09 Nov I need a translation… what now?
You may have even wondered “why should I work with professional translators instead of using a machine translation engine”?
Here’s a quick example:
The different ways of writing the date are a good example of the cultural details that machines do not understand. So, how would they cope with other linguistic subtleties?
Interpreter or translator?
To translate a document, do you need a translator or an interpreter? Both are professionals who specialise in languages, but they work in different scenarios:
An interpreter is a person who translates orally. Their services are used, for example, in meetings, either in person or electronically (calls).
A translator is a person who interprets the meaning of a text in one language and says (writes) the same thing in the same way in another language.
Where do you want to translate for?
Within the same country, there may be several official languages – as is the case in Switzerland or Canada – or different forms of writing – as in China, where there are 2 forms of writing: traditional or simplified Chinese. That is why you need to let the translation company know where the recipients of the documents live.
Who are the texts intended for?
It is important to say who will be reading your brochure or visiting your website. That way, the translator knows who they are translating for and will adapt their words to ensure that the recipients clearly understand what was meant by the original. It also enables the translation company to choose the translator with the right profile for a successful translation.
Look out for file formats: save time and money!
PDF documents are not editable, which means that you can’t change all the text to another language. This means that you will need to do an OCR conversion to create an editable version, generally in Word format. This version will have lower print quality, so you need to factor in additional formatting work.
Beware of images that contain text. It is common to have PowerPoint presentations with images with inaccessible text. In this case, additional formatting work will be required to replace the text unless you opt for textless images. Always make sure the text is accessible.
Take care with machine software.
Imagine you wanted to translate the instruction manual of a microwave into Portuguese. If the appliance’s interface is only available in English, it is not advisable to translate it in the manual, as the user will be confused.
If there is an option to choose the interface in Portuguese, then you should provide the translation company with the exact text, so that the interface options that appear in the manual are identical to those that the user will see on the machine’s display.
Is this the first time you’re translating into this language?
Share documents you have already translated with the translation company. Not only can this reduce costs and time, it will also help the translation company ensure that your documents are translated according to your preferences.
How many times do you reread an important email before you click Send?
Although the translator rereads their work, the fact that the document is revised by another linguist ensures that nothing gets lost in translation. The reviewer will ensure that the text conveys exactly the same message, in a manner which is clear and appropriate to the culture of the country for which it is intended. Is there anyone in your company who speaks Russian who can reread the document, or is it better to confirm that the translation company has already included revision in your service?
Unlike machine translation engines, translators make use of everything that nature and their environment offer them so that each sentence is constructed intentionally – this is the art and science of knowing how to choose the right words for the right location.
The process is complex, but it becomes easier when both parties work together. Taking these aspects into account will make life easier for you. We’ll do the rest.