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7 Things to Keep in Mind When Translating Content

7 Things to Keep in Mind When Translating Content


There are numerous ways to create content for global audiences. However, getting it right isn’t always easy. To ensure translation from one language to another retains the message and tone a business wishes to convey, a few rules should be followed.

Below is a list of seven basic do’s and don’ts of using marketing and advertising translation services in order to hit the mark for all audiences you are translating for.

Do Ensure Quality at the Outset

The quality of your initial content will have an enormous impact on translated versions. Tailor source copy from the beginning with a global audience in mind. This means ensuring that the source document is of high quality and leaves little room for misinterpretation in the language it is written in. Any examples given to illustrate points should be relevant and clear for your audiences.

As no two translation projects are exactly the same, put in place systematic ways of working and then tweak them for each translation job. This will allow them to relate to the job and support the process from the start.

Do Consider All Audiences

Understanding all audiences in your target market is essential for creating and translating relevant, culturally aware, and sensitive content for each. Learn about your different viewers at the outset as this will guide your decisions on the type of content to create. This will also inform you of the depth and angle to take with each piece.

Do Research The Topic And Client

A firm understanding of the topic and the client’s brand along with the target language is essential for good translation. Source documents should be fully understood before commencing with translation.

Any ambiguous or unclear statements should be clarified to avoid misinterpretation or simply skipping sections of a document. All special terms or keywords should have their meanings clarified at the outset. Doing so will ensure translated content is meaningful and relevant across all markets.

Do Adapt Style

Good translation is more than just replacing words in one language with words from another. Translators should adapt their own writing style to fit the tone and style of the source document to ensure continuity of the message and brand image. Writing in the required tone of voice will help you to choose the most suitable words and phrasing when translating.

Don’t Use The Same Format For All Projects

Each translation project is different. Using the same general guideline for each will result in poor work, gaps, and inconsistencies throughout the documents.

Even when a project appears similar to previous jobs, different angles, approaches, and subjects are needed. These will give a fresh take on the subject, as clients often have slightly different expectations to each other. Allow the nature and style of each project guide your method.

Don’t Translate Word For Word

There are many ways to say the same thing in each language and some singular words simply don’t have a counterpart in other languages. The building up of each sentence differs from one language to the next.

Direct translation will result in sloppy content that the target audience has difficulty understanding. Sentences should be interpreted as whole parts and effective source documents should keep sentences short and meaningful to aid the translators work.

Don’t Lose The Core Message

Consistency throughout translated documents is key to retaining a brand’s core message. Content should feel similar across all languages. If a multilingual customer were to read content in all the languages they understand, the message should remain the same.

Review and reread the entire document before beginning the translation process to understand the core message the client is aiming to convey. This will also allow you to identify any areas that need clarifying before beginning to translate.

Keeping these simple do’s and don’ts in mind when beginning a translation project will help you stay on track and produce quality work without fail for each client.

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