Translation quality can be highly subjective. Many times, there is no one “correct” translation of a text. Both translators and customers might struggle to objectively assess quality when there is so much subjectivity involved. Most professional translators and customers would agree that a good translation communicates the same meaning and intention as the original, but sounds like it was originally written in the target language. But how can you as a customer be sure of getting a good translation?
Before you send off your text to be translated, here are a few things you can do in five minutes to help your translator create a fast, high-quality translation.
1. Provide as much context as possible
The best way for you to help your translator create a high-quality translation is to provide as much contextual information as possible. Make sure your translator knows the answer to the following questions.
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the content type?
- Is the tone/style casual or formal?
- What type of medium will you share the translated text on?
- If the text is about your company, what is your job title and specific role in the company?
2. Provide high-quality source text
Make sure the source text is clear. Beware of using text that has already gone through machine translation because that usually doesn’t lead to high-quality translations. You should proofread the source text for misplaced words or sentences before submitting it for translation.
3. Develop a style guide
Style guides provide instructions to translators on language usage, composition, and orthography. You can use the style guide to communicate to the translator on your preferences about the reading level, vocabulary choice, capitalization, punctuation, spelling and grammar. You could also specify whether you would like the translator to use American or British English, or write in an informal or business tone.
Style guides also help to ensure that the writing has a consistent tone throughout the text. If you are just looking for overall consistency, you could ask the translator to follow a published style guide such as The Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press Stylebook, or Gengo’s Style Guide instead of making your own from scratch.
4. Use a glossary
A glossary is a collection of commonly used terms, phrases, and other specified words that occur in both the source and target languages. Glossaries are useful for ensuring that one term is used consistently to identify a single concept. For example, if your text is about blog posts, you can indicate in the glossary that the term “blog post” should always be used instead of other synonyms like blog, post, article, entry, or piece. We at Gengo have also published industry-specific glossaries in multiple languages to help you maintain consistency across multiple documents and help translators deliver high-quality work in less time.
5. Actively communicate with the translator
The best quality is achieved through communication between the customer and translator. Please consider making yourself available for questions from the translator, and collaborating with the translator to create the perfect translation for your project needs.
6. Use preferred translators
Have you previously worked with a translator through Gengo and were happy with their quality? If so, you can add them as a preferred translator. This gives them priority access to your jobs, which can be useful if you needed to translate technical content and the translator had a good understanding, or you simply liked the writing style.
We hope you consider using some of the above tips for receiving a high-quality translation. If you have a few minutes to spare before submitting your translation order, please take these six simple steps to receive the best translation possible.