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10 things to consider when preparing documents for translation

planning a translation quote

Imagine planning your dream vacation. You need to choose a destination, buy the tickets, plan what to pack, and so on. There are multiple steps involved before getting there and enjoying your time off. Now, imagine starting your trip but you forget your passport. You need to go back home, adding extra time and stress to your adventure, as well as possible extra costs.

Or imagine packing sandals for winter in Norway because you didn’t consider the weather. You can buy new shoes there, but it will cost you.

There are always solutions, however, some might delay your trip or add extra charges if not considered from the start.

Planning well from the start also applies to preparing a document for translation. Here are 10 general things to consider:

  1. Clarity of the source text: Ensure that the source text is well-written, concise, and clear. A poorly written source text can lead to confusion, ambiguity, and errors in the translated document. Avoid using idioms, slang, and cultural references that may not translate well or may be misinterpreted.
  2. Consistency: Use consistent terminology throughout the document. Consistency in style, formatting, and tone can make the translation process easier and faster.
  3. Context: Consider providing context for technical terms, acronyms, and abbreviations.
  4. Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of cultural differences and ensure that the document does not contain any language or content that may be offensive or inappropriate in the target culture. If unsure, ask your translator to provide feedback.
  5. Formatting and layout: Consider leaving some white space to allow text expansion. When designing a document that will be translated into another language it is important to keep in mind that the translated text may take up more space than the original; translating from English into languages like French, Spanish or Ojibway can result in a 25% text expansion.
  6. Graphics and visuals: Consider how graphics, images, and other visuals may need to be adapted for the target language and culture. Don’t Embed Text Within Graphics Files. If you are using images with text, make sure that the text is editable, or provide a text-free version of the image.
  7. PDFs are for reference only: PDFs are a popular file format for sharing documents because they preserve the formatting and layout of the original document. However, they are not the ideal format to translate. A translator will need the documents in the native, editable format to be able to translate them. The editable, native format could be anything from the common MS Office applications to the more sophisticated Adobe Design suite. Always keep an editable version available.
  8. Finalize the document before translation: Any extra changes introduced after might create confusion, delays, and extra costs.
  9. Time to translate: It takes time to write good content. Same works for translation – a good translation requires time. Always plan to allow enough time for the translation stage.
  10. Translators are not designers: If you have a brochure, a poster or a report created using a professional layout/design application like Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, consider the extra cost and time associated with this service. While translators can’t work directly in InDesign, there are solutions to import and export the translated text, making it easier to recreate the final translated documents.
    With these ten factors in mind, you’re now better equipped to prepare your documents for translation and ensure they resonate with your intended audience. Just like planning a flawless vacation, effective translation requires preparation and attention to detail. Investing the necessary time beforehand will not only prevent potential hiccups but will also enhance the quality of your translated content.

Ready to take the next step and expand the audience for your content? Contact us now for a free quote!

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