If you run a business and you want to go global, it’s obvious that you’ll have to translate all your content: from the website to advertisements and more technical documentation translationsuch as instruction manuals. A task that you can not do alone, especially if what you intend is to maintain a certain reputation of your company.
Nevertheless, most companies don’t really think about writing content as translatable text. The way it goes is: your boss asks you to write a press release for first thing tomorrow morning. You do it and that’s it. Then it turns out that this statement has to be translated because it will be released in both the United States. You send it to your translation provider and they respond with an e-mail full of questions that you have to answer for the translation to be perfect, such as the matter of the style you want in the target language or target audience you want to reach.
WRITING ACCORDING TO YOUR AUDIENCE
Think about your target audience and specify this to the translator. Is your text intended for an adolescent audience or technical engineers? Writing or translating an advertisement in a magazine for teenagers will not be the same as writing or translating a communiqué for an entire network of engineers working on a large construction project. For the former, you’ll have to use specific words in teen slang and make use of marketing strategies, as your aim is to sell. For the latter, the technical jargon used for the project in question should take precedence above all.
Write clearly and concisely. Use short, straightforward phrases. Avoid repeating yourself and any ambiguities. Be specific and stay clear of concepts that are too abstract and difficult to understand in your own language. Avoid using acronyms or abbreviations or clarify their meaning to the translator to make their work easier.
Have a care with cultural connotations and humor. The former is practically impossible to translate as they refer to cultural knowledge that the reader shares with the author. If the reader is a foreigner, they won’t have any cultural knowledge of the source culture and reading the translation of the article without the aid of a footnote or any explanation in parenthesis will make it difficult for them to understand the intended meaning. For the same reason, humor is particularly difficult to translate, above all jokes (unless there’s something equivalent in the target language).
Be consistent in the use of terminology. This is not only a tip for the translation of the document, but also for you to make it easier to read for your customer. If you always use the same term, your customer will know what you’re talking about at all times. If you keep changing, you may confuse them because they’ll think you’re talking about something else. The same goes for the translator who, for technical projects, often create glossaries to maintain consistency.
HOW TO TRANSLATE
Provide the translator with basic information: target audience, purpose of the article, terms and even style guides (if any). Although translators always do their research on the Internet, all information you can provide them with will be more than appreciated. The more you give them, the more likely it is that the translation will turn out the way you want it to.
Answer the translator’s questions. Although you’ve provided all possible information, they may still have some questions left. Our advice is for you to answer them whenever you can and not to disregard them. It’ll only take you two minutes to answer, and in this way, you’ll also ensure that the translation is as perfect as possible.
Trust your provider. If you’re one of those who trusts machine translation more than the translator… you’re on the wrong track. All human beings make mistakes, but don’t question the translation from your provider just because Google Translate translated it another way. What’s more, it’s highly likely that its translation will be different from that of your translator. And infinitely worse. Whenever you give constructive criticism, your provider will be more than happy to explain what criteria were followed.