High-quality translation can help increase business, strengthen client relations and win customers around the world. Here are 7 things to make sure you’re translation-ready.

Whether you’re translating marketing material, technical documents or legal paperwork, you need to ensure that you’re prepared for translation.

So have you considered and planned for all aspects of the translation process?

Make sure you’ve thought about these 7 things before jumping in.

1. What do you need translating, precisely?

Perhaps you need your latest blog post translating into 10 different languages, or an instruction manual translating for a new overseas market. Rather than happily translating the whole document, discuss with your design and sales teams what information actually needs translating. Is there anything you can leave out?

Cut translation costs by only translating relevant content, or by producing shorter documents for translation. The lower the word count, the lower the cost of translation.

Padding and waffle can generally be removed before the translation process begins. And think about deleting any cultural references that don’t apply to your overseas market, as well as any idioms and colloquialisms. Your translator or translation project manager should be able to advise you on any text that isn’t suitable for your target market.

2. Have you chosen the best – not just the cheapest – quote?

Yes, it’s tempting to go for the cheapest available translation service. You ask a few companies for a quote and a low-cost translation quote draws you in.

That’s ok. Just as long as you know you’re getting the service that you require.

If a translation company is charging a lot less than their competitors it’s worth asking why. Otherwise you might receive a low-quality translation full of errors and typos.

So how do you know if a company’s reputable, and that their claims of providing quality translation services are truthful? A sure-fire way of clarifying a company’s professionalism is to check out their credentials.

Ask to see copies of their professional accreditation, as well as testimonials from clients, case studies and even samples of their work. Make sure they work with experienced, professional translators who have the specialist knowledge you require.

And don’t forget about the importance of working with native-speaking translators. Why? Take a look here.

3.Have you researched your target market?

Do you know your target market inside out? Your text should be localised for your target market.

Make sure you’ve narrowed down any language requirements, including any local dialects.

If you’re targeting a specific area in India, you may need to consider translation into a local language rather than just Hindi. Similarly, do you need Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese or a different Chinese dialect? And do you need Spanish for mainland Spain, Mexico or another Latin American country? Be sure to research the specific language variations in your target market before you start the translation process.

Though there’s more to localisation than language requirements. Localisation processes should be applied across the board. Things like cultural references and idioms need to be adapted for the target market. The design and style of any artwork should be considered. Even the connotations of colour vary across the globe.

Employ a localisation expert to really get to grips with your target market, and make sure your documents and content are adapted to effectively communicate to your audience.

4. Have you properly communicated your requirements to your translator?

When it comes to the translation process, the more information you relay to your translator or project manager beforehand, the better. And the more information you can give, the smoother the translation process should run.

Be sure to tell your translator exactly who the text is written for, and where it’s going to be published. Style and tone all vary because of this, and your translator needs to choose the correct words, sentence length and grammatical structure to fit this.

If you have a glossary of terminology, your translator might like to see this in advance so they can use it as a reference during the translation process. Equally, any website links or further documentation to support the translation can be helpful to the translator, too.

And don’t forget to communicate any revisions in the text to your translator as soon as possible. It might be that they haven’t even got that far with the translation, so won’t need to revise anything. But the longer you leave it to communicate with them, the more revisions they too will have to make. And the more time and money this will cost you.

5. Do you have specialist material for translation?

It might be that your business covers a niche industry, that your documents are highly technical, or that you have legal texts for translation. No matter what sector you work in, if you have specialist documents for translation, you need to employ a specialist translator.

This is most important if you’re translating documents with highly technical subject matter. Specialist areas like the pharmaceutical, medical, engineering and legal sectors will definitely need a specialist translator to ensure that any niche terminology is translated accurately.

It takes years of academic and professional training for a translator to gain specialised knowledge of a particular subject. Often a legal or medical translator will have trained or work in these sectors before becoming a translator, meaning that they have a strong understanding of the subject matter. Be sure to check out your translator’s credentials before starting the translation process.

6. Is your content ready for translation?

To avoid lengthy revisions of your completed translation, make sure you produce content that’s ready for translation before the process begins.

We’ve written a how-to guide on producing translation-ready content, but here are a few pointers to start.

• Create a glossary of terminology to ensure consistency.
• Create a style guide so you produce consistent on-brand content.
• Proofread and edit all text so any typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are picked up before translation.
• Avoid using colloquial language, and stay away from idioms and cultural references, as these have to be adapted for a foreign language-speaking audience.

7. Have you thought about the multilingual design process?

Once your text has been translated, there’s often more work to do before your document is ready to be published in a foreign language.

The translated text needs to be inserted back into the original document. Sometimes this is a simple case of reproducing the original document without much need for formatting. But often it’s more complex. And even when the original document seems to have simple formatting there can be challenges. For example, many languages expand from English, so often a document lengthens after translation.

And if your document contains artwork or design elements, then you need to think about how this will look in the foreign language.

Multilingual desktop publishing (and typesetting in right-to-left or complex scripts) often requires specialist help, so you should make sure your translator can help with this before they start translating. If you’re working with a translation company, they may have an in-house design team who can provide this service for you.

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Sure Languages is a professional translation company based in the UK. We help businesses from all sectors communicate in over 100 languages through our specialised translation, interpreting and voiceover services.