What steps should you take for a successful translation?
Do you feel overwhelmed by the translation process? Don’t know where to start?
Follow the tips below to make the best decisions.
Plan your translation early
A professional translator usually translates around 2000 words per day. A translation agency can double that number and even work with higher volumes, but translating large volumes of content in a short period of time can cost more than expected. Keep this in mind when choosing the text to translate and when setting deadlines.
Ask yourself what goal you want to achieve with your translation. Assuming you need a translation to English or Portuguese, do you want a translation to American or British English? Is your Portuguese translation for Brazil or Portugal? Is there a specific region or country that you want to contact? If the target language is Spanish, do you prefer a neutral translation that all Spanish speakers can understand?
Be careful when writing the original text
If you have not yet written the original content, please write with translation in mind. Write a text without errors and have it checked before sending it for translation. You are much more likely to get a quality translation if the original text is well written.
Provide reference material
Be sure to provide the translation agency or translator with all available reference material. This can include any previous translations you have been satisfied with and any glossaries that include your company’s key terms, whether bilingual or not. The more the translator understands the style of your company, the better.
Have you ever worked with a translation company and did not get good results? Please inform the translation agency you are hiring. Tell them about the problems you faced. If you have an example of a bad translation, it might be a good idea to show it. This could even help a translation agency to choose the right translator for your project.
Selection of the translation provider
You may be wondering if it is better to use a freelance translator or a translation agency. Maybe you think your bilingual employee can translate your documents.
Keep in mind that cheap is expensive.
Your employee may, for example, speak English and it may seem like a perfect choice, but it takes much more than speaking a language to translate documents accurately.
There are excellent freelance translators on the market, but can they manage large-scale projects? Will you have to end up paying another translator to correct the translation?
If you are looking for a comprehensive service solution that takes the burden of managing the entire translation process, you will need a translation agency.
The standard will be higher as agencies have a quality assurance process that generally includes an expert review. By the way, it is important that you ask if the price of the translation service includes a review by a second translator.
Many companies offer different “levels of quality” and may even offer machine translation services at an affordable price. So, remember to read the fine print of what you are buying and ask all relevant questions.
It is important to format your document with translation in mind. Will you translate a brochure? Please note that some translations, such as English to Spanish translations, will have 15-30 percent more text than the original. This means that you may have to make some changes to the format of the final document, such as reducing the size of the fonts.
If you are translating a PDF, decide if it will handle the format. If you request that the translation agency format the translated document, you must supply the source files (for example, InDesign, PowerPoint) or the format must be recreated, which could incur significant expense.
Will you translate a large volume of content? Make the most of translation memories
If you need to translate large volumes of text with repetitions (repeated sentences or segments within one or more documents), it’s worth knowing what a translation memory is.
A translation memory is essentially a database where the translation is saved while the translator works.
Suppose you are translating six documents from Spanish to English with a total of 40,000 words, of which 10,000 are repetitions. If this is the first time the translator has been working for you, you will start working with a computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool.) and will create a translation memory for your project. As you translate, the sentences will be saved in memory. When you are working on a new sentence and the database finds a similar entry, the tool will display the sentence to the translator for reference. This could be an exact match or what is called a partial match (less than 99% match). Whatever the case, the translator’s work will be done faster and you will benefit from shorter delivery times, not to mention consistency between your current and future documents.