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Translation Kits - Roadmaps for Your Language Services Provider

By McElroy Translation,
Austin, Texas 78701 USA


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Jessica Rathke

Translation kits range from the very simple to the very complex. In either case, translation kits provide your vendor with vital information about every project you award them. The purpose of a translation kit is to provide us with your expectations: the subject matter and target audience, files and format to be translated, delivery expectations, special considerations and any other relevant information all in one place. The benefits of a translation kit are many-fold: fewer calls from us requesting clarification, fewer issues that arise during translation, less rework and fewer surprises at the end of the project (i.e. unmet expectations).

The time to provide a translation kit is at the quoting stage. This enables us to provide you with an accurate view of cost and turnaround time and resolve any problems BEFORE the project starts.

Basic Translation Kit

A good basic translation kit will include

  • A list of target languages and locales (assuming the original is in English)
  • English source application files such as Word, Quark, InDesign, FrameMaker, PageMaker. This enables us to provide accurate costs, schedule and plan.
  • Source application graphics such as Illustrator, Visio, etc., which enables us to extract/replace text from/into the graphic rather than recreating the graphic from scratch
  • If source graphics are not available, then specify whether graphics are to be recreated to match the original or if creating a key is sufficient.
  • Specify any special font requirements
  • Provide existing translation memories or language glossaries you may have
  • Indicate the desired deliverable (translated text only or language versions that match the formatting of the original language version)
  • Any terminology preferences (an example is a product name that should remain in English)

Special Requests – depending on your industry you may have additional requirements that are important for your vendor to know, since they can add a significant amount of time and cost. They may include:

  • In-country review by your in-country staff or partners
  • Back-translation into English to meet regulatory requirements
  • Certification
  • DTP (formatting or layout) of the translated versions
  • Staggered delivery


Providing us with a translation kit with more details about your project ensures we have a complete understanding of your expectations and helps ensure the project goes smoothly. Translation kits have the added benefit of helping you identify potential issues with the project that might not be obvious. We have a vested interest in your success and this is one small way you can help us make it happen!

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