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Portsmouth Enterprise Centres

Contact: Alan Lowe
Address: Portsmoth Enterprise Centre, Quartremaine Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO3 5QT
T: 023 9266 1598
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Business space provider. Affordable business premises, office or light industrial units.

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You have a requirement to have your extremely business-specific documents translated. You’ve selected a translation vendor, and negotiated what you consider to be a good deal, and will be expecting a pristine document in the target language to drop into your mailbox at the agreed time. However, when you read it through, what is this? What is that? You’ve never heard it called that before… Now you need to read through the entire document and ensure that it makes sense before delivering it to its target audience…

Here is a brief guide to how to avoid these issues in the future:

1. Bespoke terminology

Your terminology is so specific that it would require explanations even for those in the same industry performing the same sort of role but in a competing company. This could mean that your processes involve teams with names peculiar to your organisation, or acronyms for various teams, processes, systems, projects or functions. In order for these to be translated accurately by an external resource, you could provide an in depth glossary.

2. The translator has not asked questions.

When you first joined your organisation, you probably had an induction course to introduce you to your role or to the business in general. The translator has not. In order to understand your business and thus the meaning of the translation, a translator will probably need to ask questions to clarify points. This is the sign of a GOOD translator!

3. You went for the cheapest quotation.

This point hardly requires further explanation. Why did you opt for the cheapest? Surely quality is an extremely important factor, especially if this text is for an external audience. In fact, if this is a sales or marketing oriented document, your selection process should include seeing samples of a translator’s work, for which you should be prepared to pay. Your selection process should be similar to contracting a marketing or advertising agency. You should also bear in mind that working with agencies does not guarantee quality: in fact, agencies will usually use whoever is available at the time at the right rate, so your texts may not even be translated by the same person each time.

4. You paid for a proofreading service.

A proofreading service is a second or even a third pair of eyes, to ensure that a text accurately mirrors the source text. It will check for:

Spelling
Grammar
Punctuation
Formatting
Source and target texts match
Terminology
Potential cultural issues

However, while a proof-reader can check for terminology, this may not be exactly what is required for your company – unless you have provided a bullet proof glossary to start with. In addition, you should clarify WHO will be proofreading the text: will it be an internal resource at an agency, in which case, it is probably a generalist rather than a translator who specialises in your field, or who perhaps even used to work in your field in the past. In this case, it is not unheard of – in fact I would go so far as to say it is fairly common, for these individuals to introduce errors, as they are often recent language graduates with no background in business. If the text has been proofread by a second translator with industry experience in the field, you are more likely to achieve a satisfactory result – but you should still be prepared to have a careful read through to ensure quality.

 

In summary, you cannot expect resources outside your company to understand your company inside out. As with all external resources, quality translation is a partnership between the client and the translation provider, and the more time you dedicate to working with your provider, the better the outcome. Working directly with a freelance translator is by far the way to ensure that the above obstacles are minimised.