Easy Ways to Increase the Quality of Your Translations
Some suggested guidelines for client that will get them better quality – and faster – translation work.
I am guilty, I admit, of making these essays very translator-centric. High quality translation is my business, after all, and as such it’s only natural that I see it from the perspective of the translation worker, after all.
But it take two to dance, of course, and without my clients I wouldn’t have any translation work to do, so it pays for me to think of things from their point of view sometimes. I know that from the client’s point of view there are always three overriding concerns when it comes to document translation work: Cost, speed, and quality. In my experience there are plenty of ways that you can reduce costs, increase speed and get high quality translation all at the same time, and it all comes down to the old adage of Garbage-In, Garbage-Out. In other words, clients can help themselves by following these pieces of advice.
The more concise and clearly-written the source text is, the easier it will be for me and my colleagues to translate. That means faster work and less chance of mistaken comprehension. Taking the time to edit your source text down to shorter, simpler sentence structure not only means I have less text to translate and thus get through it more quickly, it also means that I don’t have to navigate dense grammar to figure out what is meant in the first place.
Avoid Jargon and Slang
I’m fluent in the target language of your document, and at least familiar with the subject matter, or you wouldn’t have hired me. That doesn’t mean I find it easy to work through jargon, which is often organisation-specific. If you refer to your product in peculiar ways, I’ll be at sea until I figure that out. Replace jargon and slang with simple, straightforward terms and I’ll work faster and more accurately.
Look for Redundancies
If an explanation of some concept is repeated ten times in ten different ways in the source document, I’ll dutifully translate it ten times and charge you for the time and effort. If you scan your document for such redundancy before delivering it, you’ll save money and time.
Context is vital. If your text refers to graphics, other texts, or concepts that are basic to your business or culture, help me out by providing these. A great example is web copy: A web page is usually partially defined and clarified by its format and layout. If I can see that, I can produce a much better translation.
Collaboration is important. If I can ask questions and run suggestions ‘up the flagpole’ for feedback, I can more quickly gain a true insight to the document and thus work better and smarter. Clients who disappear and only return to pick up the final document don’t get my best work, plain and simple.
Image courtesy evolllution.com