Converting materials into another language is not just an afterthought. Translation is one of the most important tasks for a global company. Just imagine the negative impact an improperly presented message could create or a late delivery causing a missed shipping date and product launch.. Time and work goes into the best translations, just as it did to develop the English materials. However, given the speed of business today it is understandable that clients want to know how quickly translations can be completed. The answer is summarized in the pneumonic device below to “STOP”
A translation agency has to consider many factors while translating. The complexity of the material or subject matter is one of the major deciding factors that affects the delivery time of translations. How complex is the source material? Is it technical? Will it require a specialized team? Does it involve software which will require training or capturing screen shots? Is the source material easy to localize or does it have many cultural references that will need to be changed? What format is the source material? Is it in an electronic format? Or just hard copy? If no electronic files are available more time is required to recreate the layout. These are some of the basic questions which should be addressed during the quoting phase to help properly decide the amount time to deliver a quality end product.
The tools used by the translation agency help estimate the time required. Ensure you have a partner who uses all of the available tools and technology to speed work along. Professional translators use translation memory tools and automated glossaries to use established translations and ensure repetitive text is consistent. Please note these tools are not machine translation. They work much like spell check which requires a human to make decisions. These tools speed work along so a translator does not have to spend as much time ensuring consistency and preferred terms are used. Your translator may require less time to complete the translations if the translation memory yields high matches in the quoting phase.
The language of the source material is another factor. For example, if the source is Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, or Arabic, into another language it will require time to craft the message. Certain language combinations require two translations. One translation is from the primary source to the intermediate language and the other is from intermediate language to the target audience. Even if your original text is in English, if the quality of the English is poor and the message is not clear, it will require more time.
Just because someone speaks or writes another language means he or she is the right person for the job. Don’t place your global message in the hands of one person. Ensure you have a professional, native speaking team with quality checks in place.
So remember when time pressures are upon you:
• Slow down your expectations and give your translation partner a realistic deadline. Human translation is an art and not a one to one science. . Allow as much time as you allotted for the English materials to develop the corresponding translated materials especially if the materials are complex or require extensive formatting.
• Ensure you have a partner who uses technology and tools. This will speed work and ensure consistency as well as repetitive text savings.
• The quickest translations are those by native speaking linguists. They have the expertise required in translating the material ensuring the best outcome.