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août 28, 2019 |

5 Ways to Avoid Getting a Terrible Business Translation

Many companies today rely on business translation to communicate with clients, providers, or business partners. Whether you’re already selling outside national borders or just looking for more business opportunities, a terrible business translation isn’t in your best interest and should definitely be avoided.

But how can you ensure you get good quality translations that with all the challenges that come with working with international clients? From contracts to user manuals and web content, there’s so much to be done in a relatively short time. Cutting corners is tempting and, before you know it, you could end up with more problems to fix. 

Here are five ways that will ensure you get a terrible business translation–and why you should avoid them. 

1. Don’t Use Google Translate or Other Free Software 

Google Translate is one click away. It can return translated content within seconds and doesn’t cost a dime which helps you eliminate most of your translation costs. However, we’ve heard this story far too many times. And it usually doesn’t end well. 

Google Translate gives you instant access to translations in over 100 languages, which makes it a valuable resource for most people in need. However, when the future of your business is at stake, you might want to think twice before relying exclusively on free machine translation. 

Google Translate is famous for creating hilarious situations, which is precisely the opposite of what you want to achieve with your business content or marketing materials. What may seem like a cost-effective solution for going global could slow down your international growth. 

Software isn’t still capable of recognizing the intent behind the communication and can’t counter the cultural barriers. When brands need to communicate their core values to international customers, they rely heavily on these elements. 

2. Never Hire the Cheapest Translator You Can Find 

Another excellent way to get a terrible business translation is by making the price your only criteria for selecting the right translator. 

Costs may be fundamental in any translation project, but other factors are equally important when hiring a language service provider. These include previous projects in the niche, professional background, education, communication skills, and any other element that may be relevant for the project.

Look for people who have previous experience in your industry, especially if you’re doing business in a niche or market that operates with specific terminology. Not only will they be more accurate and faster than someone from a different niche, but they may also be able to guide you as you move further with your expansion. 

Professional translators and localization specialists go the extra mile to do more than a plain translation of your content. They know special practices like keyword research, conversion rate optimization, and international SEO. They’re also more likely to translate with your target audience in mind. 

3. Don’t Send a Source Text That Lacks Accuracy 

Translators have excellent communication skills, but they can’t work miracles. If your source text is poorly-written, its translated version will only be worse than the original. 

Ideally, translators should be native speakers of the target language, so you can’t expect them to understand awkward sentences that barely make sense. Instead, make sure you provide business content that’s easy to read and understand by average readers. 

How can you create texts that help your translators? 

  • Eliminate typos, grammar, and spelling errors
  • Break down long sentences
  • Use the natural word order in sentences to keep things clear
  • Use the active voice instead of the passive
  • Get rid of modifiers that don’t add value to the reader
  • Provide reference material where you explain any industry-specific terminology
  • Make sure that every concept is expressed through a single term to avoid confusion
  • Use phrasal verbs only when they’re necessary, as they could make the text hard to understand

Also, if you’re still working on your business content, it’s wise to wait until you have the final version ready. Every modification that you make in the source text requires translators to rework the piece, which means higher costs and possible missed deadlines. 

4. Don’t Cut Out the Project Manager

Just because you can skip the project manager with the occasional translations, that doesn’t mean you can do the same with large projects. 

When you’re hiring business translators for handling your international content, you may need someone to coordinate the whole thing. A good project manager makes sure that everything happens in the right way for your brand.  

The project manager plans every step of the project based on your company’s specific needs. It’s a good way of making sure you don’t end up paying for services that you don’t need or that the final version of your content doesn’t meet your expectations. 

Firing the project manager is the shortest and safest road to failure. Without a specialist supervising the translation project, you may end up with a product that doesn’t reflect your brand and doesn’t even speak the language of your audience. 

Of course, you could do the work yourself, but are you sure you can understand all the challenges and details of working with multiple cultures and languages at the same time on top of your regular workload? 

5. Be Sure You Don’t Forget to Provide Context 

You’ve sent the files that need to be translated, and now you’re waiting for the translators to do the magic? If things were that simple in business translation, most probably, Google Translate could do it the right way. 

Business translation includes many niches, from translating financial documents to localizing marketing materials. However, they all have something in common. Translators work with sensitive content where context can make the difference between compliance and illegal activity. 

In this niche, details ensure quality translations, so you should create communication channels for your translators. Provide your language service provider with all the relevant information regarding the content to be translated. Answer all the questions and follow the progress of the project. This way, you’ll be able to identify any error right from the start and keep them to a minimum. 

You Can Avoid a Terrible Business Translation 

As you can see, it’s not rocket science. A couple of wise decisions at the right time could save you time and money in the long run. Take the time to analyze what language service providers have to offer and evaluate them by the value you get for the money you spend, rather than considering the costs alone. After making your choice, make sure you give your translators all the information they need to do their job correctly. 

In a nutshell, if you hire the right translators for your project and communicate well with them, you’ll receive excellent business translation services and avoid a terrible one.

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