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Preparing Your Content for Translation is a Must ─ Here’s Why

Now that we’ve finally decided on our translation partner, what’s next? What should we do to prepare the content that will be translated? Is there on earth any role for us to do before the translation process kicks off?

As the above questions are frequently asked by clients ─ startups and big businesses alike ─ we think it’s important for LatinoBridge to provide our corporate prospects with an all-inclusive checklist of the things they need to do before they leave the entire translation project to our highly qualified translators.

So, let’s put it outright from the very beginning. The most important part of the translation process is probably you ─ the client! If you prepare your content well for translation, this will save a lot of time and effort. It’ll also ensure that both the client and the translation vendor face fewer bottlenecks, go through a smoother process, and see a faster turnaround time. Further, this will also give the client a higher ROI.

That said, let’s together dive deeper into what you’re advised to do, as a client, at your end before we, as your translation partner, take over. Below, you’ll just have a look at the best practices for preparing your content for translation. It’s easy but highly important.  

  • Clear Project Brief

It’s a file, a dossier, yet it will remarkably help you to get the right eventual outcome for your translation project. In this project brief dossier, you’ll put all the indications and instructions that your translation provider needs to know at the beginning of every translation project. They, more or less, include:

·        Project volume

·        Language combinations

·        Deadlines

·        Priorities

·        Source files

·        Reference materials

·        Brief overview of your brand voice.

·        Brief Description of your target audience (end users of your products) and how you normally communicate with them.  

  •  Text That Reads Well

It’s highly important that your in-house corporate team should make an effort to ensure that the text you’re going to send to your translation provider can be easily understood.

You need to remember well that our highly professional linguists usually translate into their native languages, and yet they need to have a source text that is not full of grammar or typing errors. With this, you’ll be helping them to finally deliver a high-quality and accurate translation of your project.  

Moreover, your language service provider’s translation team will highly appreciate it if you provide them with text in an editable file. This will make it possible for them to use a translation memory tool, which will allow them to leverage existing translations, thereby keeping your costs down.

  •  Optimized Layout & Formatting

Let’s start with answering the frequently asked question of why document formatting is paramount.  Technically, all translation memory software handles the sentence units in any text. Therefore, the use of punctuation and formatting markers ─ such as line breaks ─ is very important for the translation memory tool.  In consequence, if you provide your translation partner with bad formatting, this may result in segment fragments appearing in the translation tool, which will certainly result in mistranslations or inconsistencies when an existing translation cannot be found due to the sentence split.

Fixing this problem will certainly reduce the speed of translation or incur further costs to improve formatting. So, if you work on optimizing content formatting beforehand, you’ll unquestionably save time and keep costs down. 

Further, you also need to ensure that graphic content within your files is also editable. Image labels and graphs are frequently transferred into a document as an image. Since translation memory software tools do not deal with them as text, they’re omitted from the initial translation project. Then they should be ─ in a separate step ─ typed up, translated and inserted back into the translated document. Therefore, if you provide these graphs and images in an editable form, you’ll save a lot of effort and cost.

  • Define Your Target Language

It’s not enough to tell your translation provider that you wish to have an English to Spanish document translation. It looks like telling them that Shakespeare is an English poet, or Julius Caesar is a Brazilian statesman (I doubt it!).

In real life, your translation vendor needs to know which Spanish-speaking market you are targeting. Spanish is spoken in a wide diversity of territories, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. It’s also spoken by some communities in the United States, Belize, Andorra, Gibraltar ─ and probably in Spain!

This also applies to many other languages. Take Arabic for instance. When you’re requesting a translation of your promotional or marketing material into Arabic, you need to specify which Arabic. Is it the Arabic spoken in a country like Morocco, or in Egypt, or in one of the Gulf Arab states, such as Kuwait? This generous clarification will help your translation partner to produce a high-quality translation that is based upon the specific target region and culture.

  • Project Scope & Turnaround Time

When it comes to the scope of your project, it’s important for you to get to know the ideal completion date. Your translation partner will be able to estimate this date by analyzing the information you give them with regard to your file type, graphics, images, technical nature and word count. 

It’s important for you to know how it works. Truth is, the date your translation vendor gives you will be entirely based upon the information you provide them about such things as language combination and project volume.

More importantly, estimating your project scope will also be impacted by any specific requirements your project might need ─ a factor that changes on a case-by-case basis.

  • Translation Glossary

Before the actual document translation begins, you need to work with your translation services provider on creating a translation glossary. This step is especially important with big projects that involve a large amount of content. In this case, the entire translation process should start with creating a translation glossary to establish the project’s specific, technical terminology, which will be used all over the project.

The translation glossary development process comprises 3 steps. First, your translation provider would choose the terms and the project’s list of terms are translated. Then, the list of terms should be reviewed and approved by your in-country reviewer. If the reviewer has any objections to the proposed translations, he or she will suggest a different term, which then needs to be sent back to your translation provider, who must approve it. After 2 or 3 rounds, the proposed translations are often agreed upon by both you (the client) and your translation vendor.

It’s only then that the translation partner can start translating your content, after being armed to the teeth and equipped with a translation glossary that will smooth out the translation process and ensure consistent translations of the most common terms in your document. Importantly, this valuable glossary will also be used in future projects.

All in all, your commitment to preparing your content for translation will definitely pay off in the end, ensuring speed of delivery along with an accurate, effective translation.

Should you require professional translation and localization services that will empower your businesses to expand and thrive into the highly promising market of Latin America, contact us today so we may discuss how we can help you, or just get a free quote.