When choosing a translator or translation agency to work with, you’re essentially starting a relationship with a business partner. If your company launches itself into the international market or has constituents who don’t speak English, the quality of translations your business disseminates could make or break your business. Below are some tips to get you started thinking about how to make your relationship with your translator more fluid and productive.
Determine Why You Need a Translation
Do you need a translation for information purposes or for publication purposes? Have a conversation with your translator about why you need the translation: is it to sell your product abroad to millions or to inform 5 staff people in a foreign office of a policy change? Of course, a great translator will make sure that any translation is suitable for its audience, but for-publication translations demand only the highest level of polish and accuracy while for-information translations transmit information.
Pay Attention to the Details in the Source Document
Make sure that your source document is clearly written and finalized before passing it along to your translator. This will save both you and the translator time as she/he won’t need to contact you repeatedly for clarification of the message or wording of what you provided. Also, be careful to send only source documents that are ready to be disseminated or published as sending draft copies will hold up translation of the document. If there are significant changes to the source document that the translator already worked on, you might be asked to pay extra fees for the extra work.
Keep in mind the cultural references and linguistic choices that you make in the source document, as they might not translate well into the target language. Also, be aware of the target audience for your translation and make sure that your translator knows what you expect. This will head off any misunderstanding that might occur if the translator wasn’t sure whether the document was meant for all of Latin America or only one country.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Most misunderstandings between client and translator can be avoided if the client is forthcoming about the project and the translator asks questions when necessary. It’s important to remember that some translations are more time intensive than others and that you need to communicate the details of a project ahead of time so that the translator can return quality work to you by the established deadline.