Translation Tips

Translation Tips

Translation Tips

Does it need translating?

Make sure you only have the relevant sections translated or think of alternatives, such as using diagrams or pictures to ensure you get a good return on your investment. Don’t waste money having text translated that isn’t necessary. Remember cost is based on the number of words so reducing one will automatically reduce the other!

Think ahead

Planning the translation process will ensure you get the best results. Think about how long it has taken for the original version to be written and allow plenty of time to get the translations completed. Make sure the source document is finalized before sending it for translation – last minute amendments to the source can cause delays and risk errors being introduced in the translated document.

Talk to your translator / translation company

Make sure it is clear what the document is going to be used for and clearly define the target audience. It is important that the style of writing and the dialect are appropriate for the people who will be reading or using the text.

Industry experience

Every industry or business sector has its own specialist terminology. You may think it is fairly general because you work with it every day but to an outsider there will be terms that are unfamiliar. So, it’s important to make sure your translator is experienced in your industry so that the correct terms are used and your text sounds right.

Native speakers

You should always ensure a native speaker of the target language carries out the translation work. Regardless of how familiar a non-native is with the language, they will never be able to work it as well as a native. It is also preferable if the native speaker lives in their country of origin so they can keep up-to-date with the developments in their language.

Involve your technical experts

If you have foreign distributors / sales managers etc., get them involved in the translation process. Not only can they help you verify the quality of the translation, but they will also feel that they have had an input in the creation of the document and feel more confident about using it to sell your products. They are also the best references for any specialist in-house terminology.

Expect questions

This is not a sign of weakness but a commitment to quality and your success. A translator has to understand a text before they can convey it in another language and therefore may need to clarify certain phrases or sentences.

Revision, review and proofreading

Translation companies should always be clear about what level of service is recommended for a project and whether revision, review and proofread are included in any quotations they provide. The revision process should be carried out by a second translator with experience and qualifications in the subject area.


Once you have invested your time and money in a good, quality translation, don’t waste it with poor typesetting. Different conventions apply to different languages and it is all too easy to fall into traps that will create a bad impression on the reader.

Remember, cheapest is not always best value

It is your company’s reputation that is at stake, so why risk a poor, cheap translation to represent you? Think about the time and money you invest in marketing and promoting your company in your own language. That investment could all be lost in a foreign market if you don’t take account of these tips and ensure your translations really work for you.

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