It has been said before – translation is an art, not a direct conversion. Depending on the type of translation (i.e., marketing, technical, social media, etc.) and the target region/audience; the style and tone of the translation can be different in each language because of cultural nuances. Additionally, the client could have specific guidelines they would like to follow. Would they prefer a sophisticated tone or perhaps, a more factual style?
Prior to beginning a translation with a new client, we encourage meetings to discuss glossary and style guide development, legacy translations, and client review. These steps facilitate the translation process, ensuring the translations meet the client’s expectations. But shouldn’t the translator be able to do that without client input? Of course, but again, we go back to translation as an art. There are many ways to say the same thing, and while the translator is a cultural, genre, and topic expert, the client may have a certain style or verbiage they prefer and that they use on a regular basis.
This step involves identifying key terms in the material to be translated and providing a translation of these terms. Should legacy translations exist, those would be referenced and incorporated into the glossary.
Once the glossary has been translated, it is then sent to the client for review. This allows the client to have their team review the terms and update them to be in line with what is used within the company. If the sales team prefers a specific term, we want to be sure the glossary term is consistent with the language of the company.
In the event that the client does not have a bilingual team that can review the glossary, they can have the peace of mind that industry-standard terms have been applied.
Translators are bound to translate content accurately to the source. For more creative copy, such as a website or a marketing campaign, a straight translation is not always the best option. By discussing with the client what the style options are for a language and the material to be translated, we can have a better understanding of what the client would like, and we can inform the client how that will best translate for the target audience and the clients return on investment (ROI).
It may be practical at this stage, especially for large projects, to complete sample translations and present to the client for review. This gives the client a preview of how different teams would translate the material and enable them to select the style they would prefer.
If the client has had translations done previously and is happy with them, we can use them as a reference for upcoming translations. If the client was not happy with them, we can review them and learn what the client was not pleased with, and we can improve upon that.
Client Translation Review
This usually occurs once the translation is complete, meaning translated, edited, and proofread by several linguists. For our process, we generally provide the client with a PDF version of their file to review and make comments. Client translation review is not editing or rewriting the translations, it is a review of the translation by the client to update terms and phrases that the client uses. If a glossary or style guide was not completed at project start, this is another way to provide this information, for small projects at least. For large projects, it will save time and money to develop the glossary and style guide prior to the translation being completed.
Once the review is complete, the marked-up file is returned to us and reviewed by our translation team. The purpose of this extra level of review is to make sure typographical or grammatical errors have not been introduced and to verify that the requested changes do not alter the meaning of the original copy. If any changes deviate from the original text, our project manager will contact the client’s project lead to explain the changes and ask the client if they approve or reject the change.
All revisions are captured in the translation memory for future projects and the final versions of the files are updated and delivered to the client.
If during the client translation review, the reviewer is not satisfied with the translation, we will request a meeting to go over what the concerns are. This meeting may include the language lead to open a dialog between the translation team and the client to determine what the issues are and how best to resolve them.
Why is this all necessary? Because translation is an art, and there are multiple ways to communicate the same concept. Additionally, companies have their own dialect in their communications and with their customers. That knowledge is only achieved with feedback from the client.
If you’re currently looking for a language service provider, ask them about their review process; will you have the opportunity to review the translation and provide feedback? If the answer is no, keep looking. The items mentioned here are just a few tested procedures used to produce the highest-quality translations. Investing in a quality translation provider is money well spent, as they are communicating your brand to other demographics, and first impressions are crucial.