Top Tips

“Top translation work is a small investment for the rewards it can bring,
but cheap translations are an expensive liability.”  

  • Supply approved reference material and glossaries – especially to clarify in-house preferences and acronyms
  • Tell us if any words (usually product names) are to be left in English as internationally recognised terms or localised
  • Avoid puns – they never translate well and usually have completely different meanings in the target languages

EXAMPLE: an article about someone called Scott might have an English headline pun of “In the Scottlight” for “In the Spotlight”, but this play on words is unlikely to work well, if at all, in other languages
  • Avoid proverbs – like puns, they never translate well and are often unparalleled in the target languages
EXAMPLE: in English we have the proverbial saying of “to kill two birds with one stone”, but a cultural saying like this rarely exists in other languages – it might be something like “to kill two flies with one swat” – and a literal translation will make no sense in the target language text at all. If you’ve designed a marketing campaign with graphics around the two birds and one stone theme, you might well have wasted thousands of pounds in concept work as the idea just wouldn’t be acceptable outside of the UK.

  • Most translators complete between 1,500 and 2,500 words of translation per day
  • An “average” A4 page has about 300 words of text: 30 lines x 10 words per line = 300 words. A translator will typically complete five to eight pages of text per day
  • Allow lead time in your scheduling – translators are usually working on existing projects and so there might be a short time before a translator can commence work on your project
  • Most translators work in MS Word as an industry standard. Work can be provided in other formats (Excel, PowerPoint, etc) but most translators will charge slightly higher rates for these formats, especially when they involve non-contiguous text
  • Translation out of English can expand by up to thirty percent so be sure to leave white space in any publishing design
  • Fonts do not necessarily support all languages – check with us before you design work around a specific font library
  • Check and confirm
    (a) Official names, etc carefully
    (b) How people spell their names: Sean/Shaun, Gill/Jill, Gerry/Jerry, Tony/Toni, etc
    (c) If a person is male or female as some names can be either male or female names, e.g. Sam, Terry, Lee, Kim, etc
  • Proof your own work thoroughly before you send it for translation – it avoids compound errors or mistranslation. Even a simple typo can lead to problems:”We offer you piece of mind”It should, of course, read:”We offer you peace of mind”
  • If you are going to have your work checked by a regional office, make sure that they sign-off the source text before you send it for translation.Very often regional offices will want to say completely different things to their markets than you will want to say to yours, and they may well like a completely different style or tone to what you produce for your own needs

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