FAQ

1. What types of interpretation do you offer?
2. How do interpreters work?
3. Why do you ask your clients to send materials in advance to prepare the interpreter?
4. How far in advance should I file an application for simultaneous interpretation?
5. What is notary certification of the translator’s signature?
6. How do we calculate words or characters with spaces in a file?
7. Which language (source language or target language) is used to calculate the final translation amount?
8. How much translation can you complete per day?
9. How do you handle urgent orders?
10. What do you mean by “an interpreter specializes in a certain industry”?
11. Why do you recommend having your translation of a presentation or a website checked by a native speaker?
12. How do you uphold performance standards?
13. Does STEP FORWARD use computer-aided translation?
14. Why did you join ESOMAR?
1. What types of interpretation do you offer?

There are two types of interpretation: simultaneous and consecutive. We often receive inquiries for simultaneous interpretation, but after a couple of follow-up questions we see that our client needs a consecutive interpreter. Therefore, we would like to mark the difference between the two.

The history of simultaneous interpretation spans only a few decades. Its distinctive feature is that interpreters render the speech as the speaker is speaking. As a rule, simultaneous interpreters sit in a specially equipped booth or an isolated room and interpret the speaker. Simultaneous interpretation is in high demand at conferences, roundtables and diplomatic meetings, which are usually held as part of marketing studies – focus groups and in-depth interviews. Simultaneous interpretation is the most complicated type of interpretation, as the interpreter is required to multitask (listen to the speech in one language, interpret what is said and convey the information in a different language) and be fully aware of the meeting’s contents. This is precisely why simultaneous interpreters mostly work in pairs, taking turns every 20-30 minutes.

In marketing (focus groups and in-depth interviews), simultaneous interpreters usually work alone. Given its heavy intellectual drain, simultaneous interpreters should be given small breaks between groups/interviews to regain strength.

Certain business meetings and home visits require whispered interpretation, or chuchotage, which is not convenient, as the interpreter must work for one or two listeners while not disrupting or distracting the speaker.

Consecutive interpretation has two stages: an interpreter listens to the speaker and starts interpreting only after the speaker makes a pause. As a rule, the speaker makes two or three statements and gives the interpreter a chance to convey what has been said. Sometimes the speaker can deliver large amounts of information at a time, in which case an interpreter can take notes. Consecutive interpretation is best for events with few participants, such as business talks, some workshops, lectures, court hearings, language support for foreign clients, etc.


2. How do interpreters work?

It is generally accepted that simultaneous interpreters work in pairs. Therefore, we provide two interpreters per booth for large-scale events such as conferences, roundtables, workshops, training sessions, etc. However, most marketing studies and events require one interpreter only.

Simultaneous interpretation is unique for many reasons. First of all, an interpreter focuses on the speaker’s words and interprets them “automatically” without listening to the voice (therefore, it is crucial to have the right equipment installed in the booth). Unlike consecutive interpretation, which exercises the mid-term memory, simultaneous interpretation triggers short-term memory, which gradually begins to prevail as the sharper of the two. In view of the above, some simultaneous interpreters do not take up consecutive interpretation and vice versa, as many consecutive interpreters are less accustomed to a different type of interpretation.

Our simultaneous interpreters are true professionals. Their qualifications and interpretation skills meet the requirements for such specialists, as they have an outstanding command of foreign and Russian languages, literate speech and good pronunciation, copious vocabulary in both languages, swift reaction times, a sharp short-term memory, and intellectual and physical stamina.

Call us, and we will provide a specialist (or specialists) contingent on the event format, industry and objectives. We can send you the interpreter’s CV with a detailed description of his/her professional experience and qualifications. If you need a prior face-to-face meeting with an interpreter, we will arrange it, although this will depend on the specialist’s engagement in other projects. In any case, we are ready to offer a phone conversation with a chosen specialist when agreed.


3. Why do you ask your clients to send materials in advance to prepare the interpreter?

Our employees are highly qualified professionals. However, every interpreter needs time to prepare. The success of any event depends on quality interpretation, which in many ways depends on the knowledge of materials received beforehand. Conference and workshop materials may include the speech or notes on the key elements of the speech to be highlighted during the presentation, as well as the procedures of the entire event. When we receive an order for marketing interpretation, we ask our clients to provide a guide with a list of questions and research objectives, as well as tested concepts or elements of the tested promotion. The interpreter will have time to scrutinize the materials and visit the customer’s website in order to adopt the vocabulary used by the company in question. In so doing, a specialist is on firm ground during his/her work, while listeners get a high quality interpretation.


4. How far in advance should I file an application for simultaneous interpretation?

“The earlier the better” is always true. We do understand that you might need an interpreter when you least expect it, so we exert every effort to provide the relevant professional. If you send an inquiry in good time, we will make sure you get high quality language support for your project. We can choose an interpreter who best fits your objectives. In addition, our specialist will prepare for the job and provide more qualitative interpretation.


5. What is notary certification of the translator’s signature?

You might need certified documents for many reasons. For example, it might be a requirement of various organizations, such as financial authorities, customs offices, tax authorities, passport and visa services, consular departments of embassies, production registration bodies, etc.

Sometimes clients ask us “to certify translation.” But in fact, notaries certify the translator’s signature rather than the translation itself. Translation is notarized in the presence of a certified translator who has a special graduate degree, as well as a notary who holds a license for notarial activities issued by the Department of the Ministry of Justice. In addition, a translator provides personal information to the notary, while he/she certifies that the translator’s signature is authentic. Besides that, the notary has to verify that the document is in line with adopted standards (seal, signature affixed in his/her presence, stitching if a document contains more than one page, etc.).

However, the notary can only certify the translator’s signature in certain documents. Russian documents should bear an official seal and a signature affixed in the presence of a notary. Foreign papers should have an apostille or a stamp of the consular certification, with the exception of passports and driver’s licenses.

There are several formulation options for certified documents. Translations may be appended:

1) To a photocopy of the original;

2) To a certified copy of the Russian or foreign original;

3) To the original itself.

We may make certified copies of certified translations.

If your document does not meet certification requirements and the translator’s signature cannot be certified by a notary, we are ready to provide a translation with the seal of our agency attached.


6. How do we calculate words or characters with spaces in a file?

Most software applications that handle electronic documents have statistical functions, such as character and word calculators. As a rule, you can find them by selecting “Menus > Tools > Word Count.” In the latest Microsoft Office versions, you have to select “Review > Word Count” or check the Word Count button in the lower ribbon. In presentations (for example, PowerPoint), word count normally shows the number of words rather than characters. To fix this and count characters with spaces, we use special-purpose programs such as PractiCount, AnyCount, etc. However, we can charge you based on the number of words if you find it more convenient.


7. Which language (source language or target language) is used to calculate the final translation amount?

When we translate into English, German, French, Spanish or other European languages, our fees are calculated according to characters with spaces (words of a text) in the target language. In other words, if we translate a document from Russian into English, our fees are based on the volume of the English text and vice versa.

Given the fact that Russian is richer in language structures and less compact in general, the Russian text is generally 10-15% more voluminous than the English one. For example, the Russian phrase “Товаров, подлежащих письменному декларированию, нет” would be reduced to the English “Nothing to declare.”

When we make a firsthand estimate of a document, we will give you an approximate quote for the entire project.

As for the Asian languages, such as Japanese, Chinese, etc., our fees are based on the Russian text only, regardless of the translation direction.


8. How much translation can you complete per day?

Our specialists’ performance depends on a variety of factors, such as knowledge of the industry, quality of the source documents, translation direction, project objectives, need for transcreation, etc. Our translators can produce an average of 8-12 standard pages a day.


9. How do you handle urgent orders?

Clearly, you might need translation when you least expect it. In some professional areas, prompt translation is one of the fundamental elements of a project. With this in mind, we can translate documents when you need it by engaging several specialists in your project. Furthermore, we endeavor to adhere to vocabulary uniformity by creating glossaries and having your materials proofread by editors and senior translators in charge of the project.

However, we always warn our clients that any split-up of a document among several translators may affect the cohesiveness of the translation style, despite our efforts.


10. What do you mean by “an interpreter specializes in a certain industry”?

We guarantee that your document will be sent to a specialist with knowledge of your industry. STEP FORWARD Translation & Interpretation Services has a staff of translators in charge of specific industries, such as law and legal, medicine, marketing, technical documents, etc., in which they have extensive experience. This ensures that your order will not be new or foreign to them. Furthermore, some of our specialists have two graduate degrees, with a language as their first major and biology, psychology, medicine, economics, etc. as their second. Our specialists have multiple skills and can be engaged in a very wide variety of translations.


11. Why do you recommend having your translation of a presentation or a website checked by a native speaker?

When our clients request translations of materials that could affect the company’s image, such as presentations, a website or documents available to the general public, we recommend that they have our translation checked by a native speaker. No matter how well you know a foreign language, only a native speaker can provide true authenticity. He/she will make the text smooth by eliminating phrases that might appear unnatural to the target audience.

We cooperate with professional editors and proofreaders who are native speakers and have a strong background in different industries and documentation, as well as a solid command of the Russian language. Thus, we can ensure that the translation fully conforms with the source text in Russian. 


12. How do you uphold performance standards?

We are very particular about the level of the services we offer. However, like any other company, we have occasions when a client complains about the final product. We do not ignore such situations and exert every effort to handle the situation by carefully analyzing these complaints and referring to language experts if necessary.

If the client’s complaints are justified, we guarantee that the translation will be revised at our expense.

It must be said that complaints sometimes arise not due to translation quality, but due to a translator “missing” the style or using different terms. In order to avoid such occasions, we ask our client to send us a project translation or paper samples and other accompanying documents to ensure vocabulary uniformity. We also appoint a specialist whose style most closely conforms to that of the project.

We are always grateful to our clients for their feedback and take their comments and requests into account when working with further documents.


13. Does STEP FORWARD use computer-aided translation?

Today there are many types of advanced machine translation systems, but we strongly believe that they will never be able to replace human translators.

We are totally against computer-aided translation. Our specialists do not even use it for their rough drafts, which allows us to convey the meaning of the original in the most precise and adequate fashion. In our work, we rely both on the knowledge of a foreign language and the rules of the mother tongue, as well as common sense, resulting in a precise, literate and readable translation.


14. Why did you join ESOMAR?

Founded in 1948, ESOMAR (the European Society of Marketing Research Professionals) brings together professionals in market and opinion research.  ESOMAR’s global membership means compliance with its standards and serves to ensure that the firm delivers high quality services to its customers.

Our partners, ESOMAR members, did us an honor by vouching for us. As a result, Vladislav Lopatch, General Director of STEP FORWARD Translation & Interpretation Services, was approved as an ESOMAR member.

Upon accession to the association in 2011, STEP FORWARD Translation & Interpretation Services was the only ESOMAR member not directly involved in marketing studies. ESOMAR membership is a great honor for us.

We would like our clients to know that we adhere to the fundamental principles of the ICC/ESOMAR International Code on Market and Social Research: professional responsibility to customers and contractors, fair competition and data protection guidelines.

We are committed to open and honest cooperation with customers and colleagues!