Supporting your business worldwide
Translation buyer's dos and don'ts
1. Does it need translating?
Make sure you only have the relevant sections translated or think of alternatives, such as using diagrams or pictures to reduce the translation cost. Remember cost is based on the number of words so reducing one will automatically reduce the other!
2. Think ahead
Planning the translation process will ensure you get the best results. Think about how long it has taken for the original version to be written and allow plenty of time to get the translations completed. Make sure the source document is finalized before sending it for translation - last minute amendments to the source can cause delays and risk errors being introduced in the translated document.
3. Talk to your translator / translation company
Make sure it is clear what the document is going to be used for and who the target audience is. It is important that the style of writing and the dialect are appropriate for the people who will be reading or using the text.
4. Industry experience
Every industry or business sector has its own specialist terminology. You may think it is fairly general because you work with it every day but to an outsider there will be terms that are unfamiliar. So, it's important to make sure your translator is experienced in your industry so that the correct terms are used and our text sounds right.
5. Native speakers
You should always ensure a native speaker of the target language carries out the translation work. Regardless of how familiar a non-native is with the language, they will never be able to work it as well as a native. It is also preferable if the native speaker lives in their country of origin so they can keep up-to-date with the developments in their language.
6. Involve your technical experts
If you have foreign distributors / sales managers etc., get them involved in the translation process. Not only can they help you verify the quality of the translation, but they will also feel that they have had an input in the creation of the document and feel more confident about using it to sell your products. They are also the best references for any specialist in-house terminology.
7. Expect questions
This is not a sign of weakness but a commitment to quality and your success. A translator has to understand a text before they can convey it in another language and therefore may need to clarify certain phrases or sentences.
8. Proofreading & revision
Companies should always include this as part of the translation process, but check it is covered it any quotations you receive. It should be carried out by a second translator with experience and qualifications in the subject area.
Once you have invested your time and money in a good, quality translation, don't waste it with poor typesetting. Different conventions apply to different languages and it is all too easy to fall into traps that will create a bad impression on the reader.
10. Remember, cheapest is not always best value
It is your company's reputation that is at stake, so why risk a poor, cheap translation to represent you? Think about the time and money you invest in marketing and promoting your company in your own language. that could all be lost in a foreign market if you don't take account of these tips and ensure your translations really work for you.
If you do find a good translation company, it's worth sticking with them. Over time, they will build up databases of your translation which will ultimately give you cost savings and ensure consistency across all your documentation, reinforcing your company brand.
“I translate from English into Dutch and have worked for Peak Translations for three years now, to my complete satisfaction. My work is centred primarily around the technical field, with some specialization in agricultural machinery.”
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