SMART Translations

Translation | Localization | Project Management

Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions. If you don't find the answer to your question below, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to assist you.


What is the basic translation unit?

Translation services are usually priced based on two different units:

  1. Standard pages – legacy method, 1 standard page equals to 1,800 characters, including spaces.
  2. Source words – state-of-the-art method which takes into account the possibilities of CAT tools.

We use (source) words as the basic counting unit wherever and whenever possible.

Are different languages equally long?

No, they are not. For example, a Czech translation may be up to 35% longer than a source text in English. If you fear that the translation may not fit within your document layout, we can perform a process called "pseudotranslation". In this process, the source text is replaced with a random sequence of characters of a pre-defined length (e.g. 135%). Then, the client can either change the document layout to make it better suited for translation into different languages (internationalization; preferred method), or we can attempt to keep the translation as concise as possible.

What are CAT tools?

The acronym CAT stands for "Computer-Aided Translation" or "Computer-Assisted Translation". In the narrow sense of the word, these tools are translation software working with translations memories (TMs) and databases of terminology (termbases, TDBs).

CAT Tools are never to be confused with machine translation! The product of CAT tools is always HUMAN TRANSLATION.
CAT tools work by comparing segments of text, usually whole sentences, with previously translated content saved in a database called translation memory. If a match is found, the translator can accept, edit or reject this match. Repeated and high-match segments are usually translated at heavily discounted rates. This means that the more repeated content you translate, the more money you can save.

Another advantage of CAT tools is the connection to databases of terminology with active real-time terminology recognition. Therefore, if you use your own corporate terminology, you can rest assured that it is used correctly and consistently.

Which file formats can you work with?

We can process the following file types:

  • Plain text (txt)
  • Rich text (rtf)
  • MS Office (doc, docx, ppt, pptx, xls, xlsx)
  • HTML (xhtml, html 5, html 4)
  • Adobe FrameMaker 8–2019 (mif)
  • Adobe InDesign CS2–CS4 (inx)
  • Adobe InDesign CS4–CC (idml)
  • Adobe InCopy CS4–CC (ICML)
  • Open document (ODT, ODP, ODS)
  • QuarkXPress (xtg, tag)
  • XLIFF 1.2 a 2.0 (xliff, xlf, xlz)
  • Tab/comma delimited text (txt, csv)
  • JAVA resources (properties)
  • Portable object (po)
  • SubRip (srt)
  • JavaScript object notation (json)
  • Microsoft .NET resources (resx)
  • XML (libovolná)
  • XML OASIS DITA 1.3 (xml, dita, ditamap)
  • XML DocBook 4.5 (xml)
  • XML MadCap (html, htm)
  • XML Author-It (xml)
  • XML W3C (xml, its)
  • SDL Translator's Workbench (doc, docx)
  • TRADOStag document (ttx)
  • SDL Edit (itd)
  • Transit bilingual documents
  • MemoQ XLIFF (mqxlf, mqxliff, mqxlz)
  • WorldServer XLIFF (xlf)
  • Strings (strings)
  • Portable document file (pdf)
  • Win32 (exe, dll)
  • Java
  • MSI
  • RC
  • Visual Basic
  • YAML
  • Delphi/C++
  • Android resource
  • Microsoft .NET
  • Windows 8 Modern UI XLIFF
  • ...

Can you process PDFs too?

Depending on the source, Portable Document Files can become a real headache. First of all, it needs to be stressed that PDF is a format that is primarily not intended for editing. The purpose of a PDF file is to display a text and/or image so that it looks exactly the same on multiple computers and across multiple platforms.

There are basically two types of PDFs:

  1. PDFs with a text layer.
  2. PDFs with no text layer.

PDF files with no text layer are usually scanned documents. They are basically image files. In this case, the source document is available only as a printout and/or contains elements, such as stamps and signatures, that must not be tampered with.

We usually attempt to convert such documents to editable files using the optical character recognition (OCR) technology. In most cases, the results are very good, but sometimes the outcome of OCR is much less convincing. Where the document cannot be converted one-to-one, we make reasonable efforts to make our translation look like the original document. Please note, however, that a translator is a linguist, not a DTP specialist.

PDF files with a text layer tend to be much easier to work with. They are usually printouts from other computer applications, such as MS Office, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress etc. The OCRed document will look better, and nearly one-to-one conversion can be achieved.

Remember though, that for any PDF file with a text layer there usually is an editable original document which can be processed directly, i.e. without the unnecessary cost of OCR conversion or subsequent intensive DTP work.

Do you provide sworn translations?

No, we do not provide sworn/certified translations. If you need a sworn Czech translator, you can find one in the list published by the Czech Ministry of Justice at

Why is our translator asking questions?

If your translator is asking you questions regarding your documents, that's a good sign! A translator is just that: a translator. An expert on languages and culture. Not a medical doctor, or a nuclear physicist, or a mechanical/electrical/civil engineer etc. You know your products and services best, so you are in perfect position to provide competent answers.

Some translators feel it is a shame to ask questions, or are way too much confident in their own skills and/or knowledge. The results of their work are often dire. So in fact, if your translator sends in queries, you can consider yourself to be lucky. It means that you are working with a true professional who does care about how his/her work benefits you. A serious translator will first perform an in-depth analysis of your text, and may possibly find problematic sections that need to be explained, clarified, or even reworked. You might have even introduced some ambiguities to the document or use a comma which would alter the meaning of an entire compound sentence – with potential legal consequences.

By inspecting your translator's queries, you often get the opportunity to edit and fine-tune the source document, before it is released and published, based on the ubiased opinion of a meticulous reader. Let's be honest: no-one else will ever read your manuals, instructions, marketing materials, let alone periodic reports as much carefully as your translator.

We find human translation expensive. Can't they be cheaper?

Translation is a job, much like that of medical doctors, lawyers, economists, programmers etc., that requires university degree and talents. Also, translation is a time-consuming process: the time required to translate a document is usually much longer than the time required to write the same document from scratch.

Be realistic: how many pages can a translator process per hour? How much time should a translator spend on a document that should appeal to your clients? And how much time did your colleagues spend on writing the document? Take a sheet of paper and put down all of the resources that you used to develop your product or service you are about to release. Then compare the price of those resources to the costs of translation. If you find out that you cannot afford a high-quality translation, we strongly advise that you wait until you can. Low-quality presentation could potentially destroy years of your hard work.

The translation rate includes the translator's education, specialization, time needed to provide a high-quality translation, as well as translator's expenses: yes, although some won't believe it, translators are business people too and have monthly bills to pay.

If you want to cut the cots of translation, especially on repetitive content, look for translators who use computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, such as SDL Trados Studio, MemoQ, WordFast etc. Furthermore, consider whether or not it is really necessary to have the entire document translated. Could you possibly replace some paragraphs with one or more images? Try to strike general sections that, honestly, your business partners or clients never read anyway and get directly to the point.

Let us know your requirements and get a free quote.

We need the translation in two days. Can you do it?

The key factors to consider are the volume of text, the format, degree of specialization etc. The best thing you can do is send in your request along with your documents to be translated and get a quote.

To give you a very basic guide, the daily output of a skilled translator is approximately 2,000 words, sometimes even slightly more. Remember though, that a high-quality translation needs to "mature": as a good practice, translators usually finish the job and then read the result once again after a day or two. Translation is an intellectual, not industrial job.