Provide detailed instructions: We have found that often the person tasked with getting a particular piece or project translated does not necessarily understand the culture or the language of the target audience. That same person also may not understand how involved the process of translation can be. In order to save time and money, it is critical that you give your translation provider key instructions regarding the required regional variation, required layout and format, tone of communication, and purpose of the communication in addition to instructions on treatment of acronyms, numbers, and figures, etc. And if you have preferred terminology or even a glossary you need to provide it in advance.
A professional translation provider will probably ask you all the relevant questions. But you need to make sure to get involved in the task at hand by providing instructions before translation starts. If you wait to provide feedback after translation is delivered, and decide to change one term for another (both perfectly valid), or decide you prefer to address your audience in a certain way (formally [usted] vs. informally [tú] in Spanish, for example), a simple “search and replace” won’t do it. Translators will have to read the whole sentence or document to make sure they make edits to verb conjugation and adjectives, for example, thus investing extra time they will have to charge for.
Let’s say that you needed a translation from English to Spanish of a Training Course on Leadership, 100 pages in length. You did not provide any instructions except that this was a rush deadline job. You were not able to answer your translation provider’s questions because you were away for several weeks on a business trip, etc. The translation comes back to you when you return to the office and you realized it was done in USTED (a more formal Spanish). But since your course is addressed to college graduates, you think it would have been better to use friendlier and more informal Spanish (TÚ). Additionally, you would have preferred to keep some terminology in English such as “feedback”, etc. etc. You could have made those preferences clear at the beginning of the translation process but you did not, and now you have to make an additional request for the translation to be edited, and you will have to pay for the translator to read a good portion of those 100 pages to make the editing changes you desire.
Here is an actual example of an English to Spanish translation — the Abstract from a Training Course on Leadership:
“You will learn how to conduct difficult conversations and deliver valuable and constructive feedback. You will explore your leadership style and personal competencies.”
“Aprenderá cómo entablar conversaciones difíciles y brindar retroalimentación provechosa y constructiva. Explorará su estilo de liderazgo y competencias personales”.
New Translation per client´s edit request:
“Aprenderás cómo entablar conversaciones difíciles y brindar feedback provechoso y constructivo. Explorarás tu estilo de liderazgo y competencias personales”.
Language Concepts Consulting is a boutique provider of multilingual translation services. Languages we translate from and into include: English, French, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese and many more. We partner with organizations looking to penetrate and/or serve the multicultural markets in the USA, and Latin America. We provide native-quality and culturally-sensitive translations that get our client’s message across and resonates with their target audience.