Proofreading a text

How to proofread your own translation

A common belief is that translators can proofread their own texts due to their language and linguistic skills. However, this is often not the case as translators become ‘blind’ to their own mistakes. No matter how many times they read a text, they may not spot every error.

Working with a translation agency will probably mean that another translator or proofreader will check your translation. However, if you work with direct clients, there may not automatically be another pair of proofreading eyes.

Proofreading your own translation

Whether it is you or someone else who is going to be doing the final proofread, you should always make your target translation text as error-free as possible. Some tips of the trade below should help you proofread your own work:

Take a break

The first rule of proofreading your own translation is to take a break before doing it. Proofreading straight after you have completed a translation will heighten the risk of you missing your errors. You need to leave the text for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Different format

Reading the translation in a different format can make you see mistakes that you haven’t noticed on screen. Printing out a hard copy and marking up with a pen is one option, but changing the size, color or font of the document is also useful.

Don’t rely on spellcheckers

Spellcheckers will only pick up on spelling mistakes, but won’t highlight when you have accidentally used a wrong word. ‘Fact’ can easily become ‘fat’ and ‘from’ often becomes ‘form’ when typing quickly.

Search and replace

The search and replace function is an effective tool for finding a variety of errors. All translators make the same repeated mistakes, often in the form of a typo, writing ‘teh’ instead of ‘the’ or adding in spaces to words turning ‘to this’ into ‘tot his’. Using search and replace is a good way of finding your common mistakes, as well as highlighting double spaces, and also checking any numbers, digits, place names or business names that must be 100% accurate.

Using Playback

Using a program to play back your text to you is an excellent option. Mistakes that you have not spotted will become very clear to you when you hear them out loud.

Point at the words

If you decide to print off your work to proofread it in hard copy format, simply pointing your pen at the words will focus your eyes and brain more and will make it easier to pick out any problems.

Reverse reading

Master the skill of reverse reading – literally read each word from the last to the first. This will make you concentrate on the words rather than the content.

Find a proofreading buddy

Teaming up with a fellow translator as a proofreading buddy is a cost-effective way of having someone else look over your work. A reciprocal arrangement will mean you both benefit.

Highlight errors in the source text

Having studied a language for many years, you will be able to spot any errors in a source text. Make a note of them and highlight them to the client. It’s a nice touch and will make them more forgiving if a couple of your errors do slip through!

Not all the above techniques will work for all translators, so the best way is to try a few out and find which ones suit you. Proofreading is an essential part of translation and these tips will help towards you creating error-free texts.

 

Best Hashtags for the Translation Industry

Who knew that with the launch of Twitter would come such a change for one simple symbol that had already existed for decades? The hashtag. An integral part of the world of Twitter and other popular social networks. Here we look at the best ones for translators to use.

First though, let’s a have a look at exactly what they do…

The purpose of the hashtag

Placed before keywords, the main purpose of the hashtag is to connect people with others who are talking about the same topic as they are. This can be done in two ways:

  1. By including a hashtag in your message, you will increase its exposure, making it visible to others who are interested in that topic. This reach goes beyond your followers and can, in effect, increase your number of followers if they want to hear more from you.
  2. In a world where there is too much news, content and information at our fingertips, you can search for a specific hashtag to see the latest conversations around a certain topic. For example: by searching #translation, you will see all the other tweets talking about this topic.

It’s not as simple as #translation

#translation may be one of the most used hashtags in the translation industry, but they are not all quite so simple. According to Keyhole.co, these are the top hashtags used by translators:

 

Hashtag Impressions Reach
#translation 2,122,167 1,600,656
#xl8 1,178,968 463,199
#t9n 975,865 355,148
#l10n 991,527 537,649
#linguistics 245,756 234,076
#medxl8 13,886 6,211
#CrossCulture 230,991 123,698
#MT 7,902,023 1,335,027
#translators 523,129 273,877
#t9njobs 672,904 85,579
#translatorslife 4,302 4,302
#Interpreter 672,546 339,851
#t9y 708,306 183,275
#LSPs 19,715 19,715
#xl8events 28,376 20,055

 

How to Translate Translation Hashtags

For newbies in the translation industry, this will all look like another language that needs translation in itself. Even for the pros, there may still be some explanation needed. In order to be able to use the most relevant translation hashtags, there are two main points to understand from the list above:

Hashtag Explanation Meaning Similar Hashtags
 

 

#xl8

 

 

x = trans

l = the sound for the letter L

8 = eight/ate

 

 

 

translate

#medxl8 =

medical translation

 

#techxl8 =

technical translation

 

 

#t9n

 

 

 

 

t + 9 letters + n

 

 

translation

#l10n =

localization

 

#t9njobs =

translation jobs

 

These ‘coded’ type of hashtags is more popular, as only people within the translation industry know about them, so it keeps content and information more relevant to the actual field.

As trends change, hashtags will change, so it is important to keep up-to-date to be able to use social networks to its full potential to gain and share information within the translation world.

Which industries are most in need of translation services?

Translation is becoming key in so many industries, it may be easier to answer the question of which industries are NOT in need of translation. With the global market expanding before our eyes, translation services are becoming more sought after by an ever-growing variety of industries.

Here, we will look at which industries are seen to most need translations services.

E-Commerce Industry

The e-commerce industry in the US grew by 15.6% in 2016, reaching a total of $394.86 billion. Any online business that wants to sell their products or services internationally should consider translation services. Anyone clicking onto a website who doesn’t speak the mother tongue of the country that business is based on will soon click away if they do not see those magic flags in the top right hand corner of the home page, signaling a translated website.

Finance and Legal Industries

As international trade booms, large financial transactions take place every day. Contracts, reports, correspondence all have to adhere to legal standards and trade and market laws, and the only way to accomplish this is to ensure accurate translation of these documents.

In addition, any company wanting to do business outside of the US needs to show willing to strengthen client relationships by employing specialized translators to facilitate communications and legal matters.

Medical Industry

Internationally and within countries such as the US where Spanish is the first language of a large proportion of the population, translation in the medical industry is paramount to safe practice, for patients and doctors alike. For more information see our articles:

A Guide to Translating Health Care Materials into Spanish – First Part

A Guide to Translating Health Care Materials into Spanish – Second Part

Travel and Tourism Industry

The travel and tourism industry is all about communication between people from different countries, who speak different languages. Be it booking websites, brochures, destination guides or even online reviews, the more material that is translated, the more successful the industry will be and the larger the gain for the country’s economy.

Human Resources Industry

No matter what the industry, any company that has a significant proportion of employees who speak another language should consider translation services essential. This is of particular importance in the US, where many companies have a growing presence of Spanish-speaking workers.

Translation of human resources documents protects both the company and the employees. In the event of an altercation being brought to court, a company who has translated employee manuals, safety documents, policies and procedures into Spanish will stand up much better in front of a judge.

And of course, the translation industry is also in need of translation! A translation services website that is translated into the language of its target audience will attract much more traffic and business.

Translating Health Care Documents to Spanish

A Guide to Translating Health Care Materials into Spanish – Second Part

In our last article, we discussed the benefits of translating health care materials into Spanish, and looked at some of the steps involved in the process. Once the decision has been made to translate the materials, the next step is to find a qualified translator. Here, we offer you a guide to recruiting qualified medical translators and to ensuring that the finished product is useable and fit for purpose.

Recruiting a qualified medical translator

Recruiting a qualified medical translator entails much more than finding someone who is bilingual. Although this is one of the necessary qualifications, a translator employed to translate health care materials must also possess considerable expertise and experience in the subject matter to be able to understand the source text.

A key decision is whether to employ a freelance medical translator or a translation agency. Although freelancers can be seen as a less expensive option, translation agencies offer a more comprehensive service, providing a whole team that will see a translation project through from start to finish. A project manager heads a team of translators and proofreaders, meaning that you save valuable time, which in effect saves you money.

Negotiating terms

After finding a qualified medical translator, terms need to be negotiated in regards to fees, completion dates and payment terms.

Spanish translators can charge in different ways, generally per word or per page. However, if the project is for a specific format, such as a pamphlet created in InDesign, translators may also quote a DTP fee. Where specialized knowledge and experienced is called for, higher costs should be expected.

Negotiations should be clear from the outset and should include that the translator will commit to staying with the project until completion. This should include proofreading and final revisions.

A further advantage of using a translation agency is that they usually offer discounts for large projects or for nonprofit organizations.

Development Phase

Throughout the development stage of a health care translation, close contact should be maintained between all parties, so that the translator can ask for clarification when needed. If the translation is a long-term project, possible reviews and updates should be specified in the quote.

Revisions

The revision stage can either be carried out by the translation agency, which will use other qualified medical translators within its team to review the document, or it can be carried out by the client. However, if you were to undertake the review process yourself, it is paramount that the reviewer is a Spanish native speaker and ideally has extensive experience in both translation and the medical topic in hand. Grammatical construction and usage, spelling and use of expressions should all be taken in consideration.

Final proofreading

If the translator or translation agency is not in charge of the Desktop Publishing task, the translator should be available to do a final proofreading of the text once it has been integrated into its final design format.

Although producing and translating health care materials into Spanish can be an investment in terms of both time and money, it is becoming an essential process in a country like the US which has a large Hispanic population. The benefits of the investment far outweigh the risks to patient health and the careers of health care providers.

Calendar of Translation Events – February 2017

4
WordstoDeeds. Words to Deeds 2017. Legal Translation to the Next Level. London, UK.

7

American Translators Association (ATA). Free ATA Continuing Education Webinar.
Spreading Your Wings: Transitioning from Classroom to Career

9

Wordsmith Communication. Wordcon 2017. Calcutta, India.

13-15

Israel Translators Association (ITA). ITA 2017 Conference. Tel Aviv, Israel.

16-17

Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCLS). National Council for Languages & International Studies (NCLIS). 2017 Language Advocacy Day & Delegate Assembly. Washington, DC, USA.

23-24
Together 2017. Berlin, Germany.

24-25
University of Bremen. 6th Bremen Symposium. Bremen, Germany.

25

El Paso Translators & Interpreters Association (EPITA). Jorge Dieppa Continuing Education Seminar. El Paso, TX, USA.

27-March 3

UBM Tech Game Network. Game Developers Conference. San Francisco, California, USA.

28-March 3

Localization World, Ltd. LocWorld Shenzhen. Shenzhen, China.

A Guide to Translating Health Care Materials into Spanish – First Part

Consider for a moment what it would be like if you broke your arm on holiday in Mexico. One minute you’re enjoying soaking up the sun in your resort, the next you slip on your way to the pool, and you’re on your way to hospital not understanding a word anyone says around you. From start to finish you don’t understand questions that are asked of you, never mind being able to answer them, and you realize that this communication barrier puts you at risk.

The situation is no better for the health care professionals at the hospital. As a doctor or nurse, treating patients you cannot communicate with is far from ideal. On the one hand, they are injured or sick and require treatment, but on the other hand medical treatment requires understanding and consent; proceeding without this is a risk to the patient and to the doctor´s reputation and career.

This exact situation is why producing and translating materials into different languages is an essential part of health care.

Why provide health care documents in Spanish?

Spanish is the second language of the US and 900,000 Hispanics live in North Carolina alone, which is nearly 10% of the state’s population. There is a considerable part of this population that has limited or even no English. Providing health care and medical documents in Spanish aids communication, but these translations need to be accurate and appropriate in order to achieve the following goals:

  • to ensure understanding of diagnosis, treatment and medication schedules, as well as any other educational or informative materials.
  • to eliminate the risk of patients unnecessarily attending services such as the emergency room. For example, a patient with sunstroke may just need rehydrating, but if the source of the problem cannot be communicated, the patient will end up taking up emergency resources.
  • patients will retain medical printed materials if the translation is of a high standard. Badly translated materials or materials in unknown languages are quickly discarded.
  • to protect medical professionals from legal proceedings as a result of miscommunication due to lack of professionally translated information.
  • to eliminate time being wasted trying to communicate in unknown languages.

Remember: Poorly translated medical and health care materials are as much of a risk as having no translated materials at all.  Only accurate, professional Spanish translations will help communication with Hispanic populations.

Recommended steps for health care translations

There are certain recommended steps that should be taken when planning health care translations.

Preliminary planning

Spend some time investigating whether the information you want to translate into Spanish already exists in your organization. If translated materials are already available, consider how you will evaluate them. The level of accuracy will need to be checked thoroughly as mistranslated information makes the purpose of a translation null and void. The reading level will need to be assessed to ensure it is of the correct level for the target audience, in certain situations a simplified text will be more appropriate.

Evaluating existing Spanish materials

When there is a sudden need for health care materials in Spanish, medical settings may use existing translations without evaluating them first. However, the evaluation step is crucial to ascertain if the material is accurate, appropriate and therefore usable.

This evaluation can be carried out by a Spanish speaker within your organization, or you will need to employ the services of a Spanish-speaking proofreader or editor who will be able to compare the content to the English version and check the quality and accuracy of the translation.

Other points that should be thoroughly checked include whether the text is culturally appropriate, whether it targets its audience in the appropriate way and finally whether it reflects your health care setting’s recommendations and provides up-to-date information.

Remember: Ordering pre-existing bilingual materials from a catalog or agency is no guarantee of quality and very few medical organizations have their own evaluation procedure.

How to present Spanish translated materials

Another important step when considering translating medical materials into Spanish is how they will be presented. There are various options to choose from:

  • having two separate versions: one in English, one in Spanish.
  • having one document with both languages. For one-page documents the English could be on one side and the Spanish on the other. For longer documents the translations could be separated into different sections, or the Spanish could be set in a block next to the English text.
  • including the Spanish under each line of English. However, this method tends to be used more for forms, as it looks untidy and can be hard to follow in extended pieces of texts.

In our next post, we will discuss how to recruit qualified translators, negotiate terms, the development phase and how to review and proofread translated materials.

How to translate a brochure to Spanish

Translating Brochures into Spanish: Best Practices

In the age of websites, questions are raised over whether translating brochures into Spanish, and indeed other languages, is still necessary.

Here, we explain why it is still an essential part of marketing and look at the best practices of this type of translation.

The need for brochure translation

However well-designed, effective and multilingual a company website is, the need for brochure translation as a marketing and sales tool remains.

Well-designed and well-written brochures give an impression of the wealth and success of a company, building client confidence. Without one, there is a time delay between referring a client to your website and the client actually looking. This allows for the risk factor of the client not taking the time to actually do so, or being attracted by the competition. Handing over a marketing material in paper form or emailing it directly into an inbox means potential clients have something concrete to refer to without trawling a website.

Paper form is particular beneficial for those who process better on paper, who need to feel something, be able to handle it, flick back and forth. Staring at a screen simply doesn’t allow information to be processed in the same way. This type of person will likely write on a paper brochure, underline, highlight and basically ‘think on paper’.

Spanish brochure translation

Spanish brochure translation is particularly beneficial, given the status of the language both in the US and worldwide. One of the six official languages of the US, 17.6% of the population declares Spanish as their first language. With over 472 million native speakers throughout 21 countries worldwide, Spanish is currently the second most spoken language in the world. Producing unilingual sales tools will limit reach dramatically.

What to consider when translating a brochure into Spanish

Factors to consider with Spanish brochure translation include:

  • Are you targeting a specific Spanish speaking audience or should neutral Spanish be used?
  • In order to obtain an accurate quote, most translation agencies request to review the document. Unless the brochure was created with MS Word, a PDF version rather than the source file is usually preferred.  If sending the entire file is not possible, a sizeable sample and the total word count will help the translation provider prepare the quote. Other information such as deadlines will also be necessary.
  • Decide who will be doing the desktop publishing. A brochure is usually created with a DTP program such as Adobe InDesign and if you want it with same format as the source document, you will need to pay for the agency to carry out the DTP task and the source file will be needed for the translator. Even if it is done with MS Word, the format can still be complex, so ensure to confirm with the translation agency if the format is included in the final price. The other alternative is to send the file in Word format and assign the DTP task to a qualified member within your team.
  • The translation should always be proofread. This can either be done by someone in your company, or the translation agency can assign a second translator do this. Also, consider asking the agency to review the final version once it is print-ready, if you are doing the DTP yourself.
  • Consideration needs to be given to the design. A translation from English into Spanish will have 15-30 percent more text, potentially creating the need for a different layout.  Features such as syllable separation, inverted exclamation and question marks, accents and the use of different characters such as ñ and ü all need to be considered.

Deciding to translate a brochure into Spanish means that you will be increasing the number of people reached, and in turn this will increase business for your company. Choosing the right translation agency and taking into consideration the above points will help you produce a professional Spanish brochure.

 

When choosing a translation agency is the right choice

The translation agency versus freelance translator decision is an important one for any company that is in need of translation work. As money is a key issue for any business, some companies automatically lean towards a freelancer, thinking they will be the less expensive choice, but is that always the right choice?

Advantages of translation agencies vs. freelance translators

Although at first glance, a translation agency may be a little more expensive, in the long run many companies find that it is far more time and cost effective to go through agencies than deal with a private freelancer.

Project team

One of the main advantages of a translation company is the fact that they have a team of translators, overseen by a project manager. This means that the correct translator for your specialized area will be chosen, ensuring high quality of work. Freelance translators generally only have one or two specialties.

In addition, a team means that there is always somebody to cover the work if a translator falls ill or becomes unavailable at the last minute. Choosing a freelancer means that there is a high risk of delay if anything unexpected arises.

Timeframes

In the event that you have a very large translation project, multiple translators will be assigned, meaning that the work can be turned around in a very short timeframe. The project manager will deal with all communications between the team, saving you time and making the whole project much more time efficient.

Proofreading and quality verification

Proofreading your own work is almost an impossible task, as however dedicated a freelancer is, it is very difficult to spot every typo or grammar error when you have written the text yourself. Most translation agencies provide a proofreading and quality verification service, meaning that translations are checked by a second translator, and when multiple translators are used for high volume projects, the work will be standardized to ensure consistency. Remember to check with the translation agency if revisions are made by a different translator than the one that translated the text

Other advantages

Other advantages of using a translation agency over a freelance translator are that there are generally more payment options available with agencies such as credit cards, and they are also more likely to have more advanced translation technologies that remain unaffordable for many freelancers.

Time is money

The reason we say that it can be more cost effective to go through an agency is that, quite simply, time is money. How much is you time worth? If you are spending time communicating with multiple freelancers, proofreading work and essentially project managing the translation project yourself, how much is that actually costing your company? Your time could be spent elsewhere. The difference in cost between an agency and a freelancer is often surprisingly negligible, especially when you take into consideration the above points.

The Schwa: A Native Speaker Feature

The schwa sound is a revelation that comes to learners of English as they progress to higher levels. Considered as a ‘native speaker feature’, it helps both pronunciation and understanding by changing the stress of words and sentence.

Often referred to as a reduced, weak or unstressed sound, the schwa doesn’t involve the lips or tongue, and is merely the noise emitted when we engage the vocal cords. However, it is an essential concept to grasp for any learner of English as a foreign language.

The Schwa and Stress

Being a stress-timed language, English relies on the schwa sound to avoid sounding robotic with overuse of stress, or sounding monotone through under use of stress. To achieve anything like native level speaking skills, the use of the schwa is essential.

When it comes to words being stressed or unstressed, generally speaking, words in English can be divided up into two groups:

Stressed: nouns, main verbs, adjectives and adverbs. These communicate the main message of the sentence and are therefore stressed.

Unstressed: auxiliary verbs, pronouns, articles, linkers and prepositions. These are often referred to as grammar words and are, in general, unstressed.

“We are Going to the Shops?”: Looking at the example sentence of “we are going to the shops”, the words marked in bold are the ones that would use the schwa sound, being an auxiliary verb, a preposition and an article respectively. The other words are the ones that are necessary to communicate the main message. Essentially, they could stand alone and the message would still get across: “we going shops”. Many elementary learners of English would use this exact structure, as would young children learning to speak their mother tongue.  However, grammatically this is incorrect.

Pronunciation, Understanding and Production

As already stated, grasping the use of the schwa will not only work towards achieving more native-like speech skills, but will also improve understanding. In turn, having more advanced understanding skills will lead to more accurate production.

Before understanding the use of the schwa, learners of English often just don’t hear it in sentences, and therefore reproduce those sentences incorrectly, as in the example given above. Other examples could be:

  • What are you talking about?  –  What you talking about?
  • They are arriving tomorrow  –  They arriving tomorrow
  • Come to my house – Come my house
  • I like the black one – I like the black one

The top two examples omit the auxiliary verb, the third drops the preposition and the fourth misses out the article.

More to Explore

There is a lot more to explore about the schwa, such as it being used for clusters of letters and also for stressed and unstressed syllables, but as a first insight the general concept of its use with stress in a sentence is key. Another angle of the schwa to look at would be its use in different accents as some use stress in different ways.

Is Being Bilingual Enough?

Parents of different nationalities who are raising their children to be bilingual are often met with comments that their children will grow up to be translators. This begs the question though of whether being bilingual is enough.

Whilst a child may grow up to be able to speak two languages, if they have been immersed mainly in only one culture, they will not necessarily be bicultural.

Here lies the question: does a translator need to be bicultural as well as bilingual?

Bilingual vs. Bicultural

Looking at The Oxford Dictionary for the definitions of bilingual and bicultural, we find the following:

  • Bilingual: Speaking two languages fluently
  • Bicultural: Having or combining the cultural attitudes and customs of two nations, peoples, or ethnic groups

Bilingual

Being bicultural is a lot more involved than being bilingual. Many people can become bilingual: university graduates, people who use a second language in their job, children of parents with different nationalities, and basically anyone who is willing to put in the hard work it takes to be able to use more than one language proficiently.

Bicultural

Becoming bicultural is not as straightforward as, generally speaking, it means somebody has to have lived within a certain community, experienced everyday life, eaten with them, taken part in traditional celebrations. Basically, they need to have lived and breathed the culture in the same way they have their native culture.

Why is Being Bicultural Important as a Translator?

Turning to the Oxford dictionary again, the definition of translation is ‘the process of translating words or text from one language into another’. Surely being bilingual should be enough if we take this definition literally, so why is it important for a translator to be bicultural too?

In reality, a translator needs to understand so much more than just the words and grammar of a language to be able to produce a true and accurate translation. Being bicultural as well as bilingual means that amongst many other aspects, the nuances, allusions and idiomaticity of a language and culture are understood; basically the information that a dictionary cannot always convey. Without this, a translation risks being stilted and awkward.

Bilingual is a Gateway to Bicultural

It is believed by some that being bilingual is a gateway to being bicultural. A person can be bilingual without being bicultural, but it would be very hard to be bicultural without being bilingual. Without language, it would be very difficult to enter into a community with enough depth to gain sufficient understanding and knowledge and meaning to be counted as bicultural.