When securing the services of a translation agency for an English to Spanish translation, buyers should keep in mind the following points:
When a document is translated from English to Spanish, the resulting translation often contains up to 20% more words than the source text. This phenomenon, known as text expansion, occurs because Spanish often requires more words than English to express the same idea. Text expansion is a particularly relevant issue for documents that must be formatted for print publication.
Informal vs. Formal Tone
The English language employs the pronoun “you” in both informal and formal situations, whereas Spanish offers a choice of pronouns (tú vs. usted) depending upon the formality of the text. Technical, medical or academic texts will likely use a formal tone (usted), while personal correspondence or marketing materials – where the idea is to foster a sense of closeness with the reader – call for more relaxed, informal language (tú). Identify the tone you’d like to transmit through your translation, and discuss your thoughts with the translation agency’s project manager.
Know Your Target Audience
Before purchasing a translation, determine the target audience for your materials. A translation for Spanish speakers in Latin America will vary significantly from one produced for European Spanish speakers. If possible, identify the exact location of your target audience. In the case of a document that’s meant to have broad appeal, neutral Spanish may be the best compromise, as it avoids regionalisms, colloquial language, and certain verb tenses and conjugations that hint at a particular dialect.
Sometimes a translation project entails more than just translating the words on the page. In the case of presentation slides, pamphlets, websites and software, for example, the text must be formatted for either digital or print publication. Decide whether you will be responsible for formatting the finished translation or if the agency will provide that service. Most full-service translation agencies offer desktop publishing (DTP) and formatting options, but remember that you will likely incur an extra expense in addition to the translation costs.