10 steps to get the most from your translation
Posted by Nyx Whyte - 28/10/2018
We know translation can be confusing at times, so here are 10 steps to follow to get the best from your translation:
1. Allow plenty of time to complete the job
Translation can take time and rushing the process can lead to mistakes or disappointment. Planning ahead will give you enough time to find a translator you want to work with and give them enough time to do their job well. If you leave it to the last minute, your preferred translator may not be available, and the translation could be split between multiple translators (leading to inconsistency) or rushed (leading to mistakes).
2. Think about what you want to achieve
Before you start looking for a translator, think about what you want to achieve with your translation. Are you trying to reach a wider audience for your product or services? Do you need a contract translating for a new international client? Do you want to translate your qualifications and records before you move overseas? The answer to this question will help you prioritise the sort of translation you want and what’s most important to you in a service provider, for example, creativity, market knowledge, or legal expertise.
3. Consider your market or audience
It’s important to think about who your translation is for. If, for example, you want to translate a contract into your own language so you can fully understand it, then this step will be easy. However, if you’re looking to expand into a particular country, target a particular group, such as young people, then be sure to let your translator know.
4. Work with native speakers
If you want the best translation, then you will need to work with native speakers. This will ensure your translation is fluent and natural, and help you steer clear of grammatical mistakes and cultural issues. Professional translators often only translate into their native language, but be sure to check this before you agree to have the work carried out.
5. Make sure your translator is qualified and experienced
To translate well, you need more than just a second language. Qualified translators spend years studying and practicing before they start their careers and continue to develop their expertise over time. To get the best results, work with qualified and experienced translators, and consider any subject knowledge they might need, such as a technical or medical background.
6. Provide as many resources as you can
Translators often need to research your company and your field thoroughly. The more resources you can provide them with, the easier this process will be. So if you have in-house style guides, previous press releases, other translations, or even just some background to let them know how your translation will be used, make sure you provide this for them. This will help them get a feel for your company style and branding and ensure the translation is appropriate for your intended use.
7. Communicate with your translator
When we write something, we know exactly what we mean. However, language can often be interpreted and understood in many different ways. There are also a lot of differences between languages, which makes translation much more complex than replacing a word in one language with the same word in another. Be prepared to communicate with your translator and answer any questions they may have, and you will get a much better text as a result.
8. Work with a proofreader or editor
Proofreading is an important stage for any content. However, companies often spend a great deal of time proofreading and editing content in its original language, and then skip this step for translation. Make sure a native speaker checks your translation before publishing it. Most agencies can provide this service, either combined with the cost of translation or as an additional service. If you have international staff, you could also ask your in-house team to look it over, but make sure you speak to your translator before making any changes.
9. Don't make changes to the text without checking first
We all know websites and texts often change, both before and after publishing. The best way to save time and money is to ensure your text is edited and complete before requesting the translation. For future changes such as updates, contact your translator and ask them to edit the translation. Do not attempt to edit the translation yourself, as even small changes can easily lead to mistakes.
10. Use the same translator and proofreader for future projects
If you need more translation in the future, working with the same translator or agency can make things much easier and save you both a lot of time. It will also ensure your content is consistent, both in terms of style and terminology, and allow you to develop trust and communication with your translator.