Translation, like any other form of creative writing, depends on a number of factors. Understandably, having a native-speaker translator who is familiar with your subject area helps a great deal. Direct communication with your translator or translation project manager will also make it easier to coordinate the entire process and enable you to pass on your individual specifications and preferences. Using a translator or translation agency that guarantees that the translated text will be proof-read and edited by a second native-speaker is also advisable – the editor will view the text with fresh eyes and make valuable contributions; not only in terms of punctuation and spelling, but also in relation to the flow and naturalness of the language.
How to make your translator’s life easier
Your translator will normally devote a considerable amount of time to your text, beyond the actual task of translating the content. Translators spend a lot of time researching, reading articles and analysing content that is related to your subject area. They will look at similar texts and work out what makes them good (or not so good). They build translation glossaries and use specialist software to guarantee that their target texts are consistent, accurate and of the highest quality. Nevertheless, there are a number of steps that you can take in order to speed up the translation process and save yourself money. Ask yourself at the writing stage whether your text will need to be translated at some point in the future. If so, try to make sure that as you write, you bear this in mind:
- Think about your audience and where you want the text to appear. If you can provide this information, your translator will be clearer on the style, level of formality/technicality, etc.
- If your text contains abbreviations or acronyms, try to make sure that you clarify these the first time you use them. This will save your translator valuable research time.
- Try to be as consistent as you can in your use of terminology and feel free to provide your translator with any glossaries or reference materials so that they can get a better feel for your subject area.
- Try to produce any graphics (maps, tables, graphs, etc.) separate from accompanying text (keys, explanations, source details). If your translator can’t access the original data, it will just create an extra (avoidable) step in the translation process.
- Take the time to clearly mark any text passages that don’t need to be translated. It is really helpful if, for example, passages that have previously been translated, or notes that accompany the text, are in a different colour or appear as comments accompanying the source text.
- Only send your translator final versions of texts for translation. It can be really time-consuming and challenging to deal with amendments, even small ones, late in the day.
- Let your translator know who they can address any questions or comments to. It really helps when communication is as streamlined and direct as possible.
- Plan your translation projects as far ahead as possible. Most translators charge extra for express projects that involve evening and weekend work. These can add 20% or more to your final bill, so it’s best to avoid rush jobs if you can.
- If you are looking at establishing a long-term relationship with a translator or translation agency, let them know. It should be possible to negotiate more competitive rates and even organise a “trial” translation, making your choice of provider that much more informed. Choosing the cheapest translator is often not the best idea. Experienced translators have spent time studying languages, honing their skills and developing specialised fields of expertise. It should come as no surprise that they expect to be paid accordingly.
- Give specific feedback on each project. Taking a small amount of time to let your translator know what you think of their work is a sound investment in the quality of the translations they will provide for you in the future.
The first step
If you are looking for a skilled and experienced native-speaker translator for an upcoming project, call us on 030 700 159 526 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to provide you with a quote and will deal with your enquiry and any texts you send us in strict confidence. We look forward to hearing from you!
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