Continuing in this series of articles expanding on Ensuring Effective Translations, the next set of tips are to help you make sure that the information you are giving to your service provider is well organised and clear.
The preparation of the specification discussed in the previous section is the starting point for briefing your service provider. Key things for the service provider are an understanding of the target country, language and dialect(s), the audience, the timelines, the formats and key instructions that you want followed. This is all part of your specification.
Keep your service provider up to date with your project and any potential changes that might happen. This allows them to prepare and be more responsive.
To ensure the most effective use of your service provider, don’t just send through all of the materials you may have. Make sure that you have organised your materials to help them. Include all the relevant files in a logical order and don’t include any materials that you don’t want translated. This saves the translator time and effort by not having to sift through materials looking for relevant content or translating material that you don’t need. If the translator has to sort your documentation it will likely delay your project.
Also provide files in a suitable format. Whilst most translation service providers can handle many formats it takes longer to translate from hard copy.
Different types of document need different styles of translations. A technical article is not a travel brochure and a press release requires a different style from a legal contract. It is therefore essential to be clear to your translation provider what the translation is for and your expectations for tone, word choice, sentence length, phrasing and degree of formality.
You also need to inform your translation provider about your target audience. Different age groups and education backgrounds in your target audiences will require different approaches and tone.
If your translation is a technical subject, it is important that your translation provider understands the subject. They need to articulate the subject accurately in a way that is clear and readable to the audience, therefore, translators familiar with the subject are likely to produce better text.
An experienced translator is likely to ask for such information and the different requirements in quality have a direct effect on the cost and completion times. For many translations, the successful expression of the meaning is more important than an exact translation of the source text, so the translation provider has to make difficult decisions on the style and meaning. As your translation provider gains understanding of your business strategy, products, audiences and preferences, the better their translations will be. If you translation provider is not comfortable with your subjects and audiences, it is time to change your supplier. You need your foreign language text to have the maximum impact and a provider that can deliver that.
The more informed your translation provider has, the better prepared they can be and the better service you will receive. The greater the clarity the translation provider has, the more chance there is of choosing a translator who has the appropriate experience in the area.
We have discussed already ensuring the translation provider knows the intended audience, use, style etc. of your translation, but you also need to think about the quality criteria that have to be met. Some of the questions you need to consider are:
Will a second translator be involved in the editing or proofreading? Is it the client’s responsibility, or will a separate reviewer be assigned? The quality of the translated text will be much better if it is reviewed and enhanced by a second translator and in some cases this quality control is a must. However, it may cost extra or have an effect on deadlines so this must be agreed upfront with your translation provider.
Is the overseas representative for your company going to have a look at it as well? If yes, at what stage of the process would this take place? Who is responsible for managing this, the translation provider or yourself?
What will be the format of the final file (PDF etc.), and how will the translation company deliver the file? Who will ensure that all corrections are incorporated and how many revision cycles are included in the price? How do you want to communicate revision requirements to the translation provider?
Finally, it is worth considering what happens to the text after it has been translated. If post-translation work, such as typesetting, is required for the project, it is possible for some translation companies to undertake this as well. Similarly if the translation is required for recorded speech, the translation company may have services to provide this.
In the next article we will look at the seventh step – Preparing your translations; tips to ensure that the translation provider has everything in order.
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