Document translation can be a complex process. If you don’t plan ahead, it could end up being a nightmare. In fact, we found that many companies still struggle with document translation because they haven’t taken the proper steps to prepare for it. But there are simple things you can do now to ensure a smooth transition once your project begins. Here are seven ways to help you avoid headaches along the way.
- Know Your Audience
The best thing you can do to make sure your documents translate well is to know your audience. What language are they speaking? How much experience do they have with English? Do they speak another language? These questions will help you understand how your audience uses language and whether or not they have the skills necessary to use a translator effectively. Once you know your audience, you can determine how much training they require and tailor your document translation accordingly.
- Understand Their Needs
Once you know your audience, it’s important to understand their needs. This includes knowing their expectations, goals, and challenges. Understanding these factors helps you craft a strategy that meets their needs while keeping them engaged throughout the entire translation process.
- Identify Keywords
Keywords are one of the most effective tools you can use to find relevant information online. By identifying keywords, you can better target specific audiences and increase conversions. When you’re ready to start writing your document translation bid, identify key words that match your target audience’s needs.
- Specify your target language(s)
While you may know the language(s) you need translation for, it’s important to think about where you are translating to. This is especially true for regional variations. If you are looking to translate into Spanish, make sure to specify what part of Spain you are targeting. There are many regions within Spain that speak Spanish differently.
For example, let’s say you wanted to translate a blog post into Spanish and you needed help with the term “blog.” You could choose one of three options:
- Blog de la web
All three terms refer to blogs, but each one has a slight variation depending on the region. For instance, the word “web” is used in Mexico and Argentina, while the word “webmaster” is used in Chile.
- Ensure documents are finalized before sending for translation
The most common reason why translators fail to deliver quality translations is due to poor communication between clients and translators. In many cases, the client does not know what he/she wants, and the translator does not know how to translate it effectively. This is where having multiple reviewers come together can help. They can provide feedback on the text, check grammar, and make sure the language flows well. Some companies even allow their employees to proofread the final product.
This is especially important when working with large amounts of data, such as medical reports, legal contracts, or financial statements. A good way to avoid problems is to take some time to complete the writing process ahead of time. You want to make sure the information is accurate and clear, so that there aren’t any surprises during the translation phase.
- Consider the project scope
Content needs to be translated into different languages for it to reach a global audience. A good way to determine how much you need to translate is to look at what percentage of your target market speaks each language. If your target audience consists of people living outside the United States, then you may want to aim for 50% or above. This number gives you enough room to grow without compromising quality.
The ideal completion date depends on several factors such as the complexity of the content, the length of your document, and the availability of translators. If you plan to publish your document online, then you could set a deadline based on when you think you’ll finish translating the text. However, if you’re creating a print publication, then you may want your document to be ready sooner.
Knowing the answers to these questions helps you better understand the complexities involved in your document translation project.
- Estimate a reasonable turnaround time
Creating a timeline prior to project start is an essential step for successful document translation. A timeline helps to keep organized and on task as you work with your translator to complete the project. This way, you can easily see how much progress you’ve made, what needs to be done next, and most importantly, how long things are likely to take.
For example, if the total number of words in the translated text is 100,000, and the desktop publishing process takes nine days to complete plus another three days to review and approve it, it is realistic to assume a project of this size would take longer than one week.
Most translators can usually translate somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 words per day. If we estimate that our typical translator translates about 2,000 words per day, we can calculate the following:
- 2,000 * 7 14,000
- 14,000 + 3,000 17,000
- 17,000 / 5 340 words per hour
- 340/9 38 words per minute
- Consider the format your final deliverables will be in
When you are working with a language service provider, it’s helpful to know what types of files they support. You don’t want to send them something that won’t translate properly. But, you don’t want them sending you something else either. So, here are some things to consider when choosing a file type:
- Are there limitations on the number of pages?
- Do you need multiple versions of the same document?
- What languages do you need to cover?
- How many documents do you need translated?
- Will you be able to provide the source material?
- What are your deadlines?
- Create a glossary with translation team and in-country reviewer
When you have a document translation or localization project with a large amount content, creating a glossary will establish your company’s specific, technical terminology in early stages of the project. This way, you can avoid confusion among translators, reviewers, editors, and clients.
Creating a glossary entails finding out how many words there are in your project, and making sure that the translator knows what each word means. To do this, you need to find a specific number of words (the exact number depends on the size and complexity of your project). You can choose to work with a professional translation agency to help you select the most appropriate words, or you can simply ask your in-country reviewer to review your list of words.
Once the glossary terms have gone through the approval process, you can begin the actual translation process. Your in-country reviewer will check over your list of words and approve the proposed translations, while you wait for his or her feedback. If the reviewer has any suggestions for alternative translations, you can send those back to the linguistic partner for further consideration.
It usually takes about two to four rounds for all of the suggested translations to be approved by both parties (your translation agency and your in-country reviewer). After that, you can start working on translating your documents.
- Price document translation services
Document translation services are becoming increasingly affordable because of advances in technology. Translation memory (TM), commonly known as a translation memory, is one such advancement. A translation memory allows translators to reuse previous translations, saving time and money.
The cost of translating documents varies depending on how much effort goes into the process. For example, a simple text document might require just a few hours of work while a complex report could take weeks of research and writing. This difference in price can vary greatly based on the complexity of the project.
A good way to estimate costs is to look at what similar projects have been quoted for. If you know the hourly rate of a translator, multiply that number by the total words translated. Then add in the cost of a computer, software, paper, and shipping.
Another factor that influences prices is the type of document being translated. Some languages use different formatting conventions than others, and some formats are easier to translate than others. Technical reports tend to be more difficult to translate than plain text files. Also consider whether the project requires multiple people working together.
Finally, there are many variables that influence the final cost of a project. These include the length of the contract, the number of revisions required, and the level of quality control needed.