Content can sometimes get lost in translation. When converting a project into a new language, you must consider more factors than simply just the text.
Understanding your audience should be your primary objective before you start the translation process. You should know information including the age, education level, and locations of those who will be receiving your content. Sharing this information with your translation company will help them decide how to present the material in the easiest way (i.e. bulleted lists, numbered steps).
To better simplify your content, try removing complex terms and using culture and gender-neutral language. Some countries and cultures contain different gender norms, so be careful when translating voice projects by knowing when to include a male voice and when to include a female voice.
You should also tailor your material to include simple sentences with an active voice and present tense, especially for instructions. Giving instructions an active voice will help readers and listeners take the commands as they are written in the translation.
Considering the dialect of the region is vital to your translation. For example, there are two different dialects of the Portuguese language: Brazilian-Portugese and regular Portuguese. If you are planning to send a translation to Portugal, then you will not want the dialect to be in the Brazilian form of Portuguese.
Once you’ve determined the dialect, then you must consider the customs and norms of the region. If there is a reference to a holiday such as Halloween in the English-U.S. version of your content, then the reference will have to be explained in greater detail with the Japanese version.
The same goes for the following:
- References to organizations, test, programs (SAT, ACT)
- References to local authorities (TSA, FDA)
- Social programs or benefits (Social Security, 401k)
- Slang, humor or catch phrases (Pop Culture)
This part is about learning what will make sense within a region. Take the time to select the proper dialect and language that will make the translation effortless.
To ensure that your translation is up-to-par and the terminology is correct, have someone from your internal team review the work of the translation provider. This way, your team can provide necessary feedback on the language and make corrections prior to foreign distribution.
To complete a successful internal review, be sure to choose your reviewer carefully. Check that they are fluent in the content’s current language, in the language it is being translated to, and in common industry terms used throughout the piece.
During their review, they should only be marking grammatical errors and terminology. At no point should they shift to rewriting sections of the content itself. If they believe there are global changes to be made, they can take their suggestions to the original content writer before making changes within the translation management system.
If these edits are approved, the reviewer can then use the “Track Changes” feature within Acrobat or Microsoft Word to clearly show where changes have been made.
Proper Reporting and Documentation
Full transparency and reporting is necessary when trying to get a fair price on your translated content. Don’t become fixated on per-word pricing since some providers may be hiding costs from you.
Instead of playing the guessing game, try using a provider that offers quarterly and annual reporting on your translations. These reports can include your savings, on-time delivery percentages, and a breakdown of your projects throughout the period.
By seeing exactly what you’re paying for, you can get a better understanding of what goes into translating your content and use these reports to budget for the future.
Lastly, take some time to consider translation memory. When selecting a provider, check to see if they have a detailed database that can store your translations. This way, if there is a revision or update to your content, it is already stored for your convenience.
This storage can save you time and money on having to translate the same content over again. Furthermore, it will instill a consistency that will ensure high quality and care of your translations without having to worry about storing them yourself.
Overall, content can be a hassle, even when you’re not translating it into another language. Using these tips, you can take the translation of your content to a new level of quality and consistency to ensure that your projects are a success.