London translation agency Comtec reveals 10 top tips for successful technical translation

As a London translation agency we regularly work with companies that have branches overseas and do business in local markets all around the world. Over the last 30 years we’ve honed our approach to translating technical materials that are accurate and accessible to our clients’ local audiences. Here are our ten top tips for successful translation brochures, catalogues, websites and manuals containing technical terminology.

  1. Formulate a clear translation brief. This will include factors like your timescale, target audiences, any key messages you want to communicate, and what sort of overall tone and style you prefer for your marketing materials. The more information you give, the more the result is likely to match your expectations.
  1. Make a glossary of technical jargon. Every business sector and industry has its own acronyms and specialist terms that may not immediately make sense outside of it. Your company may also have its own abbreviations and short-hand it uses to communicate internally. Start by listing these, with explanations, so that your translator can work with you to create equivalents in the local language.
  1. Simplicity is key. Short sentences and a straightforward message in your copy provide the best starting point for effective translation.
  1. Use sector-specific translators. Ideally, you’ll need someone who is familiar with your sector and industry as well as the language of your target audience.
  1. Set the context. The more background information you can provide, the better. As well as having a grasp of the overall sector, your translator will require information about the specific product or service in question and your company’s general activities to help them understand your message.
  1. Make sure you have access to native speakers. It’s not enough to know the language well: you need a translator who is immersed in the language and appreciates the subtleties of local dialects, which can often be markedly different. (For example, materials provided in continental Spanish would not be 100% suitable for a Latin American audience.) Comtec is a London translation agency but we have a network of more than 3,000 translators based around the world for this reason.
  1. Understand cultural factors. Translating marketing materials is not just about finding the right words. Different expressions, images and colours can mean something different in other cultures, even when the language is the same. Understanding how your target market works is key.
  1. Gain regular feedback. One of the best ways to ensure successful translation is to submit an early sample to be reviewed within the company, and at intervals throughout the process. You can learn from this and iterate if necessary.
  1. Check with a local market team. Similarly, towards the end of the process you should run a last check of your translated material with an audience on the ground in your chosen market area. Any feedback can be used to fine-tune the translation before the final version is released.
  1. Ask the experts. Unless you have a lot of in-house expertise, you will struggle to carry out these steps and to engage effectively with your target market. Comtec are a professional and award-winning London translation agency with extensive experience of developing effective translations of technical marketing materials. We’d be very happy to discuss helping you to reach new markets around the world.

If you are looking for professional translation services in London, please get in touch at london@comtectranslations.com or call us on +44 (0) 20 7329 5004. We’re here ready and waiting to help.

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