Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on linguistic services

Q: How do you charge for translations?
A: By standard source lines having 55 characters with spaces (NZ-55) in the case of German source texts, and otherwise by source words, as may be familiar to you from other languages. We may also quote you a flat rate, for shorter texts where a great deal of layout work is involved, as we cannot, in such a case, cover our costs if we only take the text volume into account. Discounts may apply to texts sent to us in Word format or SDL Trados Studio file formats which contain a great deal of repetition.

Q: How do you charge for editing or proofreading work?
A: By words or as a flat rate. Rarely according to the time taken. This policy is in order to remain transparent and fair to you.

Q: How do I find out the number of standard source lines (NZ-55) in my Word document?
A: In newer versions of Word, e.g. 2016, you will find the dialogue field “Words” displayed in the status bar on the left at the foot of the page. Click on it. You will then be shown, among other statistics, the number of characters with spaces. Divide this number by 55 and round the decimal places up from .5 of a line or greater, or down from .4 of a line or less.

Q: How do I find out the amount of text in my .pdf file(s)?
A: That is done by us for you, naturally free of charge, once you have let us have the file(s).

Q: How many words does a standard page contain?
A: 250.

Q: How many words does an actual page of a given document contain?
A: As a rule, between 10 and 1,000.

Q: Why do you not give any “real” references, apart from ?
A: For confidentiality reasons, we can “only” share one or two of our agency customer references with you, which you can view at or or

Q: How many linguists does your network of experts comprise?
A: Under 300. To enquire about the current number, please send an e-mail to info(at) .

Q: How can I, as a freelance translator, apply to you?
A: For the time being, unfortunately only by e-mail at sw(at) . Once we have checked your application, you may thereafter receive our Word registration form by e-mail, which requires just over 15 minutes’ worth of your time to complete, so that, after we have once again checked your details, you can be included in our network. We will let you know on this website, under the tab “CPD/What's new?”, once we have established a new (online) system for handling translator applications.

Q: How can I apply to you for an internship as a translator or project manager?
A: For the time being, this option is not available. 

Q: Do you guys have academic degrees, and, if so, how many of them are in Translation?
A: Three. Two of them are in Translation.

Q: How long have you guys been involved in the translation business?
A: 17 years, full-time (Status: Autumn 2020).

Q: How long have you guys been involved in the translation agency business?
A: 12 years.

Q: Are you translators or are you a translation agency?
A. We are translators with a network of expert suppliers. So we are basically a mixture of translators and an agency.

Q: What quality assurance tools do you deploy?
A: SDL Trados Studio 2019/2021 QA Checker, Verifika QA, Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia, TERMIUM Plus (FR > EN), Infopédia (Porto Editora, PTPT/PTBR), Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa (PTPT), Michaelis (PTBR), Duden.

Q: How do you handle certified translations?
A: You despatch your document to us by e-mail, to info(at) , preferably as a colour .pdf scan, if possible with a resolution of at least 300 dpi (dots per inch), or you can use the secure contact form including an upload facility . Further ways of getting your document to us are sending it to us by post, on request, or also handing it in personally to reception at Teerhof 59, during the opening hours of the business centre (Mon. - Fri. 8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.). You receive the translation by post (together with your original if you sent it to us). In individual cases, it is possible, upon request, to arrange to pick it up at reception at Teerhof 59. Other than digital photos of the certified translation - which are always available - .pdf scans of certified translations that have no legal import may be obtained upon request. Once you have received the scan, you will, not many days afterwards, receive the legally valid original version of the translation on paper.

Q: What methods of payment are available to me, as a customer?
A: Customers in Germany usually pay by bank transfer, sometimes also by Skrill, and, in exceptional cases, in cash at reception at Teerhof 59. Customers in EU countries that have the euro (eurozone) or any in Switzerland or the UK, pay by SEPA bank transfer in euros, sometimes also by Skrill. Depending upon the country, we offer customers in non-eurozone countries, with the exception of Switzerland and the UK, the option to pay by XOOM, TransferWise, Payoneer and/or Skrill.

Q: Do you offer payment by PayPal?
A: Payment by PayPal is available on request.

Q: What is Skrill? 
A: Skrill is British. It is similar to PayPal. Just like with PayPal, you can add a credit card to your Skrill
account and pay our invoice with your credit card via Skrill, if the payment method Skrill was listed in our offer.

Q: What is XOOM? 
A: XOOM is a modern PayPal subsidiary focusing on payments in USD from the USA to Western Europe, and so on.

Q: What is TransferWise? 
A: TransferWise is a young, established British payment services provider covering about half the world. 

Q: What is Payoneer? 
A: Payoneer is an American payment services provider that is particularly popular with translation agencies for settling amounts starting at about 90 euros. 

Q: At what Court of Law is Sebastian Witte, as a translator with the authority to certify translations, licensed?
A: The Appeal Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Hamm.

Q: Do you also certify third-party translations?
A: Sebastian Witte may undertake that, and generally does, after briefly examining the circumstances of the case, as per our offer.

Q: For what document types do you always charge the same respective fixed prices?
A: For certain types of forms we do have fixed prices. If your document falls into one of those categories, you will be informed accordingly.

Q: Do you also arrange to obtain apostilles for your certified translations?
A: Sebastian Witte has provided this service quite often for our customers in the past. This service is available upon request.

Q: I do not understand the fine details in regard to the services “editing or proofreading" so well, and am interested in the topic. Do you have further information for me?
A: Editing (i.e. checking by comparing the texts in the two languages) or proofreading (performing monolingual checks): We charge for these services based on the word count, taking the technical and linguistic quality of the text that is to be handled by us into account, or, in the case of bilingual editing, additionally the level of complexity of the source text, or according to the time required for the job. Alternatively, you will be quoted a fixed price, if it is advantageous for you. Our policy is to check and amend the text in a balanced manner, i.e. we neither change too much nor do we carry out the work too superficially. In other words, we check and amend the translation not with too much reticence. Following consultation, we can come to an agreement with the customer concerning the depth with which the text is to be edited or proofread, i.e. if we are supposed to check less aspects than our standard service covers it could have the effect of reducing the price. In the case of bilingual editing our standard service includes: content/accuracy of the translation/logic and plausibility, term consistency, style, text coherence, grammar, spelling and punctuation; in the case of monolingual proofreading: style, text coherence, grammar, spelling and punctuation). 

Q: What file formats can you process?
A: We can process the following source formats: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, XHTML 1.1, HTML 4 and HTML 5 files, SDLXLIFF, XLF (following consultation), SDL Trados Studio packages as from Studio Version 2017, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe InDesign, Adobe InCopy, QuarkXpress, and just about any documents handed over personally or, following prior consultation, also sent in by post.

Q: Do you, as language service providers, work almost exclusively in the fields of business, finance and law?
A: No. Business, finance and law are our primary specialist fields. Our secondary working fields you can, in turn, find listed at

Q: How long does it take to translate a 40-page document from German into English?
A: That, among other factors, depends not only upon the formatting effort required, the question of whether the translation is supposed to be certified (in which case it usually takes longer) and sometimes also the level of complexity of the translation, but also on our respective booking situation at the time of the order being placed. Public holidays, on which we are only available upon request, and vacations are entered into our Google Calendar at . Our prompt offer, following your enquiry, will bindingly inform you about the delivery time of any order placed.

Q: What purpose do your specialised termbases serve?
A: They ensure terminological consistency, wherever it is expedient, a greater speed of working and higher precision.

Q: What purpose do your Autosuggest Dictionaries in Trados Studio serve?
A: They ensure a greater speed of working and prevent "unnecessary" typos that would otherwise extend the quality assurance phase.

Q: In what language pairs is the four-eye principle automatically included with translations?
A: German <> English, French > English, Spanish > English. In Spanish > German and Portuguese > German, 95% of translation projects are likewise inclusive of the four-eye principle.

Q: Where can I find further information about your company?
A: LinkedIn (Astrid, Sebastian), XING (Sebastian), Yelp (the company).

Q: Where can I find work samples (sample translations)?
A: On Sebastian Witte's XING profile, in the Portfolio section, you will find one English to German and one Spanish to German sample translation.

Q: Do you agree upon standard - or at least guideline - prices per language pair with customers when co-operating with them regularly?
A: Yes, that is actually almost always the case with a regular co-operation. It does, however, only apply to the text (translation work) and does not include extensive layout and document processing work.

Q: We are a translation agency from France, and are looking for translators and editors as sub-contractors. Is it OK for you, as A. & S. Witte PartG, if we issue credit notes for your deliveries instead of receiving invoices from you?
A: Yes, in principle. In that case, however, your credit notes must be in compliance with German tax law.

Q: Can you confirm that you will handle my documents and data confidentially?
A: Besides our privacy policy, which can be inspected hereärung , we have been awarded SecurePRO certification by the portal of the largest translator community worldwide, which is based in the State of New York, which documents extensive protective measures in regard to the confidentiality of your information, some of which have also been verified.

Q: Do you guys have a project process management system for the benefit of customers and colleagues in place (Translation Management System)? 
A: Yes, you can find out more at .

Q: What discounts on your direct customer prices can we as 1) a translation agency, 2) other type of translation intermediary/outsourcer, 3) a reselling fellow translator (colleague) or 4) a law firm expect?
A: Our discounts on our direct client prices in percent for the above-mentioned client types 1-3 do not differ. Based on our experience with projects, markets and clients, as well as with evaluating market price overviews and more specific fee indices/survey results, we believe that these discounts are likely to be in line with the going market percentages. The discounts on direct client prices granted to the 4th client type, "law firms", are in fact lower in relation to the discounts granted to client types 1-3. However, they should still be economically interesting for our law firm clients. 

Q: As a translation and language service provider, can you show tracked changes in MS Office files and also in CAT tool files on request, the way I, as a customer or lawyer's client, know it from my lawyer?
A.This is generally possible in Word files and CAT tool files such as SDLXLIFFs or Trados packages if these are based on Word files, and is also possible to some extent in various other scenarios, both those that are based on MS Office files and those that are based on Trados files.

Q: Do you offer desktop publishing services separately for translation agencies or, as the case may be, direct customers?
A: No, not really. Such service is priced into the quotation when a translation or other language service requires it in order for it to be able to be provided and is then in nearly all cases rendered in-house.


Q: What technical, ICT, scientific or medical fields do your patent translations cover?
A: The patent fields covered are quite diverse, as we access the patents primarily through the language and proven special patent translation methods, secondarily through the figures (drawings), but not primarily with the approach of an actual technician, despite Sebastian's specialist exams in technical translation German <-> English, Spanish. E.g. mechanical, machine-related and industrial patents, chemistry and chemical technology, IT hardware, IT software, telecommunications, human medicine and medical technology, pharmaceutics occasionally, biology, bio-chemistry at times, environmental technology occasionally, paper-making industry, building industry at times, electrics, electronics, multimedia, energy generation, a few patents from nautical, shipping and maritime technology. In addition, a few patents from the areas of agricultural technology, physics (including acoustics, optics), music, as well as from the textile industry and meteorology were translated. Food technology, forestry/wood-working, glass or ceramics would also be conceivable as possible subjects for patent translation, for example.
Q: Are there any language pairs that you offer yourselves, mostly without involving any subcontractors, in addition to your regular language pairs, on request?
A: Yes, Portuguese to English and French to German.

Q: Do you read blogs/newsletters about translation/industry insider blogs?
A: It's not so easy for us to fit it into our schedule. If we do, we mostly read IT blogs/newsletters for translators, especially those about optimising work with Trados and MultiTerm. A blog entry there, for example, on the Advanced Display Filter 1.0 in Trados Studio, now available in version 2.0, for fast filtering based on various segment types, e.g. to quickly check whether all fuzzy matches (i.e. segments, ~ sentences, partially similar to any existing translations) have been translated correctly, in this case implemented as an app, i.e. a plug-in (= an extension, free-of-charge, of the main software Trados Studio), in regard to which this Community Advanced Display Filter has slightly extended functions compared to the Advanced Display Filter integrated in Studio, e.g. for searching for text in certain colors, looks like this:

There, in translator blogs, including IT blogs/newsletters for translators, you can always find a few industry stories, as they are known from the golden era of renowned and sometimes rightly beloved translator blogs in English, which golden era is now gradually coming to an end, even if many of these blogs are still updated. Like being offered a crispy beagle by the German-speaking baker, etc.

Q: How do you keep fit?
A: By working out with dumbbells, using a treadmill, and doing various stretching exercises, push-ups, and other calisthenics.