In the previous Planning article we looked at 3 points that are important to consider in order to make sure your international communications get the right message across. Here we look at two more worthwhile tips to ensure you get maximum return on investment and really boost those export sales.
Don’t think of the translation process as simply being about substituting English words for foreign words – there’s a lot more to it than that and it’s important that you take control of it. The best way to take charge is to provide as much detail as possible to your translation company in the form of a brief, just as you would do when commissioning a copywriter to write for you in English.
But what information should you include in the brief? Well, first of all, what’s the purpose of the communication? What is it for? Is it a set of instructions which would require more straight-forward translation or is it a marketing brochure which would demand a more creative input?
Secondly, in which country will the translation be used? If you are looking to export to the South American market, for example, make sure you specify this, so that the translation comes back in South American Spanish rather than European Spanish. The same would apply for Portuguese for Brazil or Portugal, or French for Canada or African countries. There are clear differences similar to the differences between British and American English and it’s important to get the right variant of the language in order to make a good impression. It will also ensure you don’t waste time or money further down the line having to amend the translation to the right variant.
You will also need to consider who the target audience is and include it in the brief. Are you hoping to address a young or old audience, male or female, technical or more general? All these factors will determine the style of writing used by the translation team and again, will ensure that your written communications have a greater impact on the target market.
Finally, if you have any technical or market experts collaborating with you in a particular country, such as agents or distributors, let your translation company know so they can advise on any specific terminology used in the market or any relevant insights that can help to improve your impact on the marketplace.
So often we are asked to provide an urgent translation service because either it hasn’t been considered initially in the overall planning of the project or has been an afterthought at the end. Consequently, the translation is not given sufficient time to do it justice. If you think about having to write a piece of text yourself, whether it be a news article, a page for your website, a piece of correspondence to a client or even a set of instructions for a piece of equipment, you are likely to spend time making sure you include the most salient points and, particularly if there is a marketing angle, making sure you get the right tone and style. You may not be able to read a translated text, but it is still crucial that the translator is given the right amount of time to ensure they write appropriately and accurately according to the brief, so that your message is conveyed in the most appropriate way. The reviser then needs time to carry out their stage of the translation process to ensure an accurate, well-penned output in the foreign language.
There are, of course, financial implications when requesting last minute translation work. Translators will be able to turnaround a set number of words per day, usually around 2,000 – 2,500, depending on subject matter and language combination. So, in order to fulfil urgent requests more quickly, it could mean translators working outside normal office hours at a premium. All in all this could result in you paying more for work that has been done quickly and possibly not as well as it would have been done with the right amount of time.
This is why it is important to schedule in the translation stage at the beginning and make sure it is included in the project budget. That way, you can allow time to get a good job done and you can keep control of your financial investment.
By Helen Provart, Managing Director, November 2021
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