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Your Pre-Translation Checklist

This handy Pre-Translation Checklist will explain how to streamline the quoting, and the translation process by providing us with key information, and sending your text in an appropriate format.

Requesting a Quote

We can quote faster, and more accurately, if we know:

  • What type of document do you need translated — for example, is it technical specifications, a marketing brochure, or a legal contract? We need to know what type of (specialised) translator your project will require.
  • How many words?
    • Professional translators are able to translate approximately 2,000-2,500 words per day (depending on the type of document). In Microsoft Word, you can see the number of words in the bar at the bottom of the page. If you are working in a different application just copy the content into a Word doc to check.
  • Which language(s) will the document be translated into? And for which region, eg. Latin-American Spanish or European Spanish? Note: there are significant differences between some language variations, such as European vs. Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Will you require DTP services (see below)?
  • In what timeframe?

If possible, we would like to see the original files. Don’t worry of you are still writing or editing, we won’t start translating until you provide the final version! Also, if we’ve translated for you before, we can analyse your files against your (client-specific) Translation Memory, and give you a discount on any repeated text.

Find out more: Optimising with Translation Memory

Find out more: Building a Retroactive Translation Memory

Will you need DTP services?

How do you want to receive the translations? Plain text in Word? Placed in your original document? Or press-ready files delivered direct to your printer? We can translate from any source document, into any target document, and we also offer a full design and DTP service — just tell us what you need.

Providing your final document(s) for translation

  • Make sure the files are editable! Word, InDesign (indd or idml) and Google Docs are great. Non-editable files such as PDFs, or images with text, have to be converted before we can start working.
  • Please provide the links (images) and fonts. If you’re working in InDesign, the easiest method is to send us an InDesign “Package” (look in the “File” menu).
  • If you have a brand style guide please provide it! Our translators will endeavour to replicate your style and tone, but if you have specific guidelines — such preferring the active voice — it’s good to know before we start.
  • If you have a Glossary — your preferred terminology and proprietary products or services — that would be really useful. Ideally, we should establish the preferred terminology before we start, as this saves much time in the Review process later. If possible, share all your internal style guides and/or resources.

Find out more: How to create a Glossary or Terminology Database

File formatting

We offer an Integrated Design and Layout Service which will ensure the final result is an accurate representation of your original document. However, we understand that some clients prefer to manage design and layout in-house. In this case, your designers should consider:

  • Different languages take up different amounts of space — often very different amounts. So try to make sure there is some flexibility with the space available.
  • Link the text boxes, so that the text ‘flows’. if your text is placed in individual text boxes, each box may have to be manually adjusted later.
  • Avoid the use of manual line breaks (forced returns) within paragraphs — this breaks the segment, which means a complete sentence could appear as two halves. This can, of course, be fixed by our translators — but it’s far quicker if segments (sentences) are complete.

Thinking of translation and the layout for translation, as two sides of the same coin, is the most cost-effective approach to ensuring high-quality multilingual documentation.

Find out more: Preparing Layouts for Translation (desktop publishing / DTP)
NB. This article is provides detailed information and is intended for design professionals

Internal Review

Think how difficult it is to reach a consensus on the wording of advertising copy in your own language?! Put five marketing people together in a meeting room and they could, and often will, argue for hours before agreeing on the “best” nuanced description… Now imagine trying to translate that fine-crafted end result into a number of different languages. 

Design an Internal Review Process that works (Bilingual RTFs can be extremely useful in the review process, especially when working with multiple reviewers or a team):

  • Wherever possible, designate native language experts within your organisation who can review translations and provide feedback to your translation partner.
  • You should choose your reviewers on the basis of their technical knowledge (product, market, etc.), their availability, and their positive attitude.
  • Depending on the type of documentation, a reviewer should stick to reviewing technical terminology, or to assessing whether the result is appropriate for their home market.
  • Reviewers should not offer opinions on (or refuse to accept) other aspects of the translation. Ideally, they should not interfere with linguistic and stylistic issues.

Find out more: The role of the internal reviewer

We hope this Pre-Translation Checklist has been useful! Contact us for further information.

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