By helloDarwin
December 15, 2023

Beginner's tips on content translation

Moving from a local to a global market is the dream of even the smallest business. Of course, this means being able to aptly translate your online content into a variety of languages. Obviously not everyone can speak multiple languages. But outsourcing translation jobs is  more than possible!

If you are planning on translating some content as a translator, or you’re looking to expand your business relations, there are general guidelines you should definitely follow. Clear and concise sentences will improve the quality of your content, but sticking to our guidelines will prove for an excellent turn around time while cutting costs and speeding up revenue. These suggestions are just the beginning, so read on for more information!

Here are our 5 beginner’s tips on content translation!

Understand the content you’re working with

As we mentioned in our introduction, it is important to keep your content clear and concise and this can mean keeping the sentences themselves short and sweet. Keeping content simple will make for easier translations while boosting readability. Not only should your content be to the point, but it is important that yourself, as translator, are comfortable with the subject matter as well as the style of language. Many beginner translators may take on projects relating to fields that they know nothing about.

This is normal, but it is crucial to put in the research so that you understand the terminology regarding the industry you're working within. Eventually, it would be recommended that you try and focus on a few subjects at a time, rather than attempting to do it all. This way, agencies will see that your work is streamlined and clean, allowing for clients and companies alike to seek you out.

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Check the source file

Source files are self-explanatory, they are the original form of the work you will be translating. Depending on the content you’re translating, this file will come as an application file or an attached document.  A source file is important because it allows a translator to get started on a project right away. Further, it will likely be in a translation-friendly format that includes a translation memory.

Translation memory will allow you to look back and see the changes you've made during the translation process, as well as the original text. These elements are crucial, as recreating a translation source file is time-consuming and difficult, and could cost you the entire project in the long run. If you get a file you’re not familiar with, don’t just wing it. Actively take the time to understand it or contact the agency or client you’re working for before putting your time into figuring it out.

Follow a style guide

If an agency or client has sent you a glossary of terms or a style guide alongside your translation, make sure you pay attention to it. As a translator, you should not ignore any documents that have been sent to you. When translating content, it is essential that you be consistent in your use of terminology and style with the previous work of that company or client. It is unlikely that you will be the first and only person translating content from a client, as it is rare for a business translation job to be a one-off.

Even if this if your first time with a client, it is crucial that your work highlight your ability to be consistent and follow client guidelines. In the translation industry, a glossary, terminology and style guidelines are essential tools to insure stylistically appropriate translations while providing context to the translator.

Open communication is key

Cross-cultural communication can be difficult, so if you are working with an international client, make sure the lines are open! Preparing content for bilingual or international readers all happens in the starting process. Once you determine that all your documents are in order and you feel fully prepped, you can focus your attention on the translation itself.

Be transparent with your client about the amount of time your translation will take, and thus, your budget. Having a precise budget will allow for an efficient job. If the client has a specific deadline you need to accommodate, make sure to check with them a head of time and be realistic. If the job doesn’t match their deadline, let them know! Keep communication lines open and organic to show that you care about the work and are involved. 

Check your translation twice, or more!

Now, you might feel like you’re finished your translation and everything is in order, but it is important to check the translation over and over. Most importantly, check the translation against the source text more than once. Look beyond the words and consider any formatting issues that may arise. If the source file included translation memory, load these and check their consistency and coherence across all files.

Remember to include any notes or comments for the client, especially if you aren’t completely sure about colloquialisms and take any rewrites in stride. Translation is a learning process, but following these guidelines will get you there!

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