Frequently asked questions - Häufig gestellte Fragen

The glossary below is intended to provide answers to many frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning translation related topics. However, should your questions remain unanswered, please phone or email us.

Poor translations (e.g. see 'False friend' below) may be good for a laugh, but they can be an expensive pleasure. Misunderstandings in a contract, a technical manual or an economic text can have disastrous results. If you are investing significantly in product development, research, legal drafting or advertising, it pays in the long run to obtain a professional translation.

Translations by experienced translators are rarely available in the low-price segment. If you need a good quality translation, you should expect to pay realistic prices. As a reference point, think of how much your own professional time is worth! While we might not be the cheapest service provider in the global marketplace, our translations constitute the best overall value in terms of your ultimate longterm outcomes and peace of mind.

At German Translation Online we do our utmost to align our prices with your realistic expectations! Please contact us to discuss your precise needs, keeping in mind that we do have minimum and/or standard rates for most document types.
Please note: We do have a minimum charge per order of AUD $50.

see 'Certified' below

The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators Inc. is the national professional association for translators and interpreters (AUSIT). Among other things, AUSIT convenes a board of professional conduct to address any grievances providers or consumers of translation and interpreting services may have.

Computer-aided translation (CAT) describes a translation process that employs specialised software (CAT tool) permitting translators to store all of their completed translations and retrieve virtually any part of them for subsequent projects, especially for repeat customers. CAT tools also allow for the integration of external glossaries and translations. The most commonly used CAT products are DejaVu, Trados and Wordfast.

In a translation context, the term "certified" can mean one of two things.

Firstly, it refers to a copy that has been authenticated as being a 'true copy' ('beglaubigte Abschrift') by a person (e.g. Justice of the Peace) or organisation authorised to do so by the state. If a certified copy is presented for translation, a footnote can be added by the translator to indicate this fact. For ethical reasons a translator who is also a Justice of the Peace (see below) should not certify copies of documents to be subsequently translated by them.

Secondly, as of 2018 'Certified' also refers to translators and interpreters who have been accredited by NAATI (see below) to fulfil the professional standards required to translate documents or interpret in various settings or directions, e.g. Certified Translator (German>English). Previously, such professionals were acknowledged as being 'Accredited'.

Code of ethics
Every established profession has a code of ethics to which its practitioners should adhere - please find the AUSIT Code of Ethics here.

The accepted (and expected) usage of two or more words to form a standardised expression, e.g. 'rate hike/rise' , but not 'rate climb/lift'. Collocational errors detract from text quality and are common in translations produced by non-professionals, who tend to opt for literal, word-for-word translations, rather than idiomatic, functionally equivalent ones.

False friend
A word that appears to be virtually identical in two (or more) languages, but which can differ in meaning e.g. 'kalkulieren' and 'calculate' (in a business setting), 'Konzept' and 'concept'. A common trap for inexperienced, non-professional translators

For a comprehensive glossary covering translation and interpreting, please visit the corresponding AUSIT Inc. webage.

German abbreviation for "Industrie- und Handelskammer", state-based chambers of commerce and industry in Germany (e.g. IHK Dortmund). Both they and selected universities issue nationally-recognised translator and interpreter qualifications in Germany.

An interpreter translates speech or text orally. See also the AUSIT glossary.

Justice of the Peace
Justices of the Peace, who are appointed for a 5-year term, must among other things be 18 years old, be nominated for appointment by a member of the NSW Parliament, and be of good character. A JP need not be a trained legal officer.

To find a JP near you in NSW go to the Lawlink website.
The functions of a Justice of the Peace are primarily:

  • administering oath declarations or affidavits, and
  • taking statutory declarations and affirmations principally under the Oaths Act 1900;
  • witnessing signatures; and attesting and certifying documents

A Justice of the Peace must never sign copies of documents as certified true copies unless he or she has actually sighted the original documents and is satisfied that they are in fact the original documents referred to.

Justices of the Peace appointed in NSW can only perform their JP functions within the State of NSW and whilst physically present in the State. Where reciprocal agreements exist, a document witnessed in NSW by a NSW JP will be recognised as valid in another State or Territory. If a document is to be used overseas, it may be advisable to refer the person requiring the service to a Notary Public (see below).

Machine translation (MT) describes a translation process involving no human input. At its very best it provides a workable draft translation, at its worst a very costly catastrophe (see Prices). To test its in/adequacy, try Read more about online machine translation.

NAATI (Rhymes with “party”)
National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. The official body that examines and accredits practitioners and approves courses in Australia ( Many government authorities require translations to be undertaken by 'NAATI-certified' (formerly 'NAATI-accredited') translators with a NAATI registrationnumber.

Notary Public
Notaries are senior legal practitioners who authenticate, prepare, attest, witness and certify originals and copies of legal documents for use overseas. They certify documents originating in Australia and verify their validity under our laws. Under the Hague Convention, the office and seal of a Notary is internationally recognised. A notary is not the same thing as a JP (See 'Justice of the Peace' above).
One list of notaries public can be found on the US embassy website.
Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance (QA) became an international business buzz word at the close of last century to denote the overall process of ensuring the ultimate quality of the end product (e.g. finished translation). This often involves the implementation of an exhaustive and expensive regime of checking and testing.
At German Translation Online our main QA strategy is to employ accredited, qualified and highly experienced translators with a proven track record. Their work can then be monitored in a cost effective manner by
Michael Grunwald, GTO proprietor and project manager. This dispenses with the costly process employed by many services (if indeed implemented at all!) of thoroughly editing draft-quality translations prepared by inexperienced and/or poorly remunerated linguists (or by Machine Translation - see above). In contrast, at GTO we adopt the "Stitch in time ..." approach
If you would like us to perform additional checking/editing/proof-reading, we are happy to do so for an additional charge.

Involves transferring the meaning of a (written) message in one language (source) into another language (target), accurately reproducing all the information, and faithfully reproducing the style, register and all other pragmatic features of the original, in the translation.
For an in-depth examination of translation, we recommend the Wikipedia article on translation.

NB: Please let us know if you only wish to get the gist of a foreign-language text and we will advise you accordingly.

A translator transfers the meanining of a message from a source language into a target language in writing.
A competent professional translator will, among other things:

  • have a consummate knowledge of both languages
  • fully understand the original - which often has a mixture of specialist terminology, intricate stylistic devices, everyday idiom (and even a few typos and ambiguities)
  • have outstanding writing skills in the target language
  • already have or be able to research specialised knowledge and terminology, continually accruing translation resources
  • revel at the thought of 'life-long learning'
  • be both highly inquisitive and sceptical (e.g. with respect to bilingual dictionaries and 'English' found on the net)
  • understand fundamental differences between written and spoken language
  • be extremely mindful of client confidentiality
  • have the sense and confidence to seek clarification from clients regarding unclear or ambiguous aspects of the original text
  • be prepared to refuse a job if it is clearly outside the scope of their expertise or breaches their sense of ethics

Download AUSIT's comprehensive brochure entitled "Getting it Right" for a guide on how to work best with a good translator.