Tips for Customers
Do you want to make your translation projects easier and more effective? Rely on a competent language service provider and communicate your needs.
I have the right tools and skilled resources to provide a quality service.
What type of document do you need translated?
Is it a business letter, a use and maintenance manual, a marketing brochure or any other type of document? It is very important to establish that, at least in broad terms, so that you can communicate to the translator which kind of text needs to the translated; that is why details are important, because they help the translator get a better idea of the document to be translated. The more preliminary information you supply the better: the type of document, its size in terms of number of words or pages – easily detectable in the case of doc files by using Tools> Word Count – the target language required etc.
Are you preparing a text or a manual which will then be translated?
Please always keep in mind that, in principle, a simple structured source text will convey a clearer communication and prevent any misunderstandings. In case of technical documents, avoid the use of long paraphrases, idiomatic phrases or too localised references whose translation will be difficult in a foreign language.
Help yourself with numbered lists, charts, tables and summary tables: you can use them to summarize and allow the reader to see a lot of information at the same time.
And if you really want to be sure to produce a text effectively and clearly, rely on my technical writing consulting services.
Use the right program for each type of document. Use a publishing software in an efficient manner. For technical manuals of considerable length, choose a program like FrameMaker, which is specifically designed to handle technical documents. Do not expect that Word for Windows is the panacea for all kinds of documents, especially when the document needs multiple graphic images and complex formatting. Use a program such as QuarkXPress for brochures, instead of Freehand or Corel Draw, which are programs created for the creative typography.
Automatic translation? No, thanks!
Avoid shortcuts such as automatic translators: they produce bad results and at best will cause hilarity in the reader. Often, they have very negative consequences on the image of those who use them: consider the economic damage that such a translation could cause in a language in which certain terms, if entered by mistake by the ‘diabolical gimmick’, are offensive in the target language.
A mistranslated catalog for a foreign market will damage the image of the producer and consequently their sales.
Are you in a hurry?
No hurry, please. Grant, instead, sufficient time to the translator. Sometimes, customers expect a 50,000 word translation for the next day. Keep in mind that translators are professionals with many customers and also human needs as a good night’s sleep. Although your translator wishes to provide you with the best services, it is not always possible he/she gets to work immediately after receiving it. Translators make use of a lot of creativity and research in their profession and they require more time to produce an accurate and well-written translation. Be willing to pay a reasonable sum to have a good service. Reach an agreement on the cost before starting the job and do not complain to the translator if he/she charges you for some revision. There is nothing more discouraging for a supplier of translation services than carrying out a superhuman work to deliver it within the time required by the client and then hearing complaints when he/she charges a small fee for last minute changes. Realize that translation has rates like any other professional service. It is based on the amount of time needed to highly qualified professionals to do the job. Intelligent customers look at the end result, not constantly press the translator on issues related to the costs if they are satisfied with the services.
In a client – translator relationship, constant communication is crucial: the translator should be informed about the type of text to translate, its possible features, terminology – if it has some special characteristics – and on any technical aspects of the file format. Some manuals may contain, for example, a series of hyperlinks or other conventions and special features: the translator is not required to also know the technicalities of a text.
The translator must be able to rely on a person within the company; the customer, for its part, should provide the translator any reference materials, previous translations or glossaries in his possession, in order to facilitate the task of the professional and ensure the quality and consistency of the final text. It is therefore in the interest of both the customer and the translator to communicate effectively. Upon request, at the end of the work the translator will compile a dedicated glossary which will be useful in the future.
Contact me for a free evaluation of your work and visit the website pages containing some translation samples.