If you’ve never translated learning and development material before and you’re not a linguist yourself, then you may be worried about the quality of future L&D translations.
How will you know that your translation team has delivered high quality, accurate and market-appropriate translations if you don’t understand the languages? It can be nerve-wracking entrusting your content to a linguist or translation service provider without speaking the language.
Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your learning and training translations are of high quality. By following the steps below, you will be able to identify the right translation team for your project and have confidence that your translated content will be successful.
Let’s get started!
Incidentally, we have just published a new guide for L&D teams that I’m sure you would find useful. Called Making the case for translating and localising L&D programmes, it’s a great starting point for organisations that haven’t translated their learning and training content before. Get your copy today by clicking on this link.
Five steps to high-quality learning and training translations
- Use qualified professional linguists
Sometimes L&D teams work with their local market colleagues to translate content. This can be effective when a bilingual colleague has translation experience, but if they haven’t, it can create all sorts of problems.
Inexperienced translators take much longer to translate content than someone who does the job professionally. Local colleagues will also have other jobs to do, which makes it hard for them to prioritise your L&D translations. Moreover, you still won’t have the independent quality checks in place to ensure the final translations are perfect.
Many of our clients have found that the best solution is to work with a professional translation company to deliver the translations, then local market colleagues review and approve the translations, providing you with feedback on the translations as to the quality and any minor amends that might need to be made.
- Use native-speaking linguists
Translators produce their best work when translating content into their mother tongue. If you’re working with a translation service provider, you should check that they use native-speaking translators and insist that native linguists handle your project. This alone will dramatically increase the chances of receiving a good quality translation.
- Use translators with specialist expertise
As well as having professional translation experience, I recommend you also work with linguists that have specific knowledge of L&D translations. That’s because they will have a better understanding of how to engage employees in the target market and therefore, will optimise the translations accordingly.
Skilled linguists will also be able to advise you on how to increase the effectiveness of your translated learning and training content within the market. Alongside your local market colleagues, your translation team should bring useful insights and practical experience to the table.
The translation team should also include linguists with technical knowledge of the subjects covered in your training materials. They will help ensure that the localised content is accurate and, when appropriate, compliant with industry regulations in each market.
- Check references and accreditations
Employ translators with a professional qualification such as a language degree, Diploma in Translation (DipTrans.), or equivalent local qualifications. Ask your translation service providers for references and details of the linguists who will be assigned to your translation project.
Also, work with providers who are members of professional bodies like the Association of Translation Companies. The membership criteria provides confidence and peace of mind for anyone looking for a competent, trustworthy and professional translation service.
- Work with providers with quality assurance certification
Attaining quality standards certification, such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 17100:2015, requires the translation service provider to put in place robust processes and quality controls. Therefore, these quality standards serve as a clear indicator that a translation company has quality at the heart of its business.
To find out more about what these ISO standards mean to our clients, and for an overview of the quality controls Comtec adhere to, please visit our translation quality standards page here.
A final thought on getting high-quality L&D translations…
It’s important to understand that the translation industry isn’t regulated like medical, legal or financial services. That means that anyone can set themselves up as a translator without having obtained any relevant qualifications and experience.
Fortunately, professional linguists and translation companies can self-regulate by obtaining industry qualifications, accreditations and quality standards certifications, along with putting in place their own checks and processes to ensure exceptional quality.
So when you’re looking for a translation team to help you with your L&D content, checking these credentials is an effective way of finding a trusted provider.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the subjects covered in this blog post, leave a comment below or get in touch directly.
If you haven’t got a copy of our latest guide for L&D teams exploring translations for the first time, download your copy today!