Translation is not merely rendering text from one language into another, it is a complex customer service that needs to be precise, accurate and yet creative. There is a difference between document translation and e-learning course translation and localization in the approach to the given task, however the process of delivering a high-quality end product is one and the same. It involves the dedication of translation experts, project managers, and the full cooperation on behalf of the client.
Each translation company has a specific quality control established that includes certain steps to guarantee that the translation is of the highest possible quality. There are some tricks and tips, though, that can improve further the value of the product that you offer. Below we will have a look at them.
Ensuring a Successful Translation Process
In order to deliver a successful final product – in this case a high-quality translation, you need to ensure that all interested parties are on board. There are several steps that need to be followed in order to lead the project to the desired conclusion:
- Understand the project – as a language service provider you are primarily interested in the text, its type and the target languages it should be translated into. It is quite important to understand the bigger picture as well. What is the function of the document, presentation, contract, etc.? Who is going to deal with them? Are they related to some other documentation that has already been translated or will be translated in the future? Knowing the details will help you provide a better service and even give some useful advice to your clients because chances are you have come across similar projects in the past and have experience with how to successfully finish them.
- Hold a meeting prior to the start of the project. It is a good idea to have all the interested parties sit together and discuss the project in details. This can be done either in person or online. It will ensure that everybody is on the same page and that the goals are clearly set and understood by all people involved in the project.
- Analyze the source content. This will allow you to catch any mistakes and have them corrected prior to the translation itself. You will also have the chance to ask for any clarifications or additional information.
- Select the project team. You need to pick the right translators for the job. A translator, whose mother tongue is the target language of the translation and who is an expert in the subject matter is the ideal person for the job. You also need to appoint a project coordinator, especially for bigger projects with many parts, who will maintain the communication between the translation team and the client and make sure that all issues are resolved in a timely manner.
These are the essential steps that need to be followed prior to starting the actual translation. When it starts, it is extremely important to keep all communication channels open, so that any questions can be answered on time and all issues resolved as quickly as possible. The translation project ends with the final approval of the client.
Improving the Quality of the Translated Text
In addition to the best practices and essential skills that each translator should be familiar with, there are a few more tricks that can improve the quality of the translated text. Here are a few suggestions:
- Localize as you translate
It is good not simply to render the text from the source into the target language but to do it in an appropriate way. Keep in mind the cultural differences of the target audience and translate the text, so that you keep its accuracy but make it easily understandable. Try to find the best local expressions and examples that will make the whole picture clearer to the reader. You can also put some additional notes for your client with advice about changing the font, the pictures, or even colors that appear throughout the document you are working with. Your client will be grateful for the additional help and will remain loyal to you.
- Make synonyms your ally
If you are dealing with any form of writing – as a writer, translator, advertiser, you need to know a variety of words and make synonyms your ally. Sometimes the right synonym is the one that can help you both stay true to the original text, while giving the right meaning of the word/phrase in the target language. In order to improve your skills, you can play some quick games in your free time. For example, you can ask someone to write a few words for you and then you come up with as many synonyms as you can think of within a given time frame. There are also various online games with words and synonyms that will help you enhance your knowledge, while resting from actual work.
- Boost your language skills regularly
You should never stop learning a given language, even your mother tongue. Languages can change quickly and you need to keep up with the new tendencies. The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, is updated on a quarterly basis. Nearly 1,000 new words, senses or collocations are added. If you want your translation skills to improve, check the new additions regularly.
As a whole, you should never stop improving your knowledge. Any new information might be useful one day and being an expert in a given sphere – finance, medicine, law – is definitely a competitive advantage.
There are many reasons why a translator would like to improve the quality of their translations. First of all, we all strive to deliver better results with each project that follows. Being the best in your field makes you feel proud and is an additional motivator to give even more. On the other side comes the financial motivator as well – the higher the quality of the translation service, the bigger the repayment. If you want to get paid more as a translator, you need to offer a superb service and immaculate final product. While it is true that practice makes perfect, you can enhance your perfection with the above-given tips.