’re not sure. You want to work with a translation agency that both knows what they are doing and is known for what they are doing.

2. Are your specializations right for my needs?

One-size-fits-all should be a dirty term in our industry.

Clients come from all sorts of backgrounds. Accordingly, clients have all sorts of needs. For example, an agency specialized in legal translations is best equipped to handle legalese. Thus, be careful to match up your translation needs with the capabilities of the agency.

It’s important that you find out their specializations right away. Do their translators have significant experience in your sector? Or—even better—do they have formal education in it? All these questions and more go a long way in choosing a language service partner. Because when it has to be right, you need to go to a specialist.

3. Do you offer any sort of satisfaction guarantee?

Even the most earnest and prepared translation agencies can get it wrong. What counts is what they do about it. Do they offer some sort of satisfaction guarantee? Will they provide a rewrite free of charge? Can the agency arrange for outside proofreading?

Sometimes even a partial refund or rewrite goes a long way in building trust and a fruitful long-term business relationship. Thus, any agency worth its salt should be prepared to rectify any situation in which the client is not fully satisfied. In our industry, our reputation is only as good as our work—and we know it.]

4. Who are your translators?

This is a vital question. While many agencies will not allow for direct contact between translator and end client, the best agencies will have no problem providing more information about their freelancers. Some will even provide blind CVs from which clients can choose for their projects.

As a rule, the better the agency, the more experienced their translators. Better yet if their translators have formal education in various specialized sectors such as law, finance, or medicine.

At Go Dutch Translation, we are a translation team of opposite language professional translators. What you see is what you get—here, your project managers are your translators and vice versa.

5. Are there any hidden fees?

This is an important one.

For most languages, clients pay per word. However, some agencies will charge per word and then tack on a percentage as a project management fee. Be sure to ask beforehand how the agency charges for their work. Also, remember to ask if there are any rush fees—agencies may impose “rush” fees depending on the number of words and deadline.

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Dutch language, Tips

How to choose a Dutch to English translator

Small country, large language ability

Anywhere from 90-93% of the Dutch population claims to be conversant in English. Its small size, dependency on trade, and use of subtitles for foreign media have all contributed to fluency in English. In addition, the Dutch language is a cousin of English—both languages are closely related West Germanic languages. Occupations requiring knowledge of English are also abundant in the Netherlands. Finally, English is an official language of Amsterdam and the Caribbean municipalities of Sint Eustatius and Saba.

So why is it so difficult to find a good Dutch to English translation? Blame Dunglish.

Dutch document translation


Dunglish is a mashup of the words Dutch and English (in Dutch, steenkolenengels, literally: “coal English”). It is a popular term for the mistakes that native Dutch speakers make when speaking English.

Common Dunglish errors involve pronunciation, word order, meaning, false friends, and false cognates. Because the level of English is so high in the Netherlands, this can lead to a false sense of security. However, even the best Dutch speakers of English can make mistakes. Former Dutch ambassador and prime minister Dries van Agt famously asserted “I can stand my little man”. This is a translation of ik kan mijn mannetje staan, Dutch for “I can stand up for myself”. The former leader of the Dutch Liberal Party, Frits Bolkestein, repeatedly referred to economic prospects as “golden showers,” unaware of the term’s sexual connotation.

Incorrect meaning of words

Dunglish is rife with false friends, incorrectly translated words for understandable reasons. Examples include:

• The Dutch verb solliciteren means to apply for a job, which can lead to some hairy situations when someone claims they have come to solicit!
• Former prime minster Joop den Uyl once famously remarked that “the Dutch are a nation of undertakers.” The Dutch verb ondernemen is literally the English undertake (as onder means under and nemen means take). The noun ondernemer is therefore literally undertaker, but in idiomatic English we use the French loanword entrepreneur. In English, an undertaker is someone who prepares dead bodies for funerals.

Word order

Some Dutch speakers may use syntax inappropriately in English, creating errors like What mean you? instead of What do you mean?.

Dutch and English do not follow the same word order. English follows subject-verb-object word order, Dutch only partially does, along with a verb-second order. This is a particularly vexing challenge for native Dutch spe
akers, and all the more reason to seek a native Dutch to English translator.

Compound nouns written as one wordDutch translation company

In English, only certain compound nouns can be written as one word, while in Dutch the default is to write a compound noun as a single word. This can be seen in errors in English text on signs—at Schiphol Airport, for example, one can see signs for “boardingpass,” “traintickets,” and “meetingpoints.”

How to find an excellent Dutch to English translator

It cannot be denied that the Dutch are excellent speakers of English. However, with possible errors in pronunciation, verb conjugation, usage of false friends, and compound nouns written as one word, we advise that you choose carefully when selecting a Dutch to English translator.

When seeking to have your documents translated from Dutch to English, you want your native English-speaking audience to fully understand your message. You want your English to be idiomatic, precise, culturally relevant and error free. That’s why it is vitally important that you either hire a native English translator working out of Dutch or, at the very least, a Dutch translator working into English with a native English proofreader checking the translation before it is handed off.

At Go Dutch Translation, we follow best industry practices by using native target language translators. But we go even one step further: as an opposite pair translation team, we have two translators working on every translation at one time. Each translation is handled by two translators going Dutch and sharing the burden—one native in the source language, and one native in the target. This ensures complete bidirectional understanding and a flawless end result. And the best part is that as a translation team, we have lower overhead than costly large translation agencies to save you money when you need it most.

Contact us today for more information regarding Dutch to English translations.