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1. What is the difference between translation and interpretation? 

Translation applies to anything written (i.e slide briefings, websites, treaties, official correspondence), and interpretation is used for the spoken word (i.e. meetings, conferences, summits, etc.).

2. Who can request Language Services? 

Any U.S. federal agency within or outside the Department of State may request our services.

3. How do I request Language Services? 

Please contact translation@state.gov for translation requests and interpreters@state.gov for interpreting requests. For help with making requests, please email languageserviceshelp@state.gov.

4. How can I determine what kind of interpreting service I need, if any? 

Feel free to contact us and one of our Program Officers will help ascertain your needs.

5. How can my agency get an estimate for interpreting or translation services and fund my request? 

After reaching out to our teams at translation@state.gov or interpreting@state.gov, our Program Officer will send a cost estimate for approval and funding. If your office is part of the State Department, you will need to send us a reimbursement order, or RO. If your agency outside of thee State Department, you will need to set up an Inter-Agency Agreement, or IAA.

6. What translation (written) services does the Office of Language Services offer? 

  • Formal translation and review
  • Certified translations
  • Comparisons
  • Complex formatting
  • Conference translation and translation project management services
  • Desktop publishing
  • Document analysis
  • In-depth summary translation
  • Post-desktop publishing review
  • Sight translation
  • Summary translation
  • Terminology vetting
  • Transcription of audio recordings and hand-writing
  • Unreviewed translations.

7. Does the Office of Language Services provide transcriptions of foreign-language recordings? 

LS accepts joint transcription and translation assignments where a written translation of a foreign-language recording is needed. However, LS rarely accepts assignments that only involve transcription of foreign-language recordings. Because of the time-consuming nature of this work, staff translators are usually not available to transcribe recordings. Under some circumstances, we will accept a transcription assignment if we are able to place it with a contractor.

U.S. Department of State

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