The world of professional translation is as exciting as it is mysterious. Hiring a translation agency without knowing very well how things work in this sector or how the world of languages works is like a voyage into the unknown. That’s why we have prepared this article that will help clear up the most common questions.
Translation or interpretation?
Some people use these two terms interchangeably, but the truth is that translation is not the same as interpretation. A translator writes and an interpreter speaks. If you are working with written documents, you need a translator. For example, if you have assembly instructions for your Chinese customers or an advertising campaign for Portugal.
Is everything translated?
Before arranging the translation of loads of documents, it is best to work out what the essential messages are. If you eliminate any superfluous text and establish an order of priorities, you will come out winning. Many times what is good, is twice as good shorter.
First think about whether the document you want to translate is relevant for countries other than yours. It may be better to prepare a new document entirely or focus on obtaining a high-quality translation of your website’s home page rather than translating the whole website using automatic translation.
Yes, texts and images do complement each other
For the reader, pictograms, charts and diagrams can speak louder than several pages of information. They allow you to avoid using highly technical vocabulary that could make reading difficult.
The text is necessary but can sometimes be supplemented with other ways to get your message across.
An international perspective is a must
Avoid clichés and concepts that are too strongly related to the local area. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and don’t forget that other cultures not only have a different language, they also see the world differently. If you use images, check that the message they convey applies universally. This will allow you to avoid awkward situations (and maybe problems).
Always look for quality
The best translation agencies include an external proofread in their translation service. This may not be necessary if you just want to “understand” the text, but if your goal is to persuade or sell, or if it is important for you to control the image you convey through your documents, it is essential to take this into account when arranging a translation.