Simple and effective tips for anyone new to translation
Do you have some files that need to be translated fast? Are you new to the translation process?
We understand that venturing into a language project may feel like a daunting task. This is the precise reason why we have prepared some easy questions for you, which will help you gather the required information for your upcoming language project.
Collect the following project information:
1. Language and audience
Ideally, you should know which language you would like to translate into.
Why is this important? - This may sound obvious, but let's look at
an example: You have an English document in hand and you would like to have it translated into Spanish. There are many variations of the Spanish language: US Hispanic, Mexican Spanish, Argentinian Spanish, Latin American or Iberian Spanish, etc...
Secondly, inform the translation agency the purpose of the document and its target audience
Why is this important? – For example, if it is an advertisement or a marketing document, it will need to be trans-created rather than translated and that process requires specific skills and a translator with experienced in this specific area.
You should also know what type of document you would like to have translated. "PDF" is not really the answer we are looking for here!
A PDF file can be created from various file types so if you can provide detailed information on the original file format, it will be easier to create the quote. Format information such word document, Powerpoint, scanned document or perhaps InDesign. If you can, include a sample or the whole project when you email your quote request.
Why is it important? – Your files may need some preparation by the desktop publishing team (before and after the translation) and this will have an impact on the final quote. Very often formatting is needed after translation as translated Spanish text takes approximately 25% more space than the English version. Your translation agency should be able to take care of that!
It is essential for the translator to have a precise idea of the length of your project in words. Don’t worry if you don’t have it. Just send the original documents to your agency and they will do the word count for you.
Why is it important? – Most of the translation projects are quoted on a per word basis. So a 50 page PowerPoint presentation with 3000 words will have the same cost as a 2 page word document with 3000 words.
Note that there might be a difference in the final quote depending on the time needed by the designers to prepare and present the final versions in order to guarantee the same look on both versions.
Ideally you should know your timeline and be able to give an estimate of when you need the documents translated for. Your translator will be able to let you know if it is possible within your timeframe.
Why is it important? – When the translation is done by human linguists (as opposed to machine translation), they translate an average of 3,000 words per day. Of course, this will depend on the complexity of the original file but then the files will be reviewed by a separate linguist for revision and/or proofreading. So you will need to bare this in mind when preparing some translations projects.
By using translation memories, more than one translator can work on the same project at the same time but ideally it is better to keep this number to a minimum in order to guarantee consistency and the general flow of the translated text.
5. Additional information
If possible, you should also gather all the supporting material that goes along with your project, such as photos, tables, graphics and logos.
Why is it important? – If your document contains images with text, the designers will need the originals to be able to substitute the text in one language and replace it by its translation. Once this is done for all the images, they will re-insert them in the final translated document.
You will also need to forward any translation memories or your company’s glossaries if you have some.
Why is it important? – Nowadays, translators use specific translation tools such as translation memories and other software that assist them in their work. It allows them to create a memory for similar projects of the same clients that not only improves quality and overall consistency but also reduces translation turn-arounds, specifically for technical translations. The memory, property of the client, is then passed on to the client at the moment of the final delivery.
All these items will help your translation manager get a better understanding of the scope of your project and better serve you and your company!
6. Contact your translation agency
The next step is to make contact with your translation agency and speak to a Project Manager. If this is your first contact with the translation company, you will be allocated a Project Manager who will be dealing directly with all your future projects.
The Project Manager should ask you all the above questions in order to assess your project. It is a bad sign if they don't ask questions!
Depending on the deadlines, the size and the complexity of the original documents, the project manager should give you a quote for the job as well as an estimated delivery date.
7. Evaluate the quote
This last step is actually the easiest and probably the most important one. You will need to decide whether or not you want to go ahead with your translation quote.
This will most certainly depend on 3 factors: Quality – Price – Speed
- Are you happy with their handling of your primary request?
- Were they quick to respond to your emails?
- Does the quote correspond to your budget?
- Does the deadline fit within your project?
- Does the translation agency has clients’ testimonials on its website or company profile?
- Are they ISO certified?
- Do they offer revision and/or proofreading by a separate linguist in their standard rate?
Once you have made a decision, your agency staff will guide you through the final part translation process and they will make sure you are comfortable with all the steps up until the final delivery of your files and the reception of your invoice.
I hope you have found this 7 step guide helpful and if you have any further questions or require additional technical information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing your comments or questions.
About Ocean Translations:
Ocean Translations is Argentina's first language service provider for English / Spanish and Portuguese translations and multilingual DTP.