We’ve all come across translated sales literature or instruction manuals in which the translations don’t read fluently or the terminology used is just downright odd. I’m sure you will also have seen well-known examples from the many lists of ‘top 10 bad translations’ that can be found online. But, in all seriousness, it’s detrimental for a company’s image to feature on ‘funniest translations’ lists.
After all, poor translations mean poor sales. Avoiding such issues is all the more crucial when translating technical marketing content, where it’s essential to strike a balance between accurately translated technical terminology, and the more stylistic approach needed for marketing purposes.
It can be a tricky line to draw, that’s why we’ve laid out everything you need to consider when balancing technical accuracy and creative flair in translations.
Getting the terminology right
Technical and marketing texts require very different skill sets. For technical translation projects, it’s important to look for native speakers, but also to choose linguists with real-life technical industry experience or related qualifications. As technical experts, they are complete perfectionists when translating technical terms accurately and consistently (you don’t want to confuse customers by using different terms for the same product or part within the same brochure) and, of course, they will spot any technical errors that could mislead readers.
Developing engaging translated copy
A good marketing translator will have an eye for style. With natural creative flair, they know exactly how to translate and develop appropriate and engaging copy for overseas customers that also stays true to the original. Marketing translators need to have a good understanding of the target market (they translate only into their mother tongue) and the sector or brand involved to help promote the product as effectively as possible.
Technical accuracy versus marketing style
Translating marketing materials full of technical terms can present a bit of a challenge: you don’t want a technically correct manual that reads awkwardly, nor do you want a creatively written brochure or website that’s completely inaccurate.
To navigate this, selecting the right linguists from the get-go is essential. It’s rare that you will find a translator with extensive industry-specific technical know-how and creative marketing flair. So, to make sure you get perfectly translated content, you may want to combine the two into one mighty translation team:
- A specialist technical translator to deliver an accurate and consistent initial translation of the document(s) at hand.
- A creative marketing translator to fully proofread and refine the translation(s) to deliver copy that’s accessible, fluent, effective and engaging for customers.
More tips on ensuring top quality
At Comtec, our approach is not just about picking the right team of translators. Here are 6 more steps we take to deliver the perfect translation:
- Content review: Understanding is key, so we make sure to review any existing approved translations or reference material to stick closely to our client’s requirements.
- Marketing localisation brief: We also supply our clients with a brief to complete with any additional requests or preferences they want us to adhere to.
- Glossary of key terms: Developing a translated glossary of key technical terms is a sure-fire way to deliver consistent translations.
- Sample translations: Sending a sample translation to the client right at the beginning of the project helps us to get feedback early in the process.
- Translation memory: We use translation memory software to store and re-use all translated content. This ensures our projects are accurate, consistent and cost-effective.
- Target market review: We provide all translations in an easily editable format to capture feedback from our clients and their target markets. We then incorporate any preferential changes post-review directly into our translation memories.