Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You can find our most frequently asked questions below. However, if you still can’t find the answer to your question, please get in touch, and we’ll get back to you.

Whilst translation and interpreting both deal with communicating in other languages, there are some large differences. Generally speaking, translation deals with the written word and interpreting deals with the spoken word.

Translations are carried out by translators based at home or in an office. Our linguists only translate into their native language, so a document that needs to be translated from English to French will be done by a native French linguist, with appropriate qualifications and experience, which are checked during our stringent vetting process – we only work with the best.

Interpreting can be done face-to-face, via telephone, or via video using qualified interpreters working in real time situations. The spoken and written word can crossover in some instances, for example, if you are looking to have subtitles inserted into a video, or for a spoken interview to be documented. We’re able to deal with a wide variety of language requirements, if you’re unsure on what exactly you need, leave your details in our contact form and we’ll do the rest.

Translation is the process of translating the source text from one language to another. Localisation is ensuring the text is not only translated, but is appropriate for the target market it is aiming to reach. Localised text should never read as though it has been translated, it should sound completely natural in the target language, and the terminology used should reflect the local language and culture. A good example of this is localised content for the American market would not say “I need some new trainers”, it would say “I need some new sneakers”.

If you are considering trading in international markets, your marketing content will require localising as opposed to translating. We know that not all translation projects are the same, so we offer different levels, depending on what is best for you. Read more about these services here.

The change in tone, language and style of the text of a translation is up to you. It usually depends on the purpose of the document. If you are looking to translate a website, marketing material or your company slogan, we suggest a creative localisation solution, where the linguist will make stylistic changes to better suit your target audience. Find out more about the different approaches to localisation.

Website translation is one of our most common requests. We consult with our clients before performing any website translations, to ensure we find the best solution for you and your team. Localisation for the digital word is much more than a straightforward translation. It takes into account many other aspects that will influence the target audience, such as localised keywords and multilingual SEO. To help facilitate website translation, we use website integration solutions and technology to allow content to flow from your Content Management System to us.

If you are a current customer of Capita TI, please contact your procurement team as you will require your unique customer ID. Unfortunately, without this information we are unable to take a booking. For any new customer enquiries relating to public sector services, please leave your details in our contact form and we’ll get back to you.

We are able to translate in over 180 different language pairs. You can find a brief list of our most common languages here. Whatever your language requirement, and however rare that language may be, we will always try to accommodate your translation request.

If you need a translation to be turned around in a short time frame, we have a 24/7 team to accommodate these urgent requests. Please leave your details in our contact form and state your time frame or deadline.

This is much more common than you may expect, but don’t worry – we are bursting with multi-lingual members of staff, and experts in linguistics. Even if the original language is not one of the many languages we cover in-house, our team handles projects in over 180 languages. There are not many languages we can’t recognise. If our team members are unable to identify the language themselves, then we have numerous resources and technology available to us for language recognition. Either way, we can help.

We can work with a variety of file types, and our File Engineering team has extensive knowledge of working with various formats – in fact we prefer the original files rather than PDF, or you copying text out of an InDesign file. Our most common file types include Word, Excel, XMLl, HTML, Adobe InDesign, xliff, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop. No matter what your file format, we can find a way to prepare the text ready for translation and deliver it back in the same format.

The original source file is much easier to work with, and will provide you with a better quality end document, so we would always prefer this where possible. Where this file is not available though, we are able to work with non-editable PDFs and can even re-create the source file for you. Read our blog post on translating PDFs for more information on this topic.

Unfortunately we do not translate personal documents such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and business cards, nor would it be cost effective for you to use our services to do this. If you have a business request, please fill in our contact form at the bottom of this page.

We have a varied and diverse customer base and we are able to respond to emergencies. However ideally, we would prefer as much notice as possible, in order to allow us sufficient time to find the most suitable interpreter for each assignment. Telephone interpreting is a great solution to this problem, as you can be connected to an interpreter within seconds. Find out more about our LiveLINK platform.

If you are interested in becoming either an interpreter or translator, please visit our Careers section for more information.

In order to provide translation or interpreting services for Capita TI you will be required to have the relevant experience and qualification – these vary depending on the project and language pair. Please visit our Careers section for more information.

Machine Translation (MT) is the use of software to translate text or speech from one natural language into another, giving you a gist of the message. However, we also specialise in customised machine translation, building engines that are tailored to your industry and content, therefore improving the results. We then use a native linguist to ensure that the quality of the final deliverable matches that of a human translator – we just got their quicker (and therefore potentially cheaper). We have our own MT solution, SmartMATE and we’ll consult with you on the possibility of applying MT to your project. For more information, read our guide ‘Machine Translation; What, Why When & How?’

We use both qualified translators as well as new translation technologies, such as machine translation. Depending on your project requirements, we will assess the level and impact of the document and use human translators, machine translation, or a combination of the two. Our linguists always translate into their native language.

Machine translation (MT) can bring many benefits, including lower costs, quicker turnaround times and consistent translated material. The quality of the output depends on the document – not all content is suitable for Machine Translation. We recommend using MT for technical documents such as user manuals, where text is repetitive and instructional. MT is not recommended for marketing materials or creative writing.

All translated documents are assessed by another linguist in order to ensure the text is an accurate representation of the source text and to make any stylistic changes that may be appropriate. Our project managers will also undertake a quality check to make sure that the correct format has been replicated and our client’s requirements adhered to.

Yes, we operate an independent proofreading service and we can check that your translated documents are accurate in the target language. We can also check these against the source file to identify and errors and guarantee the quality of the translation.

All suppliers, whether translators, interpreters, DTP specialists or otherwise, are required to sign our standard terms & conditions. This document includes clauses specifically targeting confidentiality, privacy and the non-disclosure of information. In addition, some clients do prefer our linguists to sign their own non-disclosure agreement and privacy policy for the avoidance of all doubt, and in some cases, our suppliers even have to be security cleared to various levels.

Please contact us for further questions with regard to your security requirements. We will be happy to discuss these on a case-by-case basis with you. After all we are 27001 certified so we live and breathe all things security.

Absolutely. All of our processes and systems are some of the most secure in the industry, and are backed up by our ISO 27001 (Information Security) accreditation. Our staff undergo regular security training, and our linguists work within a secure, locked-down Translation Management System. You can read more on our security procedures here.

The cost of each translation will vary from project to project, and will depend upon a number of factors including language pairs, the length of the document, the complexity of the job and the number of projects completed before. It is vital that our File Engineering team carries out a thorough investigation on your source files before providing a precise quotation, so that any issues can be identified from the start, and unwanted costs can be avoided – we pride ourselves on the right solution for each customer, and there is no standard price for that level of customised service.

The more jobs we work on for you, the cheaper your translations will become, as you can benefit from our translation technologies to drive your costs down through economies of scale. You can read more about why quotes on word count alone are not accurate.

The three currencies we work with on a daily basis are: GBP, EUR and USD. We are able to accept other currencies as well; however, this would need to be discussed on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further information.

We accept a variety of payment types, the most common is by invoice, but we can also take upfront credit card payments.

Yes we are. We were acquired by Capita plc in 2011, and now make up one small part of the wider Capita group. If you need access to any other Capita services, we would be happy to put you in touch with the right contact. You can read more on our position within Capita.

We carry out translation and interpreting for many other Capita businesses and we have a dedicated Account Manager who looks after requests from within Capita. Just enter your details in our contact form and we’ll be in touch.

Our industry never stops – content is increasingly needed faster and on demand. We operate a 24/7 support function so we can provide round the clock service to you and ensure that we can meet those demanding time to market objectives that you have.

You can fill in a contact form at the bottom of this page and one of our team will be in touch or call us on +44 (0)845 367 7000.

After you’ve completed an enquiry form, we’ll review your requirements and one of our team will get back to you to discuss the details. All of our team are focussed on a niche sector so you’ll speak to someone who knows your industry inside and out. Once you send us the files for translation, we’ll be able to align the correct solution to meet your needs and give you an accurate quote, but there’s no obligation to proceed.

Our secure web-based portal allows you to order and track jobs, download translations, set up user roles and permissions, and access your files and data, including your translation memories and terminology database. This is available to use at any time, and is completely secure, ensuring your data is available 24 hours a day, but to only those who need it.


Acronyms and industry jargon can be confusing – below is a glossary of some of commonly used terms in the languages industry.

American Translators Association (ATA) = Not-for profit professional association of translators and interpreters.

Application Programming Interface (API) = A set of definitions and protocols for building software and applications.

Association of Translation Companies (ATC) = Established professional organisation of translation companies.

basic same language transcription = The process of transcribing the source text only.

bi-directional (writing system) = A writing system in which text is generally right justified, and most characters are written from right to left, but some text is written left-to-right as well. Arabic and Hebrew are the only bi-directional writing systems in current use.

bilingual = Someone who can speak and write two languages, to the same native level.

British Sign Language (BSL) = A sign language spoken in the UK.

captioning = Also known as subtitling. The process of adding a written translation of the dialogue or narration on-screen or above the stage.

certified translation = A simple certification by some public notary as to the validity of the translation.

Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) = UK-based membership body for language professionals.

Chinese, Japanese, Korean (CJK) = Collective term for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages, which use Chinese characters and derivatives in their writing systems.

computer-aided translation (CAT) = Describes a computer application which assists in translation, for example translation memory (TM) software.

consecutive interpreting = In consecutive interpreting, the most used form of interpreting, interpretation is done after each sentence.

copywriting = Copywriting, in our industry, is a more creative kind of translation, similar to transcreation. Copywriting must remain faithful to the original message of course, however, more creative freedom is allowed and the translation is not a direct translation of the source, it is rather re-written using the source text as a guide only.

deaf-blind interpreter = Interpreters capable of conveying the meaning of content amongst languages for deaf-blind clients.

desktop publishing (DTP) = Using computers to lay out text and graphics for printing in magazines, newsletters and brochures. Programmes include QuarkXpress and InDesign. Desktop publishing is used alongside translation as text can expand and contract when translating into other languages, and spacing on the page may need to be amended.

Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) = Qualification awarded by the Chartered Institute of Linguists as a means of quality control for public service interpreters.

e-Content localisation = The translation and cultural adaptation for local markets of digital information.

ecosystem = Capita TI’s ecosystem is the collective term for the people, technology and language assets involved in the localisation process.

e-Learning localisation = The process of creating multilingual versions of e-Learning content.
exact match = A perfect character by character match between a source segment currently to be translated and a source segment stored in a TM.

external repetitions = Segments that appear more than once across two or more source texts but have not yet been translated, i.e., they are not yet contained as translation units in a TM. See also: internal repetitions and exact match.

face-to-face interpreting = When an interpreter is physically present at an appointment or meeting, to provide simultaneous or liason interpreting.

French, Italian, German, Spanish (FIGS) = A language group to refer to popular European languages, usually the first languages a company chooses to localise into.

full match = A source text segment which corresponds exactly (100%) with a previously stored sentence in an existing translation memory. Also known as Exact or 100% match.

fuzzy match = Refers to the situation when a sentence or phrase in a translation memory is similar (but not a 100% match) to the sentence or phrase the translator is currently working on. The TM tool calculates the degree of similarity as a percentage figure.

fuzzy matching = A method used in translation memory to match up a sentence (currently translating) that is similar to a previously translated sentence. The higher the percentage of the ‘fuzzy match’, the more similar the sentences are.

gist translation = A term used to denote a) instant “for your information” machine translation and b) monolingual text summarisation.

globalisation (G11N) = Refers to a broad range of processes necessary to prepare and launch products and company activities internationally. Addresses the business issues associated with launching a product globally, such as integrating localisation throughout a company after proper internationalisation and product design. In the abbreviation, 11 refers to the eleven letters between the G and the N.

Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) = Non-profit international association of companies providing translation, internationalisation, localisation, and globalisation products or services.

globalisation management system (GMS) = A translation tool designed to facilitate localisation of websites with constantly-changing content.

glossary = In the context of localisation, a glossary is a list of source language terms paired with a list of corresponding terms in the target language.

heavy/full-post edit = This involves all standard revision practices (checking terminology, proper names, etc) as well as making syntactic/grammatical modifications to adapt the deviant linguistic nature of some MT output to standard stylistic practise in the target language.
ICE matches = ICE match stands for “in-context exact match.” To be characterised as an ICE match, a candidate must be an exact match and must share a common usage context with the translation memory entry providing the match.

internal repetitions = Segments that appear in a source text more than once but have not yet been translated, i.e., they are not yet contained as translation units in a TM.

internationalisation (I18N) = The process of generalising a product so that it can handle multiple languages and cultural conventions without the need for redesign. In I18N, the common abbreviation for internationalisation, the 18 refers to the eighteen letters between the I and the N.

interpreting = The process of conveying spoken meaning between languages.

instant telephone interpreting (ITI) = A form of interpreting carried out over a telephone line.

Institute of Translation and Interpretation (ITI) = Professional organisation, promoting quality in translation and interpreting.

Language Service Provider (LSP) = An organisation that provides translation, interpreting and other language services, also know as a translation agency.

left-to-right = Refers to the writing direction. Speakers of many languages begin to write at the upper left of a page and write horizontally to the right side.

light post edit = This includes taking the raw MT output and performing as few modifications as possible on the text to make it an accurate reflection of the source text content.

locale = A place or locality especially when viewed in relation to a particular event or characteristic.

localisation (L10N) = Describes the process of adapting a product or software to a specific international language or culture so that it seems natural to that particular region. True localisation considers language, culture, customs and the characteristics of the target locale. While it frequently involves changes to the software’s writing system, it may also change the keyboard usage, fonts, date, time and monetary formats. Graphics, colours and sound effects also need to be culturally appropriate. In L10N, the common abbreviation for localisation, the 10 refers to the ten letters between the L and the N.

machine translation (MT) = The process whereby a computer has the primary responsibility for the translation of a text. A human may assist in the process through such tasks as pre- or post-editing, but it is the computer, rather than the human, that produces an actual draft translation.

multi-language vendor (MLV) = A term used to describe a relatively large localisation service provider offering a wide range of languages and other services.

multilingual typsetting = Also known as DTP, the editing of a document following translation and content length expansion/shrinking to ensure it still looks professional from a formatting perspective.

native translation = What you always want to look for in a translator. Your target language translation should always be done by a native speaker.

National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) = Independent voluntary regulator of professional interpreters specialising in the public sector.

neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) = An approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy.

post-edited machine translation (PEMT) = Translation process where a human translator amends machine translted content.

pre-translation = Pre-translation refers to the process of comparing a complete source text to a TM database and automatically inserting the translations of all exact matches found in the database. The result is a hybrid text containing pre-translated and untranslated segments.

Proofreading = Part of the translation process. Usually looking for gross errors and will not make changes in tone or vocabulary. The last review of a translation.

quality assurance (QA) = A stage in the translation process to monitor and measure the quality of translated content.
right-to-left = Refers to the writing direction. In Arabic countries, persons write starting at the upper right of a page and continuing horizontally to the left side.

right-to-left languages = Languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi are written primarily right-to-left. This text flow presents significant text and graphic layout implications.

rule-based machine translation = A general term that denotes machine translation systems based on linguistic information about source and target languages basically retrieved from (bilingual) dictionaries and grammars covering the main semantic, morphological, and syntactic regularities of each language respectively.

sign language interpreter = A type of interpreter for clients requiring sign language.

simultaneous interpreting = A form of interpreting which requires interpreters working in teams of 2 or 3 in sound-proofed booths. Interpreters speak into a microphone and the delegates listen through headsets the interpretation usually has a two to three second delay.

single language vendor (SLV) = A term used to describe a relatively small localisation service provider offering only one or a restricted number of languages.

SmartMATE = A technological toolkit designed to solve localisation challenges by enabling a MT environment to be built for a client.

software localisation = A service Capita TI is experienced in delivering. The process to transform a software’s locale, GUI, Help, etc to the target language according to its cultural context and business practices. The feel and look of the localised software is kept identical to the parent software.

source and target transcription = The transcription of both the source and target languages.

source language = The language the original document is written in.

standard translated transcription = The process of translating and transcribing in one step, only the target language will be transcribed.

summary translation = As with gist translation, a term used to denote a) instant “for your information” machine translation and b) monolingual text summarisation.

target language   = The language or languages the final document is to be produced in.

term extraction = The computer-assited process of extracting a list of potential terms from a selection of electronic texts. The resulting list of candidates must be verified by a human terminologist or translator. Term extraction can be either monolingual or bilingual.

terminology databases = A terminology database is an organised record of standard translations of common terms. It allows you to use standard terminology across your globalisation projects, aiding in translation consistency and efficiency.

text expansion = When translating from English into another language, the translation will generally be longer than the source as most other languages have longer words and use several words where English may use only one. This is called text expansion and often accounts for translations being approximately 20-30% longer than the source text.

Transcreation = Recreating a text for the target audience, in other words “translating” and “recreating”. Transcreation can be challenging and time-consuming because in addition to the difficulties posed by creating a target text containing all the aspects of the source text (message, style, images and emotions, cultural background), marketing and advertising copy often poses other difficulties for the transcreator as well. Taglines, for example, often contain puns or cultural references. They tend to be incorporated in a logo or image, with limited space and a fixed layout for the text. In addition, they are often used for multiple target groups: not just consumers, but also resellers and stakeholders, which means the text should appeal to all of them.

Transcription = The process of converting speech into a written or electronic text document.

Translation = The process of rendering the written word from one language into another.

Translation Edit Rate (TER) = A metric to assess post-editing effort.

translation, editing, and proofreading (TEP) = A 3 step translation process.

translation management system (TMS) = A software application integrating a set of translation support tools. Apart from translation memory these include terminology management and word processing, editing, project management and quality control tools.

translation memory (TM) = A database that stores words and strings of text that have previously been translated to save time and cost, and improve consistency.

website localisation = Making website and digital content available in multiple languages  A service Capita TI is experienced in delivering.

website translation proxy = A localisation technique which enables audiences to see a client’s website in their local language, depending on where they are viewing the site from.

word-for-word translation = The process of rendering text from one language to another, one word at a time, sometimes without conveying the sense of the original. Also known as a direct or literal translation.

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