Steps to Organize Your Translation Process (Part I)

If you have always wanted to have a guide about how to organize yourself when it comes to translating, you can’t miss this post! Here’s the first part of the list with important tips:

1. Make sure you have all the necessary reference material at hand, such as good dictionaries and glossaries.

2. Making effective use of time: do not spend all your time translating. Leave some time for editing, and never deliver a translation without having previously reviewed it.

3. Highlight words to be looked up. Then, you can look them up at the same time so as to not be constantly interrupting the translation process. You should first look up the words you don’t know in a monolingual dictionary given that you cannot translate a word you don’t understand. Afterward, you can look for potential translations in your trusted resources.

4. Proper nouns deserve an investigation phase of their own. You should make sure that the names of the people mentioned are spelled correctly (never believe that just because it’s in the original text, that means it’s correct). The same goes for geographic names, historical movements, time periods, and so on.

5. Do not get stuck on words you are having a hard time translating. It’s better to leave a provisional translation (that you may highlight with a different color, for instance, green) and then come back to that word later, when you will probably have more context, which will help you reach the desired translation. Never leave blank spaces, question marks, X’s or other marks that may easily go unnoticed when you are making your final delivery (which under pressure, always seem to play hide and seek).

6. Translate by levels of difficulty: if you find that certain paragraphs are easier, you should start with those. There is no single way of doing a translation and thus, it doesn’t have to be linear. You can even skip parts that are difficult and go straight to the end of the text and work a bit more on that section, if that can shed some light on the topic. Again, your goal is to never leave anything blank or incomplete, so as soon as you have finished with the easier layers of the text, you can move on to the more complex ones.

If you would like to get additional tips, do not miss the next post!

(Versión en español: