What Should We Keep in Mind During a Multilingual Translation?

A multilingual translation requires special attention. Once a translation is required in 3 or more languages, the process should change.

The first step is reviewing the document and making sure that the document sent is the final one. Should there be an update in the content after the translation has begun, client must keep in mind that the cost of this will be multiplied in as many languages as the document is being translated into and this can become an issue if the budget is limited.

Another inconvenience that these translations can present is a delay in deadlines. Translators manage multiple projects at the same time and the project’s timeline can be affected when one translator runs late and this delay is in conflict with the editor’s schedule.

In large projects, a day of planning can help avoid 4-5 days of delay caused by an unplanned and unorganized timeline.  If a document is being translated into 24 languages, we must take into account, at least 24 translators, at least 24 calls, or at least 24 emails to people who can be in different time zones and who we hope are available, but we have no guarantee of. If a translator is not available, by the time we hear from them we might find ourselves already one day late into our timelines.

Another thing to keep in mind is also the different “flavors” or dialects requested. Flavors referring to a specific country or region the document will be directed to, as different countries may speak the same language but have a few particularities to them that may need to be reflected, per client’s request. An example being, something translated into Spanish can vary significantly if being read by a Spaniard in Europe or by a Latin American, something into Portuguese might need to be read in Portugal or Brazilian Portuguese, and French can also be a Canadian, African or French flavor. Additionally, if 2 different flavors are requested for the same language, translation from scratch will be required in some cases, whereas some may just need a localization which will help keep costs down.

It is due to these different factors that a multilingual translation requires detailed planning and organization and cannot be treated or processed in the same way a translation into only, say Japanese, or Hungarian, or Turkish.

To read the original version of this article in Spanish, visit: ¿Qué debe tenerse en cuenta para una traducción multilingüe?