Why Context Can Make (or Break) Your Translation Project
Context is Everything
Many of our translation projects nowadays combine media and text elements to create a holistic experience. It’s rare that we simply translate blocks of text anymore. This means that our translations have to be more than linguistically correct—we have to think about where the text is going, how it’ll be used, and how it might appear on a website, software interface, or piece of marketing content. To get truly localized, seamless content, we need to know the context.
In-context translation and review helps you create content that looks like it was designed for your global audiences. Translation tools that allow you to see how subtitles might appear in a video, or how text will be spaced on a website, for example, help you produce translations with an eye to their surroundings. Some content management systems have these capabilities built in, while others may only provide in-context review (or no context at all). If you need to translate any kind of multimedia content, though, having in-context options can cut down errors and ensures that you can cover your localization and design bases in a single step.
At Venga, we have a number of tools and strategies developed to help you get contextualized translations and produce high-quality content.
Being able to see the video while you are transcribing the text and adding subtitles makes for much faster subtitling work. Our tool, Venga InView for Subtitling, allows linguists to translate right into the video, and make adjustments for differences between languages. For example, they can simply extend the time that a subtitle is on screen by dragging a bar, instead of having to go in and manually change the time code. Also, one can double-check that the words are matching what is going on at the time in the visuals since the software displays both media and subtitles in real-time. Your internal reviewers will appreciate the simplicity too.
InDesign is often used for more visual content, and review of InDesign files occurs more smoothly if done in-context. Seeing how all the different text and images relate to each other will make both the translation and the final review process better, and InView for InDesign makes this possible. For instance, if you are translating something from Chinese to German, the text is going to get a lot longer. This may affect the spacing and aesthetics of your content, so you want to be able to see what the German text would look like in the final version to ensure that your content still looks as you intended it to.
A simple phrase like “Happy Birthday” can expand over double from Chinese to German:
German: Alles Gute zum Geburtstag
Often, translators are given a string of text to translate that is not in context. For example. If they’re working on a webpage, they will often get a view that looks something like this:
They will have the original language on one side and then need to input the target language on the other. While this is doable, sometimes content can be mistranslated if not seen in context.
Take the word “submit,” for example, which has a number of context-dependent meanings. It could be the text is for a button on a website where the user needs to “submit” their information. In a video game, it might be one of a player’s two choices: to “Resist” and “Submit.” The translation of the word could be vastly different and unless the translator has some context, the potential for error is high.
Our WebToGlobal tool allows you to see the website as you’re working on it, and make localization decisions that respond to the website’s context. It draws on translation memory, too, so you can draw on previous in-context translations to help you decide on the appropriate translation.