No More Lost In Translation: Company Meets Consumer Needs

Written by Posted On Sunday, 18 November 2007 16:00

While lawsuits do occur in real estate, there is one reason that should never cause litigation -- yet, it does.

"We've seen more and more litigation in the past regarding people not understanding the closing documents because they don't have an interpreter or a bilingual individual to go over the closing documents with a limited-English-proficient person," says Clyde Anderson vice president of marketing for LLE Services.

More than 50 million people in America speak a language other than English. These same people are frequently buying and selling real estate in the US. That statistic is what is driving the company's focus on making translation and interpretation services available to the real estate industry. LLE, Services for the first time attended the National Association of Realtors convention in Las Vegas last week. The company had a steady flow of traffic. In between curious agents, I spoke with Anderson about how the company's services help consumers.

"Where it's beneficial is in closings. If you have somebody who is a limited-English proficient or non-English, you can go through to closing and make sure that everybody understands the closing documents that they're signing,

But it's not just agents who need to know about these services; consumers who might need interpretation of dialogue or translation of documents need to speak up before they get too involved in the transaction. Anderson says if consumers don't, the risk is high.

"What justifies it? Well, what you're getting is a professional translator. Someone who has been trained to translate and we guarantee our accuracy of the translation. So you're getting a high quality translation that in the unlikely event that it does go to court, [the translated documents] have been certified and guaranteed," explains Anderson.

LLE Services provides 24-hour telephone interpretation services with an experienced real estate savvy interpreter in 150 different languages. Anderson boasts that the company typically has a 20-second connect time to an interpreter using a toll-free line.

Translating closing documents, emails, and other written word is also big business for the company. The process requires the client to send in via email or fax the documents that need to be translated.

"Typically our turn-around time for 10,000 words would be three to five business days but it also depends on the complexity of the language that's used in the documents. If there are a lot of legalisms it may take longer," says Anderson.

He says when you send in your documents to be translated, the company will review the document and then provide a free estimate of what the costs may be for the documents.

"The telephone interpretation service is priced per minute; it can run from $1.45 to $1.85 or even less depending on volume. As far as the translation rate goes, it's a per word rate and once again, volume rules -- 18 cents a word down to maybe 14 cents a word, who knows, but it depends on the volume. Email translation is a per transaction rate; basically $9.95 for 100 words, $19.95 for 200 words, $29.95 for 300 words," says Anderson.

Anything over 300 words is considered a document and then charged based on a per word rate. The average time for an email translation is about one hour per 100 words.

With the numerous costs associated with buying a home, consumers might be inclined to try to save a little money and use a friend or relative to translate or interpret. But Anderson cautions consumers to think twice about that.

"Well, there are some risks because they may have some prejudices. Thus having an independent third-party doing it is far better for a non-English speaker or a limited-English-proficient individual," says Anderson.

The end product could well outweigh the fees, claims Anderson. "You're going to be safe and secure with a guaranteed document that's been certified and guaranteed and you'll have a linguist available to assist you in the telephone part going through the documents plus you have the documents in your language."

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or Visit for more information.

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