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5 Steps to Ensure a Successful Translation

June 26, 2014

When you’re planning an entry into a new market, translating your documents may seem like the least of your concerns. Yet, a poorly translated project can harm your company’s perceived professionalism, negatively impact the message they are trying to get across and handicap an otherwise brilliant new market strategy.

Here are 5 steps you can take to ensure your translation process runs smoothly.

1.       Provide Enough Time

Time is everything, and whether you are tackling document translation, patent translation, medical translation, or website localization, it is important to give yourself enough time to perfect it. You want to make sure that the translator or translation company has enough time to thoroughly research the subject matter, prepare the translation, and revise and proofread until the final draft is perfect.

The Project Manager at Morningside, says that “Collaboration is key, the more time you have with your translator the more likely you’ll be on the same page. Effective teamwork and communication is one of the keys to localization and translation success.”

Tip: If you know that you will need a translation done and you want to reach out to a professional translation company, speak with them as early as possible so that they can build a custom workflow for your project and find the ideal translator for your project.

2.       Create a translation glossary and style guide.

A translation glossary and style guide are helpful cheat sheets for linguists to better understand your company.  A translation glossary includes the companies “lingo”, words that should stay consistent throughout, and words that should not be translated such as product names. A style guide describes how a company should be presented visually and textually and the overall style and tone of the company. In short, it identifies those branding elements that must remain, no matter the locale. Providing both a translation glossary and style guide to linguists can help ensure consistency. Without this, words and phrases can be translated in multiple ways across different languages meaning more time spent revising translations to create consistency. A Glossary and style guide can not only help with consistency, but it can also reduce the length of time it takes to complete each document translation and cut costs.

3.       Don’t use Multiple Linguists

You might think that using many linguists for large projects will speed up the process, but it could have a negative impact on the overall quality and cohesion of the project. Why is that? The more linguists involved, the more prone you’ll be to inconsistencies in the translation. Beyond the specific style and tone of each linguist, many words have multiple translations that could fit in a given language and consistency is key when delivering a message and building a brand. This is especially true if you want to keep with a specific and notable brand image or content style used in the past. The same also applies to your proofreader – give one person enough time as opposed to forcing the issue with multiple people.

The caveat to this idea is getting a fresh set of eyes on a longer project. Once you’ve completed a translation, give one person with fresh eyes the chance to look it over and check for mistakes.

4.       Provide as much detail as possible.

The more information you can provide to your translator or translation company, the better. Besides including more details in the translation, it gives the translation service a more accurate ability to choose a translator that has the expertise in that specific field.

5.       Translation memory tools.

Translation memory tools are able to store segments, such as sentences, titles, headings, and phrases and create a database for future projects. This helps save time and money for any updates that need to be done to a project, or for translating any new content. It enforces consistency throughout all versions of any projects and also cuts time because the linguists don’t have to spend time re-translating the same thing time and time again. Morningside Translations currently works with both MemoQ and SDL Trados Studio which has helped reduce client costs tremendously.

A high-quality translation is a key part of bringing your product or service to a new market, and a poorly executed translation can cost you business. By following the above tips, you can improve the quality of your translation, lower costs  and help make your entry into new markets an easier process.