Document translation may seem to be a one step process: you pass along a file to convert into another language. However, a successful end result is dependent upon a thoroughly thought out protocol.The first step that should be considered when having your documents translated is the careful selection of the translator. A translation company is usually selected with future volume considerations and multiple language requirements as the main determining factors.
When selecting a translation partner, a reputation for quality is crucial. A standard for quality assurance is the ISO 9001 certification. ISO certification is based on eight quality management principles which include customer focus, continual improvement and mutually beneficial supplier relationships. Companies must pass a rigorous evaluation and audit every year to maintain their certification.
Many translation companies also utilize LISA-based standards (Localization Industry Standards Association) to evaluate translators and ensure quality. LISA standards use a scorecard system to check for crucial elements such accuracy, consistency and style, and errors are marked as minor, major or critical. This is part of the QA process which is completed before a translated document is sent to a client. Beyond assuring final quality, this system provides continual evaluative feedback for the linguists involved.
Once you have selected a partner, ensure you follow these steps before starting a project.
Before you send out a file to the translation company, ensure that you have the source editable file as well as all of the related documents. This should include any images and fonts.
It is important to look carefully at your material, especially photos, to ensure they will be relevant and not offensive or confusing to the target audience. This part of the process is considered the localization of content.
Many languages have an expansion rate, meaning it requires more words to express the same idea. Brazilian Portuguese is one language to consider with an expansion rate. Therefore it is important to leave enough layout space in your brochure, manual, booklet or web page. Your translation agency can advise on the approximate amount of language expansion space required.
Make sure that content is free of ambiguities. Do not use idioms, as they do not always translate well. Make sure the writing is as simple as it can possibly be, without compromising your professionalism. Also avoid using references to places or people in the source language, as they may not be well-known or even not known at all in the target language.
Be aware translation providers will not translate slogans or tag lines unless you provide a localized version. Improperly localized tag lines and slogans can be a public relations nightmare. Large global companies here like Schweppes, Pepsi and Kentucky Fried Chicken, amongst others have made missteps regarding their localized tag lines.
Before starting work a translation partner will appreciate any approved previously translated material for reference and consistency sake. If you have a translation memory, please provide it. Your translation partner will create a glossary of terms for a trusted reviewer to confirm. This will ensure your translation partner uses the same terminology those in the field such as sales people and distributors are using. It is important to have a consistent message.
Once you have given the go ahead, your translation partner will assign your work to the best qualified team. Your provider should use a team who has the proper qualifications such as education, training or professional background as well as is a native speaker of the target language. The team will have expertise in the field, so they know all of the technical jargon and nuances of the language.
We hope these guidelines will help direct your translation procedures to produce relevant, effective material in any language.
As a global translation company, Terralingua has worked for some of the world’s top brands. We provide translation and localization services in all languages. If your company would like more information on how we can be of assistance, please visit our website for contact information and to request a quote.