Your company takes pride in its products, services, and professionalism. Consider the time, costs, and effort that goes into running a successful business. When you need translation services for a current client or new strategic direction, the same qualification should also be held for your company documents that need translation. A poor translation can negate the work that has gone into your business. Don’t choose just any translation services, this article offers tips on how to find the best suited translation agency. Once you have found an agency to partner with, you can just send over the documents you need translated, right? Technically, yes, but there are many benefits to properly preparing documents for translation.
What Are The Benefits Of Preparing Documents Before Translation?
Every detail counts when you are preparing content for translation, whether it is the design or how you space the text. Redesigning the entire document format and layout after translation into another language is a waste of resources and leaves room for error if the designer doesn’t speak the translated language. We hope to guide you on how to be proactive with your translations and get it right the first time.
Speak with your translation agency partner before approving translation. They will be able to advise you on any concerns with the project. By preparing for each translation project and discussing concerns up front, you are presenting your business with the opportunity to save time and money resulting in a more accurate final product in line with your goals.
Finalize The Content
The best and easiest way to avoid additional time and costs to a translation project is to be sure the document is proofread, edited, and final! Translators can’t improve content; they can only translate what they are given. Be sure your documents are clear and complete without any typos or errors.
Send Original, Editable Files
Most files originated in some type of word-processing format. Creative files such as posters and brochures were originally created in a design software such as Photoshop. If you only have a PDF, check around your organization to find the original. If you only have an un-editable PDF, the translation agency will have to completely recreate the document which will add cost and time. It’s best to work with original files to avoid additional time and costs! Likewise, avoid sending scans of documents when possible. The documents content sometimes gets distorted when scanned and makes it hard to decipher. If necessary, do you best to work with the setting so the document is legible to the translator.
It is essential to plan for text manipulation as a majority of languages being translated into/from English either expand or contract by 20%. This can severely alter the format of any given document. A few tips to minimize reformatting efforts is to try to maintain white space in the original document to accommodate text expansion. Consider the size of tables, sidebars, graphs, etc.
Most LSP’s offer desktop publishing services along with translation projects. While some businesses choose to reformat translations using an in-house designer, if that designer doesn’t speak the language they are formatting, you are leaving open a wide margin for error. Designers who are not versed in multilingual design will often manipulate the text in a way that distorts the translation such as a line break in the middle of a word (we see this error all the time in languages such as Chinese that was characters). Save yourself the hassle and let the professionals re-format your text. It will be more cost and time-efficient and you will receive your document back as a complete mirror image of the original.
Create A Translation Glossary And Style Guide
You should create a glossary and style guide that includes information specific to your company. If you don’t have a glossary or are new to translation, your language services provider (LSP) will be able to work with you to create this. Glossaries ensure consistency and accuracy of company and industry specific terminology no matter which group of linguists work on the project.
This information will help the translator further understand your company to produce the best possible translation. Your company glossary should include the following: corporate/product names, terms that should remain in English and “lingo” that should stay consistent across languages. Both the glossary and style guide ensure consistency and quality across languages. They should be reviewed and approved by both parties, and constantly updated when need be. This will give a better understanding for the translator to further translate everything appropriately and ensure consistency over time.
Provide Subject Matter Information
Preparing your translator with background information of your company as well as a brief synopsis of what they'll be translating will help save time on the process. You're able to tell them what direction you are trying to go in and how you want the information to be understood. The more detail you can provide the better to ensure you get the best translator for the job and so that translator can give the highest quality possible. The information should include a brief overview, the message you are trying to get across, the target audience and some side notes for clarification on unique topics.
Ask About Translation Memory Tools
Translation memory tools are a strategic way to store your translation work. This can save time in the future if you have documentation of a similar subject. This will also provide a professional level of consistency so the translator doesn't need to re-translate repeated words and phrases, they simply review and edit for context. Without using a translation memory to hold repeated content for future use, you will be translating the same phrases time and time again. These tools can be very helpful for both parties, saving both time and money while just easing the job altogether.
Don't Split Up The Work
Getting the translation done in a timely manner is important but it's also vital that the appropriate time is taken to ensure everything is done effectively and correctly. It's common to suggest splitting the work up to save time but ultimately, that can be damaging towards everything you have been working towards. Too many cooks in the kitchen can cause confusion and the same can be said for translation. Each document should flow and be consistent page by page. Multiple people working on the same documents can create confusion and inconsistency that will clearly show. Many words have multiple translations that could fit in a given language and it's important to positively represent your brand. It's important to stay consistent throughout the whole process and taking the time to make sure each step is done correctly.
Communication Is Key!
Consistent communication and close collaboration are crucial to success during each phase of the translation process. With a professional project manager and/or account manager guiding the effort, documents can be translated seamlessly and successfully. Get to know the company you work with and be sure they put in time to get to know your business! The closer you work together and the more the LSP understands your business, the better they will be able to manage projects for you.
Check out the checklist below to get you started with your translation service needs.