More than ever, companies are expanding to new countries and territories. That often requires a completely new approach to the native language. It means translating complicated documents such as manuals or business plans. Translating your essential documents will open up a new world of opportunity. However, you must get this simple translation stage right. Each language has its unique subtleties, and a poor translation could misinterpret your entire business. We specialise in technical translation and we’ve picked up some tips over the years. Here’s how to make sure your project runs smoothly.
1. Find a specialist agency
Different technical translators have different skills. When it comes to complex or dense material, you need a translator with specialist experience. If you’re translating legal document, for example, you need a legal expert. The wording could quickly lose its meaning under an inexperienced translator. Speak carefully to your translation agency, and ensure they have experience in your field.
2. Define the target audience
You’ll get a much smoother translation when you discuss the target audience in advance. The linguistic nuances change dramatically according to the target audience. For example, some countries use a formal and informal system. If you’re translating a legal or financial document, you certainly don’t want the informal wording. The target audience also helps define the tone of the translation. Remember, this isn’t about simple word-for-word translation. A good project will also translate the entire tone and communication of the document.
3. Outline the overall purpose and direction
As we said, this isn’t about word-for-word translation. A good agency will look to understand the entire scope and purpose of the document. They’ll take a big-picture approach, and use the translation to encompass the whole document. You can help the process along by defining this from the outset. Give them a clear understanding of the end goal, and how this translation fits into your overall business model.
4. Communicate throughout the project
A good project always requires communication from day one. A translation is a crucial piece of work, and there should be lots of questions. A regular dialogue is essential between the two agencies. It’s a good idea to appoint one point-person to communicate with the translation agency. It’s easier to direct all communication through one person. There should also be regular contact to keep track of progress, and make sure questions are answered. A good translation agency will ask a lot of questions, so make sure you have all the answers!
5. Proofreading and quality control
Most technical translation agencies will have an in-house proofreading system. However, it’s always worth sending the translated document to an independent proofreader. That way you get a second opinion, and ensure the document is faultless. By doing this, you can ensure the translation conveys the same in both languages. You can check the tone, and make any changes as necessary.
Follow this advice and your technical translation project should run smoothly. If you’d like to know more about technical translation, get in touch with one of our experts.