We believe that translation is as much an art as a science. However, there are key elements that all professional translations will include as part of the magic formula. We thought that for professionals just getting their first translation completed, and in the interest of openness, it is worth outlining our 10 essential steps to create the perfect translation.
So, keep reading to learn how our translators put together your translation when you commission us.
Using words concisely is important in any type of writing. One translation objective is to use as few words as necessary to communicate the meaning from the original text. Why use four words when one will convey the same meaning? A useful rule of thumb when you’re writing any text is to keep sentences at a maximum length of around 20 words. This will improve comprehension and readability. Translators create punchy sentences by excluding excess information that doesn’t carry across any important nuance. Reading a sentence out loud will help a translator notice and eliminate unnecessary words or phrases.
Precision means knowing the difference between “there” and “their”. English and other languages have many homonyms – words with different spellings and meanings which sound the same. Also, some languages use genders, ensuring these are used correctly can be the difference between an authentic translation and a text that reads poorly. We’re highly confident in the precision of our translations, which is why we offer a quality guarantee on all projects.
A common misconception about translators is that they always work alone. This is true in some respects. However, at various points in a project translators collaborate with a wider team. Our team includes project managers, whose role it is to ensure client satisfaction. Translators work closely with project managers throughout a project lifecycle, particularly at its inception and brief, to ensure we meet your needs and our quality process ensures the final output is accurate, consistent and always meets the needs of your audience.
4. Avoid colloquialisms
As a general rule, it is best to avoid colloquialisms and slang. This is because slang, metaphors or regional sayings may not always be understood by a wide audience.
With every general rule, however, there are exceptions. If you are trying to appeal to a very specific region or audience, then regional sayings or metaphors may attract your audience.
5. Consider formatting
Remember that English is a relatively concise language. Source English words and sentences are often shorter than their counterparts following a translation. Translators (and clients) should bear in mind that up to 35 per cent more space is needed online and in marketing materials following a translation from English. Consider German; this language frequently uses long compound words such as, “Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften”, meaning an insurance company providing legal protection.
6. Use one term for complex ideas
Be consistent. Synonyms are essential in fiction writing – they add variety and a depth of meaning. However, when translating non-fiction choosing one term to describe a concept helps to avoid any confusion. Furthermore, it simplifies the process and allows greater use of translation memory – a key tool used by translators to save time and reduce the cost of your project!
7. Perfect grammar
It should go without saying that any translation must be impeccable, avoiding any spelling or grammar errors. Our fast and accurate translations are primed to help you find success in international markets.
When you take advantage of our translation services we’ll show an understanding of your challenge, whether it is technical, marketing or contractual. We’ll always match your project with a translator who is a subject matter expert and has the skills to replicate the source style in your target language.
9. Use the right tools
As mentioned, translation memory makes translations more accurate and consistent, as well as reducing costs. Essentially, translation memory is a database containing previously translated words and phrases for your company, saving the translator time and ensuring superior output.
10. Specialised knowledge
Translation isn’t just a linguistic challenge; the context of an industry or subject matter is absolutely essential. With almost 20 years of experience, our teams of translators are often post graduates in the specific subject you’re translating in your industry, alongside being language specialists too. We have wide-ranging sector experience across a variety of industries. From manufacturing to financial services to biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, we can rise to any challenge. We have translated 72 million words for 1,370 customers since 2003. Check out our reviews on Trustpilot to see why our customers keep coming back.