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6 ways to maintain high-quality translations

The demand for commercial translation services has never been higher. Following a predictable dip during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, global demand for translations has been on the rise over 2021. 

Translated dictionary

The demand for commercial translation services has never been higher. Following a predictable dip during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, global demand for translations has been on the rise over 2021.  While the steady increase in demand for document translation provides many opportunities, it also increases risk, as demand threatens to outstrip supply, and timescales and budgets become stretched thin.

It can be difficult, (particularly when you aren’t fluent in one or more of the languages in question) to ascertain whether a high standard of translation is being maintained across all the jobs you commission. So, to help you consistently achieve high-quality translation, we’ve put together six invaluable tactics to ensure you maintain the very highest quality standard at all times. 

Ready to improve your translation process? Take the next step here!

 

List of Six Ways to Maintain High-quality Translations

1. Ensure the Source Text is of Sufficient Quality 

You’ll save time, energy, and the possibility of errors when you ensure your source material is correctly spelt, fully grammatical, and polished to a high sheen. Avoid going from a first draft straight into translation and you’ll speed up the translator’s task since they’ll avoid tiresome hours of interpretation and guesswork.

Provide a glossary if you can for any especially technical terms which recur in your translations. This will save the translator from having to pore through obscure sources for unusual words and phrases.

If you’re translating an existing document, it may be worth looking at other similar documents that have already been translated into English. You could use these as examples of what is acceptable or not. It would also be useful to know whether this translation is going to be used by non-native speakers of English. If so, then you should aim to provide some guidance on how they might understand certain words/phrases in a glossary of terms.

 Benefits:

  • Saves time
  • Accurate translation
  • Quality improvement

 

2. Clarify House Style and Tone

Provide a style guide so that your translator knows what works and doesn’t for your brand. The tone of voice is vital, and it may change from region to region, depending on cultural factors, so it’s useful to spell this out in advance, particularly if it’s not obvious from the original source. 

House style is important too. Think of the hip, semi-serious approach taken by IKEA to most of its communications. Imagine how necessary it must have been to explain IKEA’s brand persona to new overseas markets in South-East Asia or Russia, for instance.  Idiomatic density will likely be higher if you’re writing ‘streetwise’ product descriptions designed for an eCommerce site, than if you’re translating an annual report. 

Benefits:

  • Saves time
  • Quality improvement
  • Better targeted results 

 

3. Prioritise the Target Language

If there’s not enough time for translation, then concentrate more on understanding the meaning behind each word rather than checking everyone against the original text. Few translations need to be accurate word-for-word (with some exceptions, including legal documents). Think of the purpose to which the translation will be put and whether the final translation copy fulfils those goals and expectations. Has anything important been missed? Have local idioms been used which are commonly understood by the target market?

There is a range of technological solutions which can aid the process of effective translation, and these should be used where they prove helpful. Tools may include spell-checkers, grammatical analysis, and specialist, interactive glossaries. There are even collaborative translation libraries that save time by calling up common words and phrases.

Benefits:

  • Enhanced workflow
  • Accurate translation
  • Better targeted results

 

4. Provide Necessary Context and Use Cases

Make sure your translator is familiar with how the copy will be utilised. Provide background and links to existing examples, where possible. The more your translator gets to know the purpose of the copy, and its intended audience, the more appropriate the results will be. 

Depending on relevant use cases, you may want to specify the degree of localisation or transcreation that needs to be applied. If the translator can supply a wholly different metaphor or turn of phrase appropriate to the intended audience, that may fulfil the brief better than a literal translation.

Benefits: 

  • Improved communication
  • Better creativity
  • Better targeted results

 

5. Make Time for Translator Training

It may be both necessary and desirable to prime your translator to work with a brand that has a very unique approach, or a client who prefers a specific workflow. Whether it’s specialised training for an industry in which they lack expertise or a market with unique requirements, training can be key.

If you’re using a specific translation platform, make sure your translators have had plenty of time to become familiar with it. Provide support with any of the less intuitive features.  Another thing that may prove useful is to give them a local contact – a native speaker of the target language who is familiar with specifics of the culture and market that the translator may not appreciate.

Benefits:

  • Translator goodwill
  • Accurate translation
  • Enhanced workflow

 

6. Provide Reasonable Deadlines and Process Management

Two external considerations to plan for are timescale and personnel. There need to be well-defined and reasonable deadlines and clear lines of communication. Ensure you have a project manager with sufficient capacity to oversee the task and liaise with your translator. 

Build-in time within your workflow for sufficient iterations, making sure that all necessary stakeholders are included. It’s good practice to ensure that whoever reads through the translator on your side is a native speaker of that language, and ideally one familiar with the target market. 

At the very least, the second pair of objective eyes should be employed to make sure the translation is clear. This could be someone who hasn’t seen the original text since what matters most is that your final product is clear, concise, and successful.

 Benefits

  • Improved communication
  • Enhanced Workflow
  • Quality Improvement

 

How LEXIGO Can Help to achieve high-quality translation

Using these translation techniques can improve both the overall quality and consistency of your translations. For a smooth translation process, give yourself some extra time to become familiar with the source material before starting to translate. To effectively translate content from English into another language, communicate openly between the translator and the client. This way, expectations will be clear! If you set clear expectations for each party, they’ll be able to agree on an outcome. 

We love challenges, and no job is too difficult. Use our new and improved quote tool today to get a quick price for your translation job! 


Written by Sophia Dickinson, LEXIGO: Sophia is a writer and communications consultant with 10 years’ experience in the public service and not-for-profit sectors. She has also taught English in France and spent a year working at a local NGO in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is passionate about writing, intercultural communication and languages (she speaks French, Indonesian and is learning Spanish). Read more about her experiences here.