The magic of SPC translations

Translating SPCs (Summaries of Product Characteristics) within the very tight deadlines set by the authorities, while still ensuring high quality, may seem to require almost supernatural powers. That is why it is always advisable to entrust the translation of such documents to a specialised translation agency. In other words, let us work our magic.

There is increasing demand in the chemical industry to help our partners with the translation of SPCs in SPC Editor, the dossier submission tool of the European Commission. That is why we thought it would be useful to share our experiences and provide some guidelines to maximise the efficiency of such translations.

What is the preferred file format?

Should our partner wish to translate an SPC prepared in the SPC Editor, they can export an .xml file from the platform. This is the optimal file format for the translation, as the translatable part already excludes the headings, which otherwise would need to be removed manually. The translated files will also be in .xml format, which means that our partner simply needs to upload them in the SPC Editor.

File formats that are not so user friendly

Some file formats might be better avoided if the .xml format is available. Although we can handle PDFs, Word or Excel files, we have found that our partners spend considerable time creating such documents and highlighting which parts of them do not need to be translated. Similarly, it takes us many hours to exclude the non-translatable headings when we prepare the file for translation.

Discounts on translating SPCs

We strive for long-term partnerships and build translation memories for each of our partners. If a partner would like to have several SPCs translated into the same languages, we are happy to offer a discount.


We are able to translate SPCs to and from all requested languages, including Norwegian and Icelandic. Our translators are always native speakers of the target language and they have a chemical background. We have a regular pool of SPC translators with extensive experience in this field.

Our expertise:

Our quality assurance team is fully aware of how the SPC Editor works, so they check whether the translated file is in order before delivering the translation.

In the past 3 years, we have translated more than 5 million words for various companies and consultancies in the chemical industry. The documents range from MSDSs, ESs and SPCs to labels, studies, sworn translations for product imports and authorisations, to name just a few examples.

We are proud to have partners such as CEFIC, Rio Tinto, Arkema, Ecolab, Glencore, Tokyo Chemical Industry (TCI), JCDB (Japan Chemical Database Ltd.), Nissan Chemicals, Christeyns, Schülke & Mayr, Sopura and many more.

If you have an SPC or any other chemical translation request, do not hesitate to contact us via our website form or at, and our colleagues will be happy to assist you.

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How to save translation costs without compromise on quality

There is nothing wrong with wanting to save money – and this is true for translation services too. It does not mean however that you need to ask your secretary to translate a 10-page chemical study, or you have to use Google Translate for making your website multilingual. We’ll show you how to use your translation budget wisely.

Let’s assume

Let’s assume that you are a Chemical Company.

Let’s assume that you have a long list of various chemical documents from labels to MSDSs, from registration documents to exposure scenarios, from SPCs to product brochures, that you need to translate from English into all the official languages of the European Union.

Now you need to set up a feasible timeline for the entire project, and choose a translation partner.

How much is it?

A major mistake a client can make in this situation is to ask for translation word rates from several agencies, and put them side by side. Comparing merely word rates will not give you the full picture. There are so many other factors that can affect the final sum you are about to pay: various discounts, file conversion fees, additional quality assurance charges, revision costs. It is misleading (but unfortunately still common practice) to take the total translatable wordcount multiplied by the translation word rate, and select the lowest bid.

Since SDSs (Safety Data Sheets), exposure scenarios, product labels, SPCs (Summaries of Product Characteristics) and similar chemical documents tend to include repetitive parts, we always analyse them and offer discount for the repetitions. Why can we do that? Because we have the appropriate technical background and software. We don’t like double work; instead, we like to use our head. And we build long-term relationship with our partners, so we help them see how they can save money – without compromise on quality.

In case of large orders, an additional volume discount can be applied, and we always have various Special Offers for new clients too.

Do the math

Instead of looking for the lowest translation word rate, collect all the translatable documents and send them to the selected translation partner candidates for an exact price and turnaround time. You’ll be surprised!

Due to repetitions, the actual translatable wordcount could significantly drop – and so will your expenses. What’s more, for large projects we are always pleased to give an additional volume discount.

Imagine receiving the translation of almost 1 million words while paying only for 29% of the wordcount. (These are real numbers of a recent chemical project!) Now how does this sound?

Good, fast and cheap

We all know the Good-Fast-Cheap triangle. You might very well think that if the bill is impressively low (compared to the high total wordcount, of course) the project either takes forever to complete or the quality is poor.

As for quality – well, that’s not countable. Unlike the chemical companies who have been choosing to work with us in the last 12 years. They are numerous. Giant chemical companies, suppliers of plant protection products, biocides regulation consultancies, law firms specialized in regulatory affairs – they all have one thing in common. They require top quality in terms of chemical knowledge and language expertise. Nothing is more important than that.

Thanks to our large pool of translators with chemical and regulatory affairs background, setting up translation teams requires no special preparation for us. We work with chemical documents on a daily basis. Our project managers will set up a timeline for you (no, you don’t have to deal with this), will calculate partial delivery dates, and you will receive the translations in several batches if that is more convenient for you.

Translation of 1 million words into a total of 15 languages in less than 6 weeks. (Again, real numbers from a recent chemical project.) Would this be OK for you?

Written by Anita Salát, Business Development Manager

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