Translation

Last changed: 17 May 2022

At SLU, we use Swedish and English in parallel. This means that a lot of the information we produce needs to be translated. On this page, you will find information on how to order translations and how you can best prepare your text for translation.

According to the Swedish Language Act, Swedish is the principal language of Sweden. All bodies that perform tasks in the public sector - and that includes SLU - have an obligation to provide information in Swedish. Swedish is normally used for administrative matters at SLU.

English is needed for communication, dissemination of knowledge and to attract staff and students from outside Sweden.

English is also needed in-house. Students and staff who do not speak Swedish need access to information in they need in a language they understand. A lot of the information we produce needs to be translated. Read more about what information needs to be available in both languages.

Ordering translations

Shorter texts intended for all of SLU/all staff/all students/everyone at an SLU campus can often be translated in-house. 

Unfortunately, we cannot accept requests from individual researchers or doctoral students.

For texts exceeding 2,000 words, you will normally need to use the national framework agreement. The framework agreement is ranked, meaning you must always contact the supplier ranked as number 1 first. This applies if the text is less than 10,000 words and the subject can be categorised as either general or legal.

If you need to order translations for other subject fields, or for texts exceeding 10,000 words, you must use the procedure known as re-opened competition (see below).

Always include a link to SLU's style guide for English when you order translations from Swedish to English.

More information about the framework agreement is available at avropa.se  (in Swedish only). If you have questions, please contact the language coordinator.

Ordering in-house translations

If your target group is everyone at SLU (or everyone at one of our campuses, all staff, all students etc.) it may be possible to have your text translated in-house. There is no charge for in-house translations.

Requests for translation are prioritised based on, e.g., the size of the target group. For texts of 2,000 words or more, we will usually refer you to the national framework agreement. 

Please keep the following in mind when you send a request for translation:

  • Use an explanatory subject line. A subject like 'Translation of action plan for X Unit' is better than just 'Translation'.
  • Always state when you need the translation. Give a date, do not just write "as soon as possible". The more time you can allow for translation, the more likely it is we can help you. Allow at least 5 working days for shorter texts (1-2 A4).
  • Enclose the text for translation as an email attachment, not as part of the email message itself.

Before you send a request, please read the information under Sending a text for translation below.

Ordering translations under the framework agreement

Translations between Swedish and English can be ordered in two ways. There are forms you can use for ordering/requesting a quote (only available in Swedish), see the heading Links below.

1. Ranking

This procedure is used for translations of general and legal texts. Contact the first supplier on the list. If they cannot handle your request, contact number two etc.

Translation from Swedish to English and vice versa is SEK 2.40/word in the source text. If you need an authorised translator (only necessary if the translation is to have the same legal validity as the original), the price is SEK 2.70/word.

2. Re-opened competition

For translations in other subject fields than general/legal, and for texts over 10,000 words, you order using the procedure re-opened competition. To order, you ask all four framework suppliers to submit a quote.

Make sure you include the following information: 

  • When you need the revision back and when the supplier will get the source text.
  • When you need the suppliers' quotes.
  • How the text will be used - is it for the web or for print, who is the target group?
  • Any requests regarding the translator's profile (e.g. previous experience).
  • Which criteria you will base your decision on, e.g. delivery times over price or vice versa.

Make sure you also read the section Sending a text for translation.

Framework suppliers

The framework suppliers for translation Swedish/English are:

Remember to send a purchase order from the Proceedo e-purchasing system to confirm the order.

Sending a text for translation

Please read the instructions below before sending a text for translation.

  1. Send only editable formats such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
  2. Make sure you send the final version. Translation is charged per word, so changing the scope will affect the price. Making small changes once the translation work has started is costly and time-consuming.
  3. If you need translation of web pages, contact the language coordinator for advice on how to prepare the text for translation.
  4. Check that all text is editable - if the document includes e.g. a chart created from a linked Excel file and the file contains translatable text, send the Excel file as well.
  5. If your document contains illustrations with text, the translator will normally provide these translations in a separate file and you then edit the illustrations yourself. Editing of illustrations/images is available as an option and charged separately per hour.

Five steps to a successful translation project

  1. Remember to allow for translation in your schedule. If you need both language versions of a text for the same date, make sure you leave enough time for translation. Delivery times are normally 5 working days for texts of 2,000 word or less and 10 working days for 2,000-10,000 words. Also add a couple of working days for administration (preparing material, placing the order etc.).

  2. Avoid manual formatting. Always use a document template. Manual formatting, such as using tabs to create a table, will cause problems when the text is translated. A translated text is rarely the same length as the original - it can be longer or shorter. Important not least for printed matter.

  3. Use plain language.  Adapt content and style to the target group, keep it short and simple. Use specialist terminology in a consistent manner. Avoid puns, metaphors and hard-to-translate cultural references.

  4. Separate text and graphics. Illustrations such as charts and tables are helpful, but avoid mixing graphics and text. It is better to use symbols and make a separate, editable legend.

  5. Be prepared to answer questions on the content. A translator is an expert in transmitting a message in a linguistically correct and idiomatic way. They are not subject-matter experts like yourself. If you have useful reference material, such as a text or a link to a good-quality website in the target language, you can enclose that as a reference.