5 Ingredients for High-Quality Translations
As much as some of us would wish, translation is not an exact science. When used properly, it can be a powerful tool. But the complexity of language can just as easily evoke sentiments and trigger emotional responses. Crafting a high-quality translation involves many factors — many of them more than just linguistic — and can sometimes seem like the holy grail of localization.
Our clients invest a lot of their time and effort creating content with a clear goal in mind (attracting new customers, increasing the number of hits on their pages, improving their conversion rate on their eCommerce websites). They cannot afford to get their brand, message and commercial impact lost in translation. Their end customers will contact their brand and products through our translations in several key markets, so we’re always thinking about how to produce the best translation for our client’s particular situation.
The way companies talk to their customers is a critical part of their efforts to build trust with their customers. At Venga, we aim to craft all our translations so that they hit the right note and carry the same message and impact as the content originally created in the source language. Since the user experience will be directly affected by the language used in the translations, the tone is extremely important, and it needs to be adjusted to suit each local market. What works in Japan may be very different from what works in Brazil, and we bring our extensive knowledge of nuances in translation and localization to all of our projects.
There is no one size fits all approach to achieving and maintaining good translation quality, but a quality translation is built from several fundamental elements. At Venga, we are constantly searching for the best translation and localization processes to bring to our clients. Here’s what we’ve learned over the years:
1.Know the content type and the target audience – Before any content gets translated, we first answer these key questions: what are we translating for this client? Who is going to read the content and what is their profile?
2. Learn what the client’s expectations are – Before we begin translating, we listen to what our clients have to say and learn what their objectives are. This type of information is very important for translators, so they get in the right frame of mind and, when translating, choose the right words that will convey the right message in the appropriate tone. We want those choices to come naturally to translators, and we help by sharing as much information as possible with them.
3. Line up the right linguists for the content being translated – You can have amazing technical translators in your pool of linguists, but they might not be the right fit to translate a marketing campaign. Translation skills can be very specific and are not always transferable. When you achieve the right fit between translators and content, you are already halfway on the road to achieving quality. In the world of tight turnaround times and limited budgets, choosing the wrong linguist for the job is also far from ideal. At Venga, we’ve crafted a large pool of linguists to be able to handle the many types of translation needs, and before we begin creating content, we first consider the linguist that will be most appropriate for your translation request.
4. Talk to your linguists and make sure all information is shared and language assets available – Contrary to a common misconception, there is not just one right way to translate a text–the right translation might vary by cultural context, time period, and the client’s desired audience. Translators need guidelines and as much information as possible about the text they are going to translate. We use our linguistic and cultural expertise to steer our linguists in the right direction and support them during the translation process. For example, we equip our translators with glossaries and clear guidelines, so they can then spend the time they would spend researching terminology on polishing the final text to improve its style and readability.
5. Check the files before delivery –We know that translation is a human process, and therefore prone to errors. It is important to have solid processes in place so the translations are reviewed and are ready to be delivered to clients. However, we have checks in place that help us ensure the right process was followed and, for example, there is no unintentional untranslated content in the files.
By adopting these best practices, we build strong relationships with our clients and translators and help them achieve their objectives all over the world.