A quick guide on how to get your translations right It can be a frustrating process, buying a translation service. Here in this article we address effective ways in which to buy translation service that won’t cause you stress or cost you the earth. What’s the difference between translating and interpreting? In a nutshell, a translator will produce a written translation and an interpreter will provide a verbal translation service. So, if for example you have documents that need to be in another language, say a marriage certificate that you need translated into Portuguese, or your qualification certificate translated into English in order to study abroad, then you would need to hire a translator. On the other hand, if you need to attend court in another country or converse with someone in a professional environment whose language you don’t speak, then you’d need to hire an interpreter. Decide which part of your text is relevant and which you’d like translated. When reading through your text, before assigning it to a translation Service Provider , we would advise really looking through the text first and deciding whether any part of it can be shortened or simplified? Sometimes a simpler, more direct approach is more effective. Often times people don’t like to read through lots of texts to get to the bit that is relevant to them. If you are able to produce pictures and/or diagrams instead of large chunks of text, then do it and definitely leave out the jargon! Your translation will look cleaner, more professional and more user-friendly this way. Be aware of cultural differences! When using a translation service Provider to translate text into another language, be mindful of the fact that some sayings and metaphors simply don’t translate well! Choosing a translation service provider who use a native to the target language is highly recommended for this very reason. It’s also best to stay clear of any references to the human body, controversial jokes, politics or any local sayings that may involve awkward wordplay! You don’t want to come away red faced and met with awkward stares or blank faces. Think about your translation budget. Weighing up the cost of a reasonably priced translation service can be a tricky task. There are many things to consider when you are trying to find the best translation Service Provider : The native language of the translator in question, how many years’ experience the translator have? Whether you’re looking for a Multi-Language translation project? (This will undoubtedly cost more), Will the translation need to be proofread? Is the text medical, technical or legal translation? Do you require graphs, tables or a specific layout for your translation? While high prices of translation services don’t always guarantee high quality, going for a translation service provider that’s too cheap may land you with a very rushed and amateur translation service in the end. So, try to be realistic – work out how many hours it may take the translator to translate your text, whether you have any other additional requirements and the current standard rate for the target language in question? If it seems like you’re paying a fair price, only then may it be worth going ahead and accepting from the translation service provider you have chosen. What kind of writing style are you going for? Make sure you clarify with your translation service provider what kind of writing style you’d like and see if they are able to produce this? We strongly advise using only the service of translation service provider with native speakers in your target language for this exact reason. Many translators stick to a more standard approach to writing, so you’ll want to find out what they are capable of doing. Do they know their subject well? Do they specialise in creative writing or technical writing? You’ll want the sentences to flow and run smoothly. Word order and vocabulary choice is especially important and can make all the difference in the delivery, even more so if you’re planning on selling or persuading with your translated text. Translating yourself is never a good idea! Even if you think you’re more than capable. Being able to speak and converse well in another language doesn’t mean you are able to translate to a professional standard. Any text written that hints that it may have been written by a foreigner and not a native will stand out a mile – It will appear sloppy and unprofessional. Don’t be tempted to do it, thinking it will save you time and money and in the long term it will probably cost you both. Make sure the copy you submit to your translation Service Provider is the finalized copy. There’s nothing worse than having to make constant amendments to a translated text or any text for that matter. It’s often time consuming and extremely frustrating for both parties. If you submit a draft copy to your translation service Provider, in the hopes that the translated text will be flawless then you’re headed for disappointment. A good translation Service Provider can only be as good as the materials they are given to work with. The cost of doing it this way may also double or even triple due to the constant amendments that’ll be needed. Translation software may be an option, but don’t expect high quality. It may be tempting to use translating software and will often cost much less and, in some instances, may even be free. But if you’re aiming for a high-quality translated piece then it will rarely deliver. Translation software may be useful if you’re strapped for time, but you’ll also run the risk of possibly looking inarticulate. There is always the option of hiring a translation Service Provider to then edit the text, but this process may not save you any money as the time spent copy editing will also come with an hourly rate and the need for professionalism. Algorithms are still trying to improve the quality of automatic translation but have yet to surpass the accuracy and professionalism of human translation. Be specific with your translation requirements Communication is key when it comes to specifying exactly what you require from a translation Service Provider. What are you looking to achieve with the translated text? What is the translation going to be used for? All these requirements need to be communicated to the translation Service Provider in question. You’ll get the best results from keeping in regular contact with your translation service provider and outlining your intended audience. You don’t want a technical jargon piece for a catalogue or a legal piece as a sales brochure. Style and delivery are important, and you need to clarify this early on. Only use qualified, experienced translation service provider, not students. It may be tempting to approach foreign language students, but it can be extremely risky. Learning a language isn’t the same as learning the skills you need to be able to effectively translate a document or interpret a conference call for example. It would be similar to expecting a medical student to perform a major operation, without the practice and the know-how the chance of a good outcome is fairly slim. Be sure to only hire a translation Service Provider who translates INTO their native language. Being a native of a language has many benefits over someone who may have a degree in or has lived in the country in question for a long period of time – the latter will always have limitations compared to the former. It is always advisable for a translator to keep up to date with the language they are native/ specialists in as even living abroad for a period of time can influence a person’s language skills. To be a truly professional translator means to be completely immersed in their target language. It’s usually a red flag if someone claims to be able to professionally translate into more than one language or to be able to translate both ways – play safe and hire only a translation Service Provider who ‘specialises’ in one language. Make sure the dialect is correct. Translating into a language is one thing but making sure that the dialect is also correct is another. You wouldn’t translate a text into an American English document if your client was British, and the same goes for many other languages too. Make sure you do your homework and find out who your target audience are, and which dialect of a language is most suitable. Does your translation service provider ask questions? Does your translation Service Provider want to clarify things, always asking questions to get things just right? This is a good sign! If a translation Service Provider is really serious about their work, they’ll take pride in what they do and have a sharp attention to detail. This is what you want. If they don’t ask any questions it may be the case that they are just translating into what they think is acceptable rather than going above and beyond. Does your translation Service Provider specialise in one area such as technical, legal or medical? If your translation project is specialist, such as a medical, legal or technical text and your native translator isn’t a specialist in the specific area in question, you may run into trouble. Unless they are familiar with the terms of your text document, it may become quite a lengthy project for them to complete and not always accurate. Ideally, they will have a background (experience in or qualification in) the area of specialisation that you require – then you can rest assured that they will have the right legal, medical or technical knowledge, dictionaries and reference manuals to press ahead. Does the translation Service Provider offer a proofreading service? Every translated document without exception needs to be proofread – preferably not by the translator themselves – It’s too easy to overlook small spelling and grammar issues in a text you’ve written yourself which is why a third-party proof-reader is needed for your translation. They will also need to be native in the target language. Check the typography! Make sure you have agreed on which font and glyphs will be used beforehand. Some languages may appear distorted or even nonsensical if the wrong font is used –languages such as Portuguese and Chinese characters need to have the correct glyphs in place in order to read smoothly. Also check with your client which they require so that the font matches the tone and layout of the finalised document in question. Just because a translator is bilingual doesn’t mean they are particularly good at either language. Being bilingual has many advantages and can enhance many CV’s, however, if the translator is only ‘Good’ in both languages and hasn’t ‘Specialised’ in either one of those languages they may not be great at moving from one language to another. Also speaking, reading and writing in a second language takes a lot of skill and practice. If one of the languages isn’t their specialisation then it may not be worthwhile hiring that translator. Choosing a good language service provider! Check that the translation Service Provider that you use has experience in numerous translation projects in the specific language you require. Are they certified? Let them show you past work they’ve completed. Any large companies they’ve translated for with references available on your request.