Posted 13. August 2020 by Helen

You have decided to work with a professional translator in order to have your texts translated for communication with your international audience. You have also already chosen the right partner according to your needs and industry and now it’s time to transfer the documents to your translator. But what does the translation process look like? It’s in everybody’s best interest that your collaboration is as easy and effective as possible, so let’s have a look at the translator’s workflow.

Preparation is key

A good internal preparation helps to streamline the translation process and greatly facilitate the translator’s work, and tremendously reduces the potential for queries, misunderstandings and thus correction loops. Above all, it reduces the time needed to complete the job considerably and you get your texts back and can implement them in a shorter time. This also means that your translator has more time for proofreading and polishing your translation, which will lead to better results. On the whole, this provides a win-win solution for all parties involved. In this post, you’ll find tips on how to make the translation process efficient.

The 5 different stages of the translation process

The translation process is divided into 5 stages:

  • Stage 1:    Creation of the source material
  • Stage 2:    Preparation for translation
  • Stage 3:    Transmission of necessary documents
  • Stage 4:    Start of translation
  • Stage 5:    Delivery of the translated documents

Provision of the source material

The first phase of the translation process is all about creating the source text. If you have not already done so, start building and maintaining a glossary or a list of the terminology used in your company. If there already are existing translations (your translator should match in tone/terminology), it’s always a good idea to make those available to him/her as well. Before the final version of the source text is released, it should be checked for consistency. Finally, the source text is in the same format as you would like to have the translated text delivered.

Preparation for translation

The document to be translated has been checked for consistency and is now available in its final version, as is the glossary. Do you have any additional information or style guides concerning your company’s brand voice, language and wording or even an overview of your business and your products/services? Please make them available to your translator! She/He can use them as a valuable source to make sure the translation matches YOUR brand and is absolutely right for YOUR company. Once the translation brief consisting of your type of content, target audience, expectations, delivery deadlines, etc. has been finalised, the documents are ready for handing over to the translator.

With the attainment of the first two stages of the translation process you have created the basis for a good and productive collaboration with your translator.

Transmission of necessary documents

The source text and all ancillary documents can now be sent to the translator for translation. The delivery time as well as costs have been clarified.

Please leave a message, if you’d like to receive the checklist. I’ll be happy to send it to you.

Start of translation

The translator has confirmed receipt of the documents. He checked them for completeness and possible formatting errors and had a close look at the source texts and the documents provided. While doing so, he made notes of any emerging issues to shed light on open questions before starting to translate. After having discussed the questions with you, the translator now proceeds and works his magic by providing a translation of your texts in accordance with your specifications, tonality and wording. Don’t worry if your translator still comes back with questions later or when delivering the files. Some issues only come up in the in-depth analysis carried out while translating the text.

The major advantage of working with a freelance translator is direct communication: the process is short-circuited and the risk of Chinese Whispers via a middleman is omitted. The translator receives the information directly from you without stray light losses and can start translating immediately. 

Another great benefit is that the translation, no matter how extensive the project may be,comes from a single source and is not split into different packages. Big agencies may forward parts of your text to different translators and merge them back together later on. While increasing speed this often causes problems as style and terminology used in the different parts may differ significantly.

Delivery of translated documents

Once you have received the translated document, it is advisable to check the file for completeness, formatting errors and possible ambiguities such as context or technical misinterpretations. Make sure to give your feedback to the translator at short notice. The translator will then implement any requested changes in the text.

Making the collaboration with your translator effective – and your public appearance consistent

By outsourcing the translation of your texts, you have already laid a sound foundation for a professional public appearance on an international level. Thorough preparation can make the translation process more effective by minimising queries from the translator and reducing waiting times. This makes the work so much easier for the translator. The direct communication also shortens the process considerably.

A further aspect well worth mentioning: The longer you and your translator work together, the more productive the translator can become as he will tune into you and your company over time. Finally, your public appearance will also benefit from his work as a uniform and consistent line of communication becomes recognisable.

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