Have you ever looked for someone who could provide a specific localization service? If not, it might surprise you the number of questions that the translator might ask you until they know exactly what you want. This can delay the beginning of a project unnecessarily. What if I told you there a few things clients looking for localization services can say right away to save everyone time and make sure you found the right person for the job?

Here’s a quick guide on aspects you should mention in your job advertisement or email.


This might seem basic, but you wouldn’t believe how often people forget to mention the source and target languages. Sometimes they only mention one of them. However, translators work with specific language pairs, so it’s important to be clear what’s the original language of what they want translated and what is the language they want it in. Always mention both. It might also be relevant to mention the variant of the language. For example, European and Brazilian Portuguese are very different dialects; if you want something in Portuguese, you should specify which variant you want.

Type of work

Many might not know the correct term of what they want. For example, if you’re meeting a client from another country who doesn’t speak your language and you need someone to translate the meeting, what you actually need is an interpreter. Translators and interpreters have different skillsets, so not all translators are interpreters. Let me tell you an easy way to know what you want: if it’s spoken, you want an interpretation, if it’s written, you want a translation. To complicate a bit, you might also want something that is spoken to be turned into text. If it’s in the same language, you want a transcription. If it’s a video and you want the dialogue turned into subtitles, you probaby want subtitling.

Too much information? Here’s something that might help:

Scheme that summarizes the type of translation work

Volume of work

Another very crucial factor is the volume of work. In case it’s a document, you should specify the number of words or pages. In case it’s a conference, you should point out the duration (for example, one day from 8 am to 5 pm). If it’s a video, you should indicate the number of minutes the video has. This directly affects the deadline, so it’s important to include the information right away. That way the translator or interpreter will know when (or whether) they would be able to complete said work.

Field of expertise

You might want to have a brochure about pneumonia translated or a study about the politics of Uganda. It’s important to find a professional who masters the area of expertise. Translators and interpreters usually have areas, just like doctors for example. You wouldn’t go to an orthopaedist for a heart condition, right? The same can be applied to localization services.

Of course, you will still have things to discuss with the translator or interpreter, but this might save you (and the localization service provider) some time and point you quickly to the right person for the job. I hope you found this helpful.

If you want European Portuguese subtitles in an English-spoken or Portuguese-spoken video, contact me!

Side note: not all localization services are contemplated here.