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Ten top tips for getting the best translation

Ten top tips for getting the best translation

  1. Allow enough time – rush jobs are rushed. Allow at least a day per 2000 words of original text if at all possible.


  1. Typeset documents need to be properly checked – word breaks need to be in the right place or confusion may arise. At the very least it will look odd if a word is broken in the wrong place.


  1. Leave extra space when designing a document to allow for translations which are longer (in some cases 15 – 20% longer) than your original. Particularly important when designing a software UI as the text size cannot be altered and abbreviations may not work – the same applies to drawing labels etc


  1. If you can, make sure the original for translation is the final version as amendments can cause issues – if amendments need to be made, ensure they are marked clearly so they can be located quickly.


  1. If you are arranging internal proofreading, make sure the person doing this knows both the source language and the target language. It’s important they can understand the source text well, otherwise they may change the translation and the original intended meaning.


  1. If you have specialist in-company terms make sure these are given to the translators, who otherwise would not be able to know what they are. The same applies to company style – the more information we have, the better the translation we can produce.


  1. Remember a translator only translates into their mother tongue – don’t expect your translator to work professionally outside their native language.


  1. Working with software other than Word takes extra time – even with Word formatting can be a nightmare. We can work in most formats including pdfs and scans but you may need to allow time for conversions, adjustments to text layout and processing to be carried out.


  1. Individual translators have specialist areas – don’t expect your regular legal translator to be competent when it comes to technical texts. A good agency will know the strengths of their approved translators and assign work accordingly.


  1. If you are writing a document and know it will be translated at some point, keep it clear and as simple as you can. Don’t use humour that won’t translate easily, keep colourful marketing  copy to a minimum (unless you are looking for transcreation) and make sure it’s able to be easily understood. That will ensure your translation is equally clear and concise.





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