Tips on how to improve the translation process: tools, software and general ideas on how to make it better

September 11th, 2013

Translation is a rewarding though sometimes wearisome test: whereas a bad translation is remembered a good one remains unnoticed and invisible. This entry will do its best to discuss on a very straightforward manner some tips and advices on how to make translation easier, more accurate, and overall successful. These words assume we are addressing translators with previous knowledge and practice, possessing basic/average IT skills.

The translator should read and understand the text he/she are about to work on.ve-the-translation - process Therefore, good reading skills are fundamental to grasp all the fine nuances and tones of meaning a document might include. Professional translators will explore texts and use all the tools available, which takes us to another important: research.

The responsible translator with a solid ethical background will not “guess” meanings or presuppose ideas. The correct procedure is to research and acquire relevant information to complete the translation project with the highest quality standards possible. The terminological accuracy of the final text will not only depend on research but also on the proficiency of the translator while using available resources, such as specialty magazines and white papers, but also terminological databases and discussion forums.

As a matter of fact the right move seems to approach online resources and tap their value, while at the same time curbing recession and decreasing costs with software and other IT resources. Just to give the reader an idea of what can be achieved in terms of productivity one must be aware of computer-assisted translation (CAT) systems or translation memories which are designed to eliminate unnecessary human intervention so as to save significant time and money without sacrificing quality. OmegaT and Anaphraseus are two open source software solutions which recognize segments that are approximately identical, and alert the translator by marking the elements that differ from the memorized segment. Particularly where texts have a high degree of repetition (change of modal or machine series etc), translation memories can save a substantial amount of money and effort for professional translators. But if the reader wishes to know more about free and open source software and online-based resources for translators please check our mind-blowing blog entry about this subject.

A serious advice that we didn’t get from anyone is validation, especially when sensitive contents require specialized proof-reading as part of an organized validation cycle. Communication with the client is paramount in validation of concepts and associated words. Once again accuracy depends on professionalism and commitment; when the client is not aware of the intricacies of the translator’s task and complexity communication must fill in any gaps. When possible the translator should follow the creation of contents in order to avoid situations where the translation becomes entangled with restraints created by flash or video media, for instance.

If someone asked me what advice I would offer to anyone already in the trade (novice or full-fledged professional), I would say “get online and go global”, resources are there and both career and projects certainly benefit from all the networking one can build.

You might also like: