Why words translate into business

Translating web and marketing content can be a tricky business. But there are a number of things companies can do to reap the rewards.

Sticking to short, simple sentences, establishing a glossary of terms and putting in place a thorough review process are just a few ways to make the process easier and more effective.That, and establishing a good working relationship with your translations partner.Here, Sophie Howe explains the best way to achieve this:

Create a clear brief

What is your objective? Who is your target market? Is there a particular tone and style required?It’s important that your partner understands the purpose of the text they’re translating in order to get it right. So, if copy needs to be more technical or creative, to inform or to sell, ensure the nature and purpose of this is made clear from the outset.

Prepare content

Writing content for an international audience presents challenges – both technical and cultural. But, by sticking steadfastly to the following rules, success will follow:

  • Use simple English with short, concise sentences.
  • Avoid idioms where possible.
  • Make sure terminology is consistent.
  • Allow for expansion of text. For example, text translated from English to German can increase in size by up to 50 per cent.
  • Tailor your content to how it will be consumed. For example, use smaller pieces of text when it is being viewed on mobile phones.

Collate existing material

By bringing together all existing translated material – technical manuals, datasheets, marketing brochures – it can be used as a reference point by your translation partner and to create a translation memory*. This is a time-consuming exercise, as it can involve working with local markets, but it ensures translation consistency going forward and helps reduce the time taken on future projects.

*For more information on Comtec’s use of translation memory software, please read this article

Create a glossary of terms

Every industry, and indeed company, has a specific set of terminology. Your translation partner should begin by compiling a glossary of key terms of technical and marketing content. This should be then translated using any existing reference material and signed-off before the project begins. If the initial project is small, a glossary can be started and expanded over time as more material is translated in future.

Establish a review process

Take time to feedback to your translations partner on their work at interim stages so that there are no nasty surprises come the end. Do you have contacts in local markets that can review content for style, tone and terminology? This will ensure local styles and cultural values are reflected. Ask your translations partner to advise on their approach, depending on the file format. But always ensure that you give this part of the process adequate time.

Read how Comtec Translations worked with agency Cogent Elliott to effectively translate print and online content for Jaguar in over 20 languages. Click here to find out more.

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