This post is intended for companies who want to better understand the process of preparing a translation project.
A successful, quality translation depends on many factors throughout the translation process. But here’s a secret that many translation buyers new to the market may not know – the most important part of the translation process is you.
Before the translation process can even begin, it is up to you to prepare the translation project request. This is not always a simple task. Your language service provider (LSP) will need detailed instructions in order to produce an accurate, and effective translation.
Wondering where to begin? Just follow these 5 simple steps to prepare a high-quality translation project!
Make a plan
Determine your language combination. Be sure to target a specific region or country. This is an essential step in ensuring clarity in project requirements and appropriate use of language based on the target region and culture. For example, choose English (UK) to Spanish (SP), rather than simply English to Spanish.
- Define your target audience. Are your readers young or old? Industry experts or the general public? Local or international? With a clear target audience in mind, the translator can avoid using inappropriate language or.
- Identify the tone and voice of the document. Consider the subject matter and target audience. Legal, medical and technical translations usually require a serious, formal tone and in some cases, use of the passive voice. In contrast, marketing content allows more freedom in diction and tone, including use of the active voice to ensure easy-reading.
- Set publishing requirements. Select the file type of your source document. Then, decide how or where the translation will be published. For example, a company brochure may need to be translated from a PDF into a Word document, which can later be easily posted on a website. Thus, the project is a PDF to Word doc request. Tip: Be sure to look for translation agencies that offer DTP (desktop publishing) post translation.
Next, prepare your source document
Use your plan above to provide clear instructions to the text writers. Remind your SMEs (subject-matter experts) to use clear, concise language and avoid idioms, expressions and unnecessary cultural references. Lastly, blackout confidential information, such as names, identity numbers and contact information.
Proofread, proofread, proofread!
This is the most important step, as mistakes in the source document will inevitably end up in the translation too! Check for linguistic and cultural errors, as well as punctuation, capitalisation, and number formatting. Then, check for layout consistency of bold or italicised words, date/time formatting, and bullet or numbered lists.
Create a terminology glossary and style guide for the translator
A terminology glossary and style guide will boost translation speed and ensure terminology and tone/voice consistency throughout the translation process. Moreover, your translator can add to it in future projects.
A terminology glossary should include definitions, explanations and sample sentences for the following:
- Brand names and slogans
- Industry-specific jargon
A style guide should include explanations and sample sentences for the following:
- Tone: formal or informal
- Voice of the document: active or passive
- Preferences as regards punctuation and capitalisation
Set a clear deadline for the translation
Establish a reasonable deadline based on translator availability, language combination, and word count. Other possible factors to consider are difficult terminology and the requirements of a niche industry or highly-targeted audience.
In terms of word count, bear in mind that the average translator can translate up to 2,000/2,500 words per day.
As a translation buyer, your success in this market depends to a significant extent on your commitment to preparation and planning. Taking time to prepare a quality translation project will ensure productivity, speed of delivery and an accurate, effective translation. Follow these 5 simple steps, and you won’t go wrong.