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With a Little Help From Our…Clients

If you were my client and were looking to translate a technical manual, literature, financial content, marketing collateral, architectural documents…-Well, you get the point!-, I might ask you for some reference material.   What is reference material?: Previously translated material, or any other content that translators can use as a style guide or a reference. This can turn into a great way to ensure that your project will be translated correctly and most importantly, in the specific way you need it.

The idea of this entry is to discuss the gray line between translations that are of poor quality versus a translation that is done without the proper tools.

The quality of a translation’s outcome can be dependent upon several variables.  The most obvious reason of a poor translation is because the translator does not have the appropriate knowledge of the language or a very specific subject, or even the conceptual idea behind the original message.  In this regard, keep in mind that the translator is usually a native of the target language and not the source.

The other side of the equation is when the translator is not provided with the right tools, which can turn his or her job to a guessing game rather than a professional translation.  This guessing game can mean that there is specific terminology that is commonly used or preferred whether in the industry or companywide.  Additionally, it could be that some terms or phrases are more accepted than others depending on the target audience or dialect.   Therefore, what is sometimes seen as a translator’s lack of capabilities or understanding of the content is simply one’s personal preferences or lack of a proper guide.

If the content of the document you’re looking to have translated is technical or has several points that might leave our translators guessing, there are two easy solutions that can help rectify the situation so both parties win: reference material and/or a glossary.

Reference material can be any previously translated material that is similar in content and/or style. A glossary is a list of terms selected by either you as the client or our Content Management department. It aids the translators with consistency and accuracy during the translation and editing steps.  If the glossary is not selected by the client, it can be created by our professionals for the client’s approval.  While glossary creation can take extra time that converts into additional costs, the payoffs can be invaluable, especially for future projects.

We all prefer successful results opposed to headaches and problems. The goal of this blog entry is to create transparency between the translation agency’s processes and the end-client.   There is a common misconception that a mistranslation is the result of using translators that are lacking in knowledge or skills.  When using a professional translation agency, this is generally not the case.  Sometimes we just need a little help.