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How to Plan the Translation Process

Have you ever imagined that a translator would play a critical role in your marketing strategy, project, or business?

If you think that a translator’s task is only to change a text’s language that has already been written, you still do not understand the scope of what they have to offer. For sure, you will get amazed by the advantages of planning the translation process.

Keep in mind that a quality and successful translation relies on different factors throughout the process. It is a simple task, as you think that is because the language service provider requires detailed instruction to deliver an effective and accurate translation.

You can start with the following steps if you want a high-quality translation process.

Step #1: Make a Clear Plan 

First, you have to know your language combination and target a particular region or country. Making a plan is critical to make sure that project requirements are clear and that language is appropriately used according to the target culture and region.

Part of making a clear plan is defining your target audience. You can do that by determining the age of the readers, whether they are general public or experts, and local or international. When you know your target audience, the translator has a better chance of avoiding inappropriate language.

It is also critical to determine the voice and tone of the document. You have to consider the target audience and subject matter. Technical, medical, and legal translations often need a formal, serious tone. In some cases, they call for the use of passive voice. As for marketing content, it allows more freedom in tone and diction, like the use of active voice.

Additionally, you need to set publishing requirements. After choosing the source document’s file type, you have to decide where or how the translation will be published. If your company brochure requires translation from a Word document into a PDF, the project is a Word doc to PDF request.

Step #2: Prepare the Source Document 

You can use the plan you have created to offer clear and organized instructions to the text writers or translators. Ensure to remind your subject-matter-experts (SMEs) to utilize concise and clear language. They also need to avoid unnecessary cultural references, expressions, and idioms. Blackout confidential information like contact information, identity numbers, and names are also unnecessary.

Step #3: Proofread 

Proofreading is the most critical step in the online translation process because even the slightest mistake in the source document can already ruin the entire translation. You have to thoroughly check the cultural and linguistic errors, number formatting, capitalization, and punctuation. Do not forget to double-check the layout consistency of italicized or bold letters, numbered or bullet lists, and date/time formatting.

Step #4: Create a Style Guide and Terminology Glossary for the Translator 

With a style guide and terminology glossary, you can boost the translation speed while ensuring voice/tone and terminology consistency throughout the translation process. Not only that, the translators can add to it in projects in the future.

Your terminology glossary must contain sample sentences, explanations, and definitions for slogans and brand names, abbreviations, and industry-specific jargon. As for the style guide, it should include sample sentences and explanations for formal or informal tone, preferences as regards capitalization and punctuation, and the active or passive voice of the document.

Step #5: Set a Clear Translation Deadline 

Lastly, you have to create a reasonable and clear deadline for the translation based on the translator’s availability, word count, and language combination. Other factors you should consider are the requirements of a highly-targeted audience or niche industry and difficult terminology.

A translator can translate 2,000 to 2,500 words per day on average when it comes to word count. Your success in translation relies significantly on how committed you are to preparing and planning. If you take time preparing a high-quality translation project, rest assured that you will gain productivity, effective and accurate translation, and speed of delivery.

Why Planning the Translation Process Matters

The task of a translator is more than just transposing a specific content into another language; the translation process involves communications between you and your target audience.

When planning the translation process, you have to gather all necessary information associated with the project that will help enhance the translator’s work, including technical terms glossary, detailed explanation of context, special instructions, reference documents, etc.

After determining a specific content that requires translation, you should collaborate with an experienced translator to discuss your expectations, goals, and timeframe. You and your translator can identify the best time to start the project and maximize efficiency. In return, you will be free from inconvenient and costly mistakes.

If you are clueless about managing a translation project, a translator can help you. They know the volume of work and resources, allowing them to provide an optimal action plan. Bear in mind that a well-planned translation process helps ease the stress level even if you encounter setbacks or changes because you and the translator are ready for potential risks.

As mentioned above, translation is a difficult task as it involves complex mental processing. Every section of text or phrase to be translated, your translator has to:

  • Thoroughly read and understand each source text
  • Ensure that the new text is worded naturally
  • Compose the message or meaning in the target language
  • Use the necessary target language’s grammatical structure
  • Choose the most appropriate vocabulary in the target language
  • Keep the text’s message or meaning

With proper planning, you have the best opportunity to select the right style, tone, and word choice that make readers understand your text effectively. It will also help translators evaluate the required time to produce a high-quality translation.

Final Thoughts 

Many people assume that translation is an easy task and requires less time. The truth is that a translation process requires appropriate planning to ensure optimal returns. Hopefully, the steps above will help you plan your next translation process effectively and efficiently. Do not forget to work closely with your translator when planning to ensure all elements are present in the final text and avoid errors.

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