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10 Ways to Ensure Quality Translation

Follow these tips for a great partnership with your chosen translation service. 

You've poured time and effort into creating deeply resonant, high-quality content for your company. When you hand off this content to professional translators, you want to ensure it returns as a quality translation that retains all the impact of the original.

Your partnership with your language services provider (LSP) is crucial to achieving this goal. After all, no matter how brilliant your translator is, it will be impossible for them to nail your brand’s voice and style without your help. Your input on these things, as well as your subject matter expertise, can be the difference between a mediocre translation and content that speaks to the hearts and minds of potential customers in a new market.

Whether it's your first time as a translation client, or translation is part of your regular workflow, it’s always possible to improve your process. As a 25-year veteran of building strong partnerships between businesses and translation teams, here's our advice for making the most out of your translation services experience.

10 Tips for Ordering Quality Translations

1. Include examples of previous translations.

Show your provider a range of past translation work that impressed you. If you don't have any previous translations, take a look at other companies' foreign language content and share examples of what you consider good and bad translations. The more examples you can provide your translator with, the better they’ll understand what you’re looking for. Sharing translation samples will also help you to agree on and implement a translation quality assurance process that suits your project.

2. Connect your translators and quality assurance team.

Work to actively foster collaboration and communication between the project's linguists and reviewers. Large LSPs should do this for you automatically, but if in doubt, you should always ask who will be reviewing the work and what access they’ll have to the translator. If all parties have the freedom to communicate with each other, it will lead to a more accurate and cohesive final translation.

3. Build out your project guidelines with in-country partners.

It goes without saying that you want to work with the best translation professionals working in your target language. However, it’s also possible to partner with in-country translation services to create approved glossaries for use in your translation process. A glossary should include a comprehensive overview of approved terminology, as well as an introduction to your brand standards and corporate style guidelines. In-country reviewers can add huge amounts of value to this process by identifying common pain points for translating into your target language. This helps to simplify your translation process and reduce friction for both this and future translation projects.

4. Supply brand guidelines and examples.

It helps to provide your team with branding documents in both the source and target language of your project. This helps to introduce translators and reviewers to your company’s brand voice and the style and tone that you'd like them to capture. Consider sharing some details about the mission and vision of your organization to round out their understanding of your business. This is also a great place for you to explicitly outline the kinds of inclusive language that your brand uses and flag any potential areas where implicit bias might creep into the content. The more detail you can give, the more likely that your translation will match your brand voice in this new language.

5. Update your source text before translation to ensure that it meets your quality standards.

Double check that your original content meets your standards before you begin to translate, as the text won't magically improve once it's translated into another language. In particular, determine whether the content is outdated, how long it has been since it last had an update, and whether the information it contains is accurate. This is particularly important if your content is technical, as your translator may not be an expert in the subjects you’re talking about. You will need to make sure that both the information and the tone of the piece is right in order for the translator to produce an accurate interpretation.

6. Allow your translators access to the text in context.

It can be difficult to get the nuance of a text exactly right if you’re given it in isolation. If you give your translation team access to the staging environment of your website, they’ll be able to see what their content will look like and review it in context. This is particularly useful when developing new pages for a global market, or when you plan to release a campaign in multiple regions simultaneously. Alternatively, you could include access to your web applications so that your team can review and test the UI elements of their work.

7. Allocate a reasonable amount of turnaround time for your translation project.

Always work with your contractors to ascertain how much time is enough for translators and in-country native reviewers to do their work, including proofreading. When setting deadlines, you should balance the need to move forward with the amount of time it takes to make a good translation. Obviously, the shorter the timeline the more the translator will have to rush - and the less likely it is that they’ll provide you with a high-quality translation.

8. Designate a point of contact for the project.

Designate a go-to resource at your company for your translation provider or translation management lead to contact with any questions. By setting clear lines of communication, you make it easier to resolve problems, saving yourself time and money.

9. Give your translators extensive validation and feedback.

Just as communication is important when kicking off a translation project, it’s also important to stay connected throughout the process. You should give your translators detailed feedback, highlighting specific sections that are true to the original text as well as adding suggestions for improvement if possible. You can either do this on an ongoing basis or when you receive a draft of the final text. This will ensure that the final text is true to your brand’s voice and style.

10. Work towards building long-term relationships.

If you follow all these tips, you’ll have invested a lot of time and effort into building out translation quality assurance processes with your chosen translation provider. You’ve also established a solid foundation which you can use to improve the quality of all of your future translation projects. Don’t waste all of that effort by repeating the process with a new vendor for every new project! Continue to invest in that relationship by returning to competent providers who know your company voice, mission and quality requirements. You’ll see a big impact on translation quality going forward.

The Secret to Quality Translation

The core thread running through each of these tips is a spirit of communication and collaboration with your translators. If you work together on comprehensive preparation, communication and a mutually convenient workflow, you and your language services provider can set yourself up for a long and successful partnership. When they have a clear understanding of your ideal outcomes, your translation provider will be able to deliver a quality translation service – and you'll be more likely to achieve your desired results.

If you’re looking for a language services provider with a proven track record of providing high-quality translation services for clients of all sizes, look no further than Lionbridge. Over the last 25 years, we’ve transformed thousands of websites, apps and applications. Get in touch with us today to find out how we would build a translation workflow to satisfy all your needs.

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