Working with a Translation Firm: 8 Tips for Success
Professional translators provide effective written communication between speakers of multiple languages. Hiring agencies to find qualified professional translators has become routine practice for many organisations. In fact, it has become a necessity to communicate successfully with diverse customers and constituents at home and worldwide.
There are several things your agency staff and translators wish you knew in advance to make their jobs easier. We want to ensure that you have a smooth partnership and productive project, so please read on to learn how to properly prepare for a translation project.
How to Successfully work with a Translator
1- Get Organised: Gather the project requirements prior to contacting the agency or translator. Without a complete scope of work, it is nearly impossible to evaluate the qualifications needed to deliver quality results. It is even more difficult to provide an accurate quote or project schedule. If possible, gather the following information:
a. Source and target languages: What language is the original document written in and what language(s) would you like it translated into?
b. Amount of content to be translated: Is it a social media post just a few words long or a book with many pages?
c. Delivery methods: How will the finished product be shared? Will you print it or provide it electronically? What format(s) will it be in? Report, social media, press release, brochure, flyer, banner or signage?
d. Target audience: Who are you hoping to reach with this content? Share the demographics and geographic locations of your audience. The same language can have many variations and dialects in different countries, so simply stating you want it translated from English to Spanish is not enough information.
e. Tone: What tone are you hoping to convey? The same information can be written in very different styles with different tones. For example, the content will be dramatically different if the target audience is young, urban and hip software developers versus baby boomer coders. A professional translator provides more than word for word translation. The ability to convey nuanced meaning comes out in the writing style and tone.
f. Subject Expertise: What vocabulary/jargon, laws or other technical requirements will your translator need to have to understand the source document completely? If your project requires specific industry or other subject matter expertise, it is a good idea to state that upfront. For example, if you are translating a French value added tax law into Arabic, a native Arabic professional translator with legal and/or accounting background would be best able to complete this task.
2- Brief & Explain: Be prepared to thoroughly brief your translator on unique company or industry jargon, metaphors, idiomatic or humorous expressions that your translator may not be familiar with in your source document. Explaining your intended meaning will help the translator accurately translate for your specific target audience.
3- Avoid Quick Turnarounds: The more time you can provide your translator the better. Project preparation, terminology research, proofreading and collaboration among the various service providers can take time. Rush jobs may require shortcuts that could impact the quality of the final product.
4- Communicate Often & Quickly: Always keep your translator or translation agency project manager informed. If there are any changes to the project requirements, everyone working on the project needs to know about it immediately.
5- Make Introductions: A translation project often requires collaboration between many parties. It is a good idea to introduce the translator to everyone on the team. This may include other contractors and vendors. For example, the translator may need to interact with your website developer, marketing agency, printer, social media manager or other departments in your organisation like accounting, legal and marketing contacts.
6- Trust your Translator: Qualified translators are skilled in languages, the profession of translation, cultures and often a specific subject matter. It is important to trust the experience of your translator to incorporate the nuanced meaning that is appropriate to the target audience. The translator most likely will know more about the cultural ramifications than you do.
7- Respect your Translator: Professional translators invest time and money in significant training, education, certifications, professional memberships and years of experience. Treating them like you treat your most valued professional service providers (attorney, accountant, consultant) will ensure a smooth and efficient partnership.
8- Show Appreciation: Translation projects are often an aside to the high-level campaign. Letting your translator know you appreciate their efforts to remain on-time and on-budget will help them feel a part of the overall goal. Remember, repeat business is the best compliment any service provider could receive.
Keeping these 8 translator success tips in mind will fast track your projects and produce higher-quality final deliverables.
If you would like more information about how our global translation services can benefit your organisation, get in touch with our team of dedicated professionals.