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Top tips for managing translations (part 1)


Anne-Claire Chevalier, one of our most experienced translation specialists at Saffron, has put together her five top tips to avoid your translated projects getting lost in translation!

  1. Hire a native speaker

It’s a common mistake to assume that just because someone speaks a foreign language that they can translate everything into anything. Remember that only native speakers of a language will know the local customs and habits that subtly affect and impact on a language. You can’t substitute for the real McCoy! 

  1. Check that the translator matches your requirements

It can be quite difficult to know your translator’s efficacy when you don’t speak the language(s) they’ll be translating into. Since the storyboard you’ll be sending will probably be written in English, if they’re not a native English speaker it’s crucial that you test their English fluency. If your translator doesn’t understanding the storyboard, they’ll be sure to mess up their translations! 

  1. Train the translator

Every company has an induction programme for their new employees, so why not use that material to train the translator? This will give them a great insight on your company’s standards and will help them assess your company’s writing style. 

  1. Translate from A to B, not B to C

Avoid at all costs translating from another translation. If you have a version of the course in the original language, send that version to the translator. The best example to highlight that issue is the Bible. It has been translated from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to the current versions. Studies of the bible in the 1990s and 2000s indicate that quite a bit has been lost in translation! 

  1. Distrust automated translation

So many aspects of your working life have been digitalised that it’s easy to forget what technology is supposed to be for! And this is perhaps most true in the translation industry. Ask your translator what system they use, and how. Make sure they use technology only to assist their translations, rather than using it to fully automate the entire process. If they use automated translation, you might as well use the Google translator; the result will be the same and you will save yourself money in the process! Remember that language is fundamentally about people and emotions, not machines.

One Response

  1. I’m a translator and I

    I'm a translator and I totally agree with your entire post.

    I specially liked the points 3 and 4. I think it is something most of us would really appreciate, as it is not the same to translate a website of which you don't know nothing about, than having some background of such enterprise and its target audience.

    Regarding to the point 4, I have found my self so many times having to translate an English website which was barely understandable, and that was due to have been previously translated from another language. I had to bother my client almost every day to ask him about any paragraph I was translating… It had been better to carry such translation directly from its original language than the English one..

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