19 Sep 7 steps to ensure you provide an expert translation
Becoming an excellent translator requires more than professional proficiency in the source language and the target language. An experienced translator knows how to guarantee that their translations are accurate starting from the moment they receive the project. Here are the steps to follow to ensure you provide an expert translation.
Read all provided materials before starting the translation
Whether the document looks straightforward or requires in-depth industry knowledge, be sure to read all the instructions and reference materials before you accept the project. Unnecessary mistakes can be avoided and save you lots of time if you pay adequate attention to the instruction at the start. If you cannot fully understand the instruction, or find that it demands a misrepresentation of the original document, you may need to contact the client to ask for clarification or let them know all your concerns. That conversation is one you’ll want to have before beginning your work, not when your deadline is approaching.
Decide responsibly whether you are the right person for the job
Some translation projects require you to have a deep understanding of the topic or industry to complete the translation accurately. It’s important for you to decide responsibly whether you are capable of delivering an expert translation. If you are not confident in your skills to complete the project well in the time allotted, let the project manager or the client know.
Understand the context
One of the biggest advantages of human translation is that translators are able to understand the context far better than machines. It’s important to understand the background information of the document and do the research needed to ensure that the translation accurately conveys the original meanings. Depending on the context and the purpose of the document, you may select different wordings and expressions, or even apply different styles of translation to the project. For example, word-for-word translation may be needed for a business contractual document, while not preferred for business marketing material.
Comply with the customs of the intended reader
People in different countries use different idioms, turns of phrase, and units of measure. Currency is one of those subtle translations that makes a crucial difference when translating business material. Paying attention to the customs and cultural differences will make the document more attractive for readers, and in turn, make the client more satisfied with the translation.
The format should be close to the original document
Nearly all clients expect their translation to be returned in the same format as the original document. Although it can sometimes be challenging or time-consuming to retain the format, it is a crucial step that makes an accurate translation more appealing to your client.
Check the document carefully before submission
Even when translating a very simple document, people still make mistakes. You may use a variety of tools to make sure the translation is flawless before submission, but keep in mind that spellcheck software can’t identify if names or other proper nouns are spelled correctly. Take the time to read through the final document manually. You may also want to compare the translation to the original document to ensure that non-translated text, like a short barcode or phone number, is not missing from the translation.
Correct any mistakes ASAP and learn from it
People make mistakes, even experienced translators. Your client will likely understand that errors are not impossible, as they chose to work with you and not a machine translator, but it is important to correct any mistakes as soon as you can. If you are not able to reach the client with questions before the deadline, you should stay tuned and be ready to fix any mistake after the file is submitted.