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Vannak Sawata (fourth right) and the team at Pyramid.
Vannak Sawata (fourth right) and the team at Pyramid. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Translation agency recognised by NGOs, embassies

A mong the many translation agencies in Cambodia, Pyramid is highly valued for the quality of its translation and interpreting services. According to Vannak Sawata, Pyramid deputy operations manager, the company can provide a wide range of services from translation, interpreting for meetings and conferences, as well as computer graphic design services.

But Sawata says that translation and simultaneous interpretation is still the base of Pyramid’s business, and with a more than 20-year track record, the company has won the trust of countless customers over the years.

Those customers include embassies, NGOs and businesses, as well as some ministries and departments of the Royal Government of Cambodia, which use Pyramid’s translation services for translation of their documents.

“In our daily work, around 60 per cent involves translating from English into Khmer, and Khmer into English,” Sawata said.

“Translations from Khmer into French and French to Khmer account for around 20 per cent of our work,” she says, adding that Pyramid also handles translations for Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian and German, among other languages.

“Most translated documents are for embassies or organisations that have to be translated before they can be accepted,” says Sawata. “This is required by almost all embassies in Cambodia.”

Sawata says Pyramid is recognised by embassies in Cambodia for its quality services. “While we don’t have international certification, embassies and other international organisations recognise our quality translation services, and that leads to recommendations.”

According to Sawata, most of the company’s translating and interpreting is general in nature or related to legal issues.

“Around 40 per cent of our work is related to business, around 30 per cent is translations for individuals, while around 20 per cent is for international organisations, such as NGOs and even the United Nations, and the remainder for the government,” she says.

When it comes to technical documents, Sawata says that Pyramid seeks assistance from outside experts for consultation and verification of the accuracy of every document.

“This kind of work involves many stages and a lot of time to ensure accuracy that is acceptable,” adds Sawata, who says that additional consultation fees are required for specialists who operate as outside experts.

In terms of turnaround, Sawata says that documents that four-to-six-page documents can be returned to clients translated within 24 hours of being accepted.

“All documents we translate are strictly confidential in the customers’ interests,” she says, adding that charges range from $11 to $14 per 300-word page for Khmer-English and that Pyramid requires customers deposit 85 per cent in advance.

Sov Chhun Tek founded pyramid in the early 1990s, when Cambodia started to open up during the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) period.

The Kingdom’s longest-running translation service today has more than 50 full-time employees, including native English speakers.

“We also have freelancers to help meet the needs of the customers,” Sawata says.

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