Beyond being aware of your specific needs and communicating them to your translation provider, you can do several things to streamline the translation process.
Getting a quote
We can quote faster, and more accurately, if we know…
Which languages do you need?
Which audience, or market, are you trying to reach? Remember that some languages have more than one variety, e.g. European Spanish and Latin-American Spanish, so be sure to specify.
In fact, there are multiple “varieties” of Spanish. The Spanish spoken in the countries of Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula are significantly different. Most Spanish speakers can understand the various forms, although pronunciation varies. But the key when writing for the Spanish-speaking world is to select the most recognisable term.
Fine out more: European vs Latin American Spanish
Are the files ready and workable?
We need the original files (InDesign, Word, etc) in order to give you a specific quote. 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.
Fine out more: Building a Retroactive Translation Memory
Will you need any Formatting?
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.
Streamline your translation
Our translators and projects managers can work faster, and more accurately, if we know…
Provide context, images and/or explanations of your preferred terminology and proprietary products or services. Ideally, we should establish a Glossary of preferred terminology before we start, as this saves much time in the Review process later. If possible, share your internal style guides, glossaries and/or resources.
Find out more: How to create a Glossary or Terminology Database
Explain project details such as the purpose of the document, and the target audience, to your project manager. A marketing campaign directed to young (18-24 year) Spaniards in Madrid; would be quite different from one aimed at middle-aged, professional Cuban-Americans in Miami!
We offer an Integrated Design and Layout Service which will streamline the translation process, as well as reducing costs and ensuring the final result will be 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:
- If you’ll be producing your document in two or more languages, it is cost-efficient to consider this from the start. Different languages take up different amounts of space — often very different amounts, as is the case with English and Spanish, for example. For this reason, if your design has considered only one language, you will have to adapt it to accommodate the translation. For example, imagine you have a two page spread in Spanish, but the English translation only takes up one page. Or, even worse, the other way round, and you need to insert an extra page to accommodate the Spanish text.
- Another important factor is to ensure that the text ‘flows’; that the format accepts text segments of varying length — i.e. if all 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 design and layout for translation, as two sides of the same coin is the most cost-effective approach to ensuring high-quality multilingual documentation.
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” tone or nuanced description… Now imagine trying to translate that finally-crafted, end-result into a number of different languages.
Design an Internal Review Process that works. Wherever possible, designate native language experts within your organisation who can review translations and provide feedback to your translation partner. Every minute spent on cultivating and enforcing this relationship will be well spent.
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.
Bilingual RTFs can be extremely useful in the review process, especially when working with multiple reviewers or a team.