A Few Words

Optimizing Performance From Your In-House Translation Team

Posted by Troy Helm on Mar 21, 2016 1:44:28 PM

images-1-1.jpegMany globally active companies have internal translation resources ranging from in-country reviewers to internal translation teams. There are many advantages to having dedicated language resources, including their intimate knowledge of the company’s style, voice, technical terminology – all which help protect their brand around the world. As with any form of vertical integration there are tradeoffs with scalability, cost-efficiency, speed, and possibly not having the best-in-class tools and processes that specialist firms offer.  To make sure you are getting the best from your internal resources and in particular, preventing all of your knowledge from “walking out the door every night,” here are a few tips and best practices.

Some companies find themselves facing sudden demand for localized versions of their products, marketing materials, manuals, website, or other content. Often, they locate someone within the company that speaks the needed language – and the in-house translation team is born. Since this person may not be a trained translator, some of the basics might be overlooked. Creating and maintaining a company Glossary and Style Guide formalizes and codifies language choices that the translator (and any future translators) may make and ensures vital consistency for internal terms-of-art and nomenclature.

Carpenter-Tools3.jpgSimilarly, the use of modern Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools might be overlooked. We don’t mean Machine Translation (MT), but instead a translator’s workbench that provides a streamlined environment to perform translation and automatically applies the company glossary for consistency. It also uses Translation Memory (TM) which automatically recycles previously translated sentences and helps suggest translations for similar phrases. A basic CAT tool provides great benefit for quality, speed, and internal-cost savings – your internal translator should not be spending time (and money) translating the same sentence over and over – a common situation for documentation and website revisions.

An added benefit of working with CAT tools is it helps establish best practices for translation process. For example, they encourage more robust import/export routines for software (external resource files), websites (XML), and documentation instead of the trap of using an Excel spreadsheet for translated strings or error-prone cut/paste into page layout software.

Internal teams bring valuable continuity and unmatched company/product knowledge to the translation process. However, when faced with large volumes of translation and tight deadlines, it’s very difficult for them to exceed the typical throughput of 2,500 words per day - that's only about 10 pages of text. While they might be able to reach higher productivity levels for short periods, without a second set of eyes to check the translation the potential for simple human error creeps in. For larger volumes of translation work, consider partnering with a professional translation services firm. Since you will have an established glossary, style guide, and translation memory, these will help with consistency and quality. For many clients, their original internal translators become “language leads,” responsible for review, answering language-specific questions, and otherwise maintaining the company’s language intellectual property investment. (For more tips, see “Making the most of In-Country Review”)

It is a luxury to have internal translation resources. By using simple best practices of a Glossary, Style Guide, and CAT tools, your firm can adapt to increases in volumes and languages more efficiently. Partnering with a professional translation provider is a way to bring scale – and can also provide benchmark metrics for cost-efficiency (words/day of output/dollar) with the benefit of fully variable costs. Some firms may let your internal teams use their CAT tools bringing you the best of both worlds. Let us know how we can help you get the most from your in-house team, we'd be happy to share our experiences.

Topics: Best Business Practices

Getting the Most From Your eLearning & Training Investments

Posted by Annette Heidrich on Oct 15, 2015 10:06:00 AM

“The World is Flat,” declared Thomas Friedman in his 2005 examination of global business and competition. He said that through technology such as social media and ecommerce, the business world is experiencing globalization at hyper speed. The World Trade Organization bears this out: in 1980 there were 27,000 multinational corporations. There are 128,000 today.

When a company expands internationally, they face new challenges training their global workforce. Even for domestic-only companies, there are 41 million native Spanish speakers living in the U.S. among a growing number of other foreign language speakers.
In the recent U.S. Census, 24% of those that speak another language at home admit to speaking English “not well” or “not well at all." Since it is difficult to divulge this in the workplace, it has become a business imperative to conduct employee training in multiple languages.

HR, Talent and Learning consulting firm Bersin by Deloitte has found that top-performing companies allocate more money to talent development than other companies. Bersin calls them “high-impact learning organizations,” and they reap the benefits of investing in training and development by financially outperforming their peers. They produce profit growth three times that of their competitors (Bersin, 2012).

Today, the best way to make employee training engaging is with eLearning platforms such as Moodle, Edmodo or Blackboard. But to maximize the value of this investment – and more importantly to ensure that health and safety information is quickly and completely learned – delivering employee communication in the language of the workforce is essential.

eLearning course content translation can be complex. There are difficult challenges, such as the need to quickly translate high volumes of content, often in multiple types of file formats (such as Flash, XML, and other multimedia formats). Voice-over content needs to be transcribed and re-recorded or edited down for subtitling. Then all localized components must be smoothly integrated back into the eLearning environment.

Our deep experience with eLearning platforms and related technologies ensures a smooth localization process and high-quality results. We want to make sure that all of your employees receive the same benefit and value that the best employee training provides. Elanex delivers eLearning localization services to enable your organization to respond effectively to the exponential growth of the non-English speaking world. Contact us today to learn more.

Topics: Localization, Employee Communication and HR, Best Business Practices

Making the Most of In-Country Review

Posted by Agnieszka Ostrowska on Oct 8, 2015 10:47:00 AM

in-country-reviewMany organizations rely on “in-country” reviewers to check translations before release. Since no one knows the subject matter, tone, and content better than someone in the company, this is a valuable step for any translation project. However, many reviewers are doing this as an additional task, and just because they are bilingual does not mean they automatically understand the role. Here are some best practices for getting the most from your reviewer and keeping your translation project on time and on budget.

 “The translation is bad”

Too often, reviewers operate without receiving instruction on what feedback is required. Since writing style and phrasing are subjective, “translation quality” is difficult to define, so one person’s poetry can be another person’s poison. Frequently, when reviewers don’t like the style (or even the original source content), they edit heavily and share their opinion that the translation is “bad” or “wrong”. The challenge for the reviewer is to understand the role, which is to confirm that the translation meets the agreed standards they helped to establish. This will create a repeatable and scalable process. 

Establishing standards – for language and reviewers

The saying, “prior preparation prevents poor performance” is especially relevant for translation projects. Here are some suggestions to establish clear expectations with your in-country review team:

  • All in-country reviewers should be briefed in advance on the purpose, scope, and style choices made for the source-language content.

  • In-country reviewers should approve the project translation glossary and style guides in advance of translation.

  • Consider establishing consistent “error” categories (e.g. Accuracy, Language Standards, Readability, and Compliance) and severity levels (e.g. Major, Medium, Minor, and Preferential). Your translation vendor should have a standard quality scoring procedure they can share with you.

  • Introduce the reviewers to your translation vendor, who will share additional briefing points and provide a language liaison to discuss language-related issues.

  • In-country reviewers should be briefed on the project schedule and know when their efforts will be required and for how long. Respecting project milestones will help the translation vendor keep your project on schedule.

  • For larger volumes of work, the translation vendor should provide the in-country reviewers with a preview of the work product (“first page translation”) to get feedback and guidance before the main translation is started.

The review process

Now the process is in motion – translated content has been delivered by your translation vendor and your in-country reviewers sit down to work. First, consider that the role of a professional translator is to express the meaning of the source content accurately and completely in the target language, as though it had been written by a native-speaker. Unless specifically asked, they will not add to or subtract from the content. This guideline applies equally well to your in-country review team. With that in mind, here are some best practices for your in-country reviewers:

  • In-country reviewers should understand that the purpose is collaborative fine-tuning of the translation — they are not being asked to edit the entire translation.

  • In-country reviewers should be aware of the various types of changes they might recommend:

    • Company-specific terminology (this should be communicated as an update to the project glossary).

    • Company-specific “voice” — phrasing that is unique to the company and supports its brand (this should be communicated as an update to the style guide).

    • Correct misrepresentation of the source text by the translation team.

    • Correct objective errors (grammatical, typographical, etc.) — these should not happen, but in the event that they do, the translation vendor should correct them immediately and at no charge.
  • In-country reviewers should also know what not to do:

    • Minor changes based on the personal preferences of the reviewer that do not fall into the categories above. These should be avoided as they add to cost and increase the likelihood of project delay. Personal preferences cannot be codified in the style guide, so they are not repeatable for subsequent translations.

    • They should not re-write the content to fit their view of how the source should have been written (you might be surprised at how common this is). Their job is to review the translation against the source document and verify it meets the company’s objective standards.

    • If your internal team changes mid-project or a different in-country/native-speaker reviews the final work product, make sure they are provided with the same instructions and reference materials used by the original reviewer. Otherwise, they may lose valuable time making suggestions that are not consistent with the instructions.
  • Post-project

    • If edits to the work product are made after the translation vendor has delivered, it is important that those changes be provided to the vendor so that translation the memory database can be updated, keeping future translations consistent. This helps lower your long-term translation costs, maintains quality, and helps reduce turnaround time. 

Having the resources of an in-country review team is a valuable asset for any translation project. Establishing clear expectations for roles and responsibilities – the ground rules – can help keep your projects on schedule and on budget and reduce unnecessary iterations that consume precious time. It also produces good quality, consistent translation and a rewarding experience for the translation team. Elanex is happy to share best practices with you, including our matrix of translation error categories and severity, which you can download by clicking this button:

Get the Errors Chart 

Let us know
 if we can help you further. We're here for you. 

Topics: Best Business Practices, Translation Basics

5 Tips for Choosing a Translation Service Provider

Posted by Donald J. Plumley, CEO on Jun 18, 2015 2:55:00 PM

Internet_dogMore than 20 years ago, cartoonist Peter Steiner created one of the most famous New Yorker cartoons of all time.  It features two dogs in an office, one sitting at a computer. The caption reads: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

Steiner’s cartoon is still relevant today.  With so much business conducted without meeting face to face, it’s hard to know whom you’re actually working with.   This is especially true when it comes to translation services. The barriers to entry to put up a website and market translation services are very low. On top of that, customers can rarely directly judge the quality of services, as it is unlikely they can read the finished product.

If you’re in the market for translation services, here are five things to consider before selecting a company to trust with your brand.

Can They Meet Your Needs?

Both you and your provider must be crystal clear on what you want to achieve. Website localization from English to Chinese for a consumer goods company and translation of contracts and financial records for M&A due diligence are two completely different situations and both require a knowledge-set far beyond just the languages. Ensuring that your business and project requirements are aligned with the capabilities of your translation service provider is critical to creating a long-lasting partnership.

images-1-1Should You Rely on a Test Translation?

Most translation service providers are happy to perform short test translations for potential clients as a way to demonstrate the quality of their work. Test translations, however, aren’t always the best predictor of capability or long-term translation quality. On one hand, you run the risk that the translation company will spend much more time on your test than with the real work that follows. On the other hand, a one-time test doesn’t show what a company is capable of once they have set up a customized team and process to handle your specific need.

Furthermore, since language is subjective, you should offer guidelines to translators before the test. If available, provide examples of translations in the tone and style you (or your reviewer) prefer. Prepare a glossary of key terminology. Be clear on your objectives for the test. Are you looking for a highly literal translation or one adapted to the specific market and customer?

Given a one-shot opportunity to impress, it should not be a surprise that the translator carefully selected to perform the test may not be on the team that ultimately does the work. Instead, ask about the linguists who will be assigned to your project. Are they subject-matter experts or are they just generalists? What kind of processes and checks does the company use to insure a consistent level of quality and performance? What happens if the volume is much larger than one translator can handle alone?

Does the Company Have a Quality Control Process?

Since the quality of a translation can be highly subjective, there are techniques a company can use to consistently meet your expectations. Will they use a glossary and style guide?  How are translators selected and evaluated? Will an editor (a qualified linguist) review each sentence of each document or are they just proofreading or spot-checking? Do they stand behind their work with a warranty?


It is a rare situation where cost is not carefully scrutinized. Given that there is surprising variability in prices for translation services, does a low price mean good value or low quality? The unit of pricing is typically by the source word. This price is dependent upon the process, the skills of the translators and editors – the price is higher for complex or unusual subjects – and the amount of additional services required. With pricing that is “too good to be true,” the maxim caveat emptor applies. Regardless of price, make sure that the quote is fully inclusive. Does it include a separate editorial review process? Project management time? What about the time to format the final document or review the webpage in final form to make sure the translated text displays properly? If the price is really low, are they using machine translation and asking a translator to fix only the egregious errors?

Speed and Ease of Translation

Meeting deadlines is a principal concern for companies and should be one of the main areas of discussion with any potential translation provider. It is fundamental for translators to translate efficiently, reliably and on-time. A timeframe for completion should be clearly agreed at the very beginning of any project.

In summary, finding the right translation provider and a capable team of linguists that can reliably deliver high-quality translation can be a daunting task. By considering the tips mentioned above, your company will soon be on the right track to build partnership with the right translation service firm that can meet and exceed your company’s needs and goals. 


Topics: Best Business Practices, Translation Basics

Why is the Translation So Expensive? Understanding and Reducing Cost

Posted by Troy Helm on May 13, 2015 10:11:00 AM

Free online translation services like Google Translate or Bing have opened eyes to the value and importance of translation. They also make it difficult for consumers to understand the costs associated with professional translation.  Simply put, “Why should I pay for something that I can get for free?”

imagesHere’s the thing, when it comes to communicating with your customers, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

We’ve all seen examples of regrettable translations – many from low cost products produced in other countries or as tourists (see engrish.com for a good laugh). Good laughs aside, what does it say about how the company values their customers when they communicate with them so poorly? More importantly, there are business risks with unclear translation of manuals or instructions. That’s where professional translators come in – despite advances in technology they remain the essential ingredient to successful communication in other languages.

Translation is a profession, one that requires more than simply being bilingual.  Professional translators are highly educated and trained. They are also subject-matter specialists. They have an advanced understanding of both the language and the subject. In the same way that you could not easily explain an article about something you did not have any experience with, a translator can only translate a topic fluidly when they deeply understand the terminology and how it is used in their language.

Why is it expensive? Professional translators translate about 2,500 words per day -- about 10 pages at 250 words per page. Once you consider a fair skilled wage (which varies by where the translator lives and by their expertise), cost for the editor, cost for project management, markup by the translation company for the technology/infrastructure, absorbing capacity variation, currency fluctuations and international payments, and a modest operating income, prices of $0.15 – 0.25 per word reasonably adds up. With this in mind, it is clear why one should be wary of a rate that seems too good to be true.  With professional translation, there is a reasonable correlation to “you get what you pay for.” Maybe those translators live in a low-cost part of the world, but it’s more likely they aren’t native speakers or perhaps are fixing up machine translation without telling you.

images-3-3Although there may be some room to negotiate cent-per-word rates, there are better ways to manage translation costs. Here are some ways to make professional translation more budget-friendly:

  • Remove unnecessary steps.  Cutting and pasting website content from a spreadsheet or into a graphic file takes valuable time and allows for errors.
  • Translate less content.  Utilize industry standard tools like translation memory, which reuses previously translated materials providing time and cost savings while maintaining consistent quality. This also means that for subsequent versions of the same content, don’t edit/change it unnecessarily.
  • Use subject-matter expert translators and editors. Although they cost more than part-time generalist translators, they will save you money in the long run. Correcting and reworking a bad translation costs both time and money – and potentially ruins your customer’s first experience with your product.
  • Use technology wisely.  Free online automatic translation may seem like a good idea, but as outlined above, shouldn’t be trusted where your brand touches your customers. There are other more effective approaches such as post-edited machine translation (PEMT).  For example, our VeriFast(sm) platform combines state-of-the-art machine translation with human editors to provide fast and accurate translations at a lower cost.

In the end, the benefits of a good translation far outweigh the perceived cost savings of a poor one. Translation is a profession, not unlike attorneys or accountants. Accurately conveying the source text into the target text takes skill and time. When you are looking to save money, there are good places to look for savings and it is not always simply collecting bids for a cheaper word rate.

Topics: Best Business Practices, Translation Basics

Managing the Global Workforce: Communication is Key

Posted by Donald J. Plumley, CEO on Apr 22, 2015 2:34:00 PM

images-2-1Successful global expansion takes more than renting office space in another country. Companies both large and small looking to global markets to drive growth are finding out that effective communication with the global workforce is both important and challenging. Accenture published a report discussing expansion best practices and lessons for HR professionals – such as how one firm seeks to:

“…manage these employees in ways that are aligned with a global approach to employee services, while also complying with different statutory requirements and respecting local differences in how people are motivated, developed and paid.”

Staffing overseas offices with trusted staff from the headquarters may be a convenient way to expand quickly, but:

“… if a company expects its growth to be in emerging economies, having leadership from the West swoop in with a set of attitudes and presumptions that may not be appropriate for a growth market can create a real business risk.”

The report notes that having globally consistent polices with local relevance requires:

“…an HR approach that is both super global and super local.”

You can read the entire Accenture report here. Communication that is both globally consistent and locally relevant takes a deft touch – and a trusted partner to help render it into local languages along with your training materials and other resources. We would be happy to share our best practices and approach to help you connect with your team around the globe.

Topics: Employee Communication and HR, Best Business Practices

Elanex GlobalNote: The Translation is "Unintelligible"

Posted by Donald J. Plumley, CEO on Apr 8, 2015 12:30:00 PM


Perhaps the largest challenge of professional translation is the subjectivity of language. Even this simple posting could be edited into a great number of variations, depending upon each of our personal preferences. That’s the beauty of language and human communication: while there are rules on how language is to be structured and used, it remains incredibly personal. 

The other day a client contacted us with feedback from their end-customer saying that our translation was terrible – “unintelligible” was the term they used. It’s the sort of email that causes the pulse to quicken and a knot to form in the stomach. We are all problem solvers, we want to fix the situation and make the pain go away as fast as possible. Our first clue that this was perhaps not a “typical" translation problem was the hyperbole of “unintelligible.” However, since people get understandably agitated when deadlines and reputations are on the line, and since we’ve seen language debacles large and small, we took this seriously and the team jumped into action – keeping a calm head and professional manner - not adding fuel to the fire.

images-5A quick review of the final translation we delivered did not unearth anything “unintelligible.” Our independent reviewer noted some debatable preference choices, but otherwise indicated it was a proper translation. This suggested that the end customer was seeing something different from what we delivered.  We asked our customer to send us the files their customer reviewed, and after some detailed detective work, we could see that the end-translation was a heavily modified version of what we originally delivered. Informed of this finding, our client discovered its customer had given them a list of change requests, and rather than consult us, someone from our client took it upon himself to change the translations. He inserted new content assembled from free online machine translation. The client updated terminology using global search and replace, ignoring context and noun endings, resulting in major grammatical errors. In places, the final document was truly unintelligible. Now we had a situation where the end user was unhappy with the translation provider they never met but believed was incompetent. 

images-3-1When the problem is ours, we admit responsibility and correct. When translating for an intermediary, the most successful results happen when translation is not treated like a “black-box” and we are put in direct contact with the end-customer reviewers. This applies equally to multi-national companies with in-country reviewers and centralized translation management. This essential rapport does more than help us promptly approve glossaries and style guides. It gives us the opportunity to address potential issues before they become part of the project landscape.

Reviewers will always have personal preferences, and rightly so.  By developing a strong relationship with the reviewer, we can incorporate the individual element that makes language so powerful and so personal.

Topics: Case Study, Best Business Practices

M&A Best Practices: Translation as a Competitive Advantage for the Global Deal

Posted by Donald J. Plumley, CEO on Mar 18, 2015 1:54:00 PM

“Time is the enemy of the deal,” is a well-known M&A imperative. To meet seller milestones and internal review deadlines, having a plan to keep the process moving quickly helps give your company an advantage over other buyers and manage risk. This is especially true of global deals, which often come mawith the additional task of having to review diligence materials in another language. Planning for translation early is an important part of keeping a cross-border deal on track and a great way to stay steps ahead of unprepared bidders.

Global deals are on the rise and currency fluctuations make cross-border targets more interesting for many acquirers, including many that have not before considered looking beyond their borders. With this opportunity comes the complexity of evaluating the benefits and risks of a target operating in another country. How can a globally acquisitive company manage the review of diligence materials in a time and cost efficient manner?

Consider this: the right translation partner has been involved in similar projects and can offer valuable insights on best practices and alternatives. Consider engaging your translation company early, much like other professional service providers such as deal attorneys, in-country counsel, financial advisors, and similar specialists.

Elanex has developed deep experience supporting global M&A. In addition to a translation partnership with leading virtual data room provider Intralinks, the company was instrumental in supporting a multi-billion dollar global deal to promptly pass through regulatory review by translating over 20 million of words in record time. With the Elanex team’s successful participation in numerous global transactions we offer these tips when it comes to hiring a translation company for your global deal:

1. Translators should always be subject–matter experts. With thousands of documents to review, lawyers and other decision makers don’t have time to try to decipher the meaning of an awkward translation because the translator does not know the difference between a hedge and shrubbery.

2. A translation service provider should know the lay of the land. Due diligence should be an area of specialty as time is of the essence and ability to scale a translation team can’t be “learned on the job.” 

3. The company should have the right technology to streamline and manage the process. Technology can be used to speed translation and identify documents (e.g. boilerplate contracts) that may not require translation from scratch to manage expense.

4. The company should be a global service provider, not a small local agency. Global providers have the manpower to keep a project moving and respond to the deal team around the clock. They can scale teams to any size to accommodate surges in demand and production can “follow the sun.” Having teams of translators working in different time zones keeps projects rolling 24 hours a day, effectively tripling daily output.

5. In-Country counsel is indispensible to review critical items and render opinion incorporating local law and governing language. However, it’s noted that some corporate counsel, for Sarbanes-Oxley reasons, want their internal team to review 100% of materials to be fully-familiar with all diligence items – making efficient translation even more critical. Similarly, internal review of translated materials enables your team to identify items of concern unique to your business, IP, and competition.

6. Don’t fall into the trap that your translation service provider is a black box: words in and words out. They can provide meaningful guidance to your M&A team. For example, develop a game plan to help prioritize what documents should be translated first to meet internal review milestones and go/no-go decision points.

The translation of due diligence materials is a critical aspect of global M&A. When intelligently managed, the language barrier won’t stand in the way of promptly closing a deal. To the contrary, knowing how to efficiently translate the data room can help mitigate deal risk and provide a competitive edge over other bidders.

Topics: Legal Translation, Mergers and Acquisitions, Best Business Practices

The Need For Translation in Africa

Posted by Elanex Marketing Team on Mar 11, 2015 12:32:00 PM


Topics: Infographic, Best Business Practices, Language Information

Glossaries: A Translator's Best Tool to Ensure Consistency and Quality

Posted by Jun Kurihara on Jan 7, 2015 11:54:00 AM

When it comes to customer concerns, speed is often at the top of the list. This is especially true for first-time or infrequent translation buyers. Often, translation is unplanned, and sometimes upstream production delays can create significant pressure to deliver the translated materials quickly. Regardless of cause, urgency to complete a translation project as fast as possible is the norm.

Since a single translator can translate only about 2,500 words – about 10 pages – per day, a very common practice is to divide the content and distribute the work across multiple translators. Having a team of Time_Zonestranslators working in different time zones (“following the sun”) keeps projects rolling 24 hours per day, effectively tripling daily throughput. 

However, having a team of translators working on a single project presents its own problems. The overall project may be completed faster but when the individual pieces are combined they may have issues with consistency. For example, one translator may translate prescription drugs into Spanish as medicamentos recetados while the second says medicamentos con receta and the third chooses medicamentos bajo receta médica. Each may be correct, but using all three in the same document affects the readability and perception of quality of the materials – it reads like a poor translation. It would be similarly confusing if this article mixed the terms “glossary,” “lexicon,” and “vocabulary” with no distinction or context. What’s the best way to prevent these types of problems before they happen?  The answer lies in the preparation of a glossary.

The Power of a Glossary

A good glossary is a translator’s best friend. With minimal effort to prepare, glossaries save both time and money in the long run and help ensure quality and consistency.

Because many quality issues involve the mistranslations of key words and technical concepts, good glossaries remove a significant source of possible translation issues before a project even begins. glossaries_HERO_FINALGlossaries answer questions about terms that are highly technical, have multiple translations or meanings, are vague or open to mistranslation, are non-translatable or require marketing input (e.g. tag lines, product names, etc.).

Glossaries do more than prevent mistranslation. They also help translation service providers understand their client’s communication preferences. With a clear understanding of preferred terms, translators can achieve the voice and tone a client is looking for. A child’s stuffed animal in the US is called a plush in England. Both are correct, but the glossary will give the client the opportunity to formally document which option is preferred.

Tips for Building a Glossary

Although translation service providers will do the bulk of the work, compiling a glossary requires a commitment from the client as well. Clients should identify native language stakeholders from each region to perform reviews, stakeholders who can set aside sufficient time to review and comment on the terms suggested by the service provider. Reviewers might be engineers, lawyers or doctors who decide on technical terms, or they might be from sales and marketing, deciding on words that affect the brand in their local markets.

When choosing which words to include, focus on those that are specific to your company and product instead of industry-standard phrases and terms. For example, if you build cars, you’d unlikely need to include the word “engine” in your translation glossary. You would, however, want to include a consistent translation for your patented “vehicle stability and traction control system” to protect its image abroad.

Glossaries should also contain any false or undesirable translations for a specific term. This includes terms that are not meant to be translated. For instance, Burger King has decided that “Whopper” is notTranslation translated on their Spanish-language menus. But the “Double Whopper” gets a slight tweak on Spanish-language menus with “Doble Whopper.”

As glossaries can eventually include thousands of terms and phrases, it’s important to make sure that your translation service provider has an automated integration of the glossary into the translation process. Translators will not necessarily always know when to check if a word or phrase has a glossary entry, and they can’t lose time looking up every word in a separate glossary document. Instead, the translation service provider should utilize technology that automatically tells the translator when the current word has a glossary entry. This fundamental level of automation ensures that the translator doesn’t waste time and never misses a glossary term.

Finally, it’s important to think of your glossary as a living document that must be maintained. Maintenance means adding, changing or deleting terms as necessary. Although compiling a glossary may seem like a chore, it really is a small up-front investment that will yield big returns. 


Topics: Best Business Practices, Resources, Translation Basics, Translation Tools

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