They say prior preparation prevents poor performance. This especially applies to translation: the process and the outcome can be much improved if the content was prepared with translation in mind. Selecting the right translation company is an important ingredient. Taking a few extra steps to ensure the source copy is translation-ready is equally important. A well-prepared source text will not only reduce costs by making it easier to translate, it will enable consistency in both the tone and message.
Step #1: Basic Proofreading
Basic does not mean quick and easy; basic means that this is the most fundamental, non-negotiable step. Review the source text for typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling. Beyond that, make sure the sentences are clear and concise and in consistent voice, tense, and gender. You have to start off with grammatically correct content to get an accurate translation.
Step #2: Your Voice, Your Style
Communicating in a consistent manner will help you build meaningful relationships with your customers. The fact of the matter is once you’ve engaged an audience, there are certain expectations in the way you communicate that make it a genuine experience. An inconsistent voice is at best hard to read and at worst does not inspire loyalty. Collect the essence of your company’s tone, messages, and vocabulary in a translation style guide – just like you would prepare for an ad agency. It is important to brief your translation provider with this information when you commission the translation.
Establish a consistent format, develop key messages, and create a glossary of frequently used terms. It can really pay off. You will benefit from a smooth, seamless, and cost-effective translation process.
Step #3: Simple is Good
Unnecessarily complex language, such as jargon and idiomatic expressions, may get lost in translation. Sports analogies don’t translate, for example. Write in short, declarative sentences in the active voice. Sentences with multiple subjects or meandering prose may be extremely time-consuming or even impossible for the translator to accurately recreate. This ultimately effects the turnaround time and price of the translation.
It goes without saying that working with a trusted and respected translation provider is an essential element for an effective translation process. These simple upfront steps will save you a lot of headaches and enable a smooth translation project.