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November 28, 2017 |

Top Tips For Maintaining Quality in Your Translations

When looking to ensure high quality translations, it helps to get as involved in the process as possible. As with any project, communication is essential. If you talk to your translators and give them all the information they need, you’ll get better results. That includes faster turnaround times and lower costs, thanks to reduced human error and misunderstanding.

Quality Translations Start with Quality Source Content

Quality translations start with a good source text. No matter how talented your translators are, if the original text is full of mistakes, your translation will be, as well.

Where possible, write for translation from the start. If you know your text will be for foreign audiences, make your content easy to read and understand. Use clear words and leave little or no room for interpretation.

Pay attention to these major elements:

Short sentences. Some concepts are hard to translate. But coming up with quality translations is even harder when translators have to dig into long phrases, looking for the right meaning. By keeping sentences short, you make the text easier to follow and to translate.  

Correct grammar and punctuation. For a quality translation, it’s always better if the specialist is native in the target language. Yet, this may mean that he or she has difficulties in understanding poorly written texts in the original language. If the translator has to translate from bad English to comprehensive English before passing the text to the real translation, you won’t lose just time and money–you’ll risk translating the wrong text.

Active voice. Passive voice usually sounds unnatural and is hard to follow in most languages. Active voice means less words to translate and a more engaging message to share with the audience.

Clear terms for each concept. If you write about cars, try to use a limited number of terms to identify the concept. If you first use ‘auto’, then ‘automobile’, then ‘truck’ and end with ‘wagon’, you risk losing not only the translator, but your readers, as well. Consistency is important, especially for quality translations that are technical, medical, or legal.

Give Positive and Negative Examples

If you’ve done other translations in the past, don’t be afraid to share the experience with your current translation team. Let them know what went well and what you didn’t like about previous projects.

Examples are useful when you’re looking to maintain or to improve quality in translations. Specialists see what you expect from them (or what you wish to avoid) and can keep the model in mind while working.

Having a clear idea about the project helps all parties involved to achieve better results and higher quality translations. Negative examples can also help translators to prevent a series of mistakes caused by poor communication.

Help Your Translators Create An Accurate Glossary of Terms

A glossary of terms is an investment, especially if you plan to expand your business, and have to translate to more target languages in the future.  

Make sure your translators are provided with context and plenty of information about your product, to come up with the quality translations for each term included in the glossary.

Accuracy is the key to quality translations. So, give translators time to carry out proper research and to find the correct terminology to use, depending on your niche. Sometimes, terms that might seem irrelevant can be an important part in quality translations.

Specialists follow a glossary of terms when translating content, especially when working in industries like pharmaceutical, gaming, or IT.  That’s why it’s important you check accuracy before your specialists start working.

The quality of the glossary influences the quality of your translations. A good translation means consistency and faster turnarounds. While errors in this phase of the game are will cause negative effects on the entire project. The more errors to correct, the more hours of work and higher costs to pay.

Provide Your Translators with Context

To get higher quality translations, you need to give your translators some background information. Details about the industry and audience are essential for getting a good translation.

Words have more than one meaning. Choosing the right ones depends a lot on the context. If your translators don’t know what they’re reading about, they won’t be able to deliver the best version of the original text.

Further still, knowing whom they’re translating for helps them find the right tone and style for the translated text. Give your translators details about the target public right from the beginning of the project: gender, age, education, income, and anything else that can help them understand more about the audience.  

Together with context, you can furnish a style guide for your translation team to follow and achieve higher quality translations. Guidelines give important clues about the tone and the terminology translators should use.

They also explain the content’s structure and provide important information about how to express specific details, such as date and hour formats, units of measure, and currencies.

With a style guide, translators manage to adapt their voices to fit your company’s style, and the content they deliver respects all your standards. You’ll waste less time with editing and rewriting translated content.

Set Reasonable Deadlines

Translation can be a slow process, depending on the type of translation services you’re looking for. Even when using CAT tools, translators still need to go through the entire content several times (both in original and target languages), to make sure that the translated text has the exact meaning of the original version.

As with most creative tasks, translations need time. If you want your project to be done by yesterday, you may have to quit on quality. So, set reasonable deadlines when looking to maintain high standards.

Think about setting milestones, instead of coming up with tight deadlines. This way, you’ll receive chunks of translated content on a regular basis. Translators have the time they need to work on the project, and you get to see results right from the start.

Collaborate with Your Translators

Quality translations come from cooperation between translators and their clients. So be prepared to answer additional questions, if your translators still have doubts about terminology or style.

Details make the difference between good results and great results. So, if you want to get the most out of your translation projects, communicate regularly with your experts. Give them all the support they need to do their job and, with a little extra effort, you’ll achieve and maintain quality translations every time.