Is there content that has previously been written? Use Writing for Text Translation: An Editor’s Checklist to go through your work.
I stumbled upon an article that listed the “25 most irritating business words” as I was gathering translation recommendations for this blog post. ” How vexing are you? I asked my Global Solutions team when I emailed it to them on a Friday afternoon.
One of my European co-workers remarked, “This is fantastic! Especially if English isn’t your first language and your co-workers frequently use these words.” I could really identify with this emotion, having grown up multilingual in both Switzerland and the United States.
It got me thinking about international audiences and how some terms don’t always transfer the way we want them to. These ambiguous statements might be confusing because they lose their meaning. As a result, in today’s global environment, the way we talk and write has a large impact on others.
One of my responsibilities as a Solution Architect is to advise customers and build up successful localization projects. The scope, languages, technology, success criteria, goals, and other expected issues are frequently discussed during these client meetings. However, a crucial aspect of successful localization is often overlooked: the quality of the original text. How well written is your content?
Your original material serves as the foundation for all other language text translations. And as the number of target languages for translation grows, so does the effect of your original material. As a result, it’s important to prepare ahead while writing for a good professional translation. It all boils down to doing things correctly the first time around.
One of my responsibilities as a Solution Architect is to advise customers and build up successful localization projects. Scope, languages, technology, success criteria, goals, and other expected issues are frequently discussed with clients during these meetings.
To enhance understanding, keep your words brief and direct, and utilize a style guide to ensure consistency. Because crisp, succinct, well-constructed phrases increase language translation quality, reduce the turnaround time, and lower costs, resulting in faster time-to-market and higher revenue streams.
When writing for text translation, keep these 10 things in mind:
1. Make your sentences as short as possible.
Aim for 20 words or less for better understanding and easier text translations. As well as improving readability. What is essential, I often question myself? What can I do to make what I’m trying to say clearer? It’s easier to keep sentences short and pleasant if you read them aloud.
2. When feasible, use standard English word order.
A subject, verb, and object, as well as any modifiers, are typically referred to as this. Because errors may migrate from source to target text languages, this involves double-checking the essentials. Although translators frequently identify and indicate source problems, you should always proofread your source material for spelling and grammar.
3. Long noun strings should be avoided.
Readers must infer the link between the terms when connecting components are absent from noun strings. If you must read a statement several times to comprehend it, there is a good likelihood that it will get more complicated when it is translated into several languages. When this happens, we’re more likely to notice misinterpretations of the original meaning—or a literal text translation.
4. To identify a single notion, use only one word.
Synonyms obstruct understanding. Write the same thing, in the same way, every time you write. Finding several methods to express a single notion will not only damage the overall consistency of the translation but will also diminish the translation memory leverage associated with it. This can result in worse quality, higher costs, and a longer turnaround time.
Because text translation memory uses words in segments, even slight word changes have an impact. If you don’t need to create from scratch, always consider reusing existing information that has previously been translated.
5. Humor should be avoided.
It almost never translates as equivalence. Jargon, regional idioms, and metaphors are all examples of this. True story: until I arrived at Boston in 2004 and became engrossed with the Red Sox World Series, I had no idea what “knocking it out of the park” or a “grand slam” meant. Now I understand, but many interpreters are likely to be as ignorant about American sports as I am. Expressions are not always understood or appreciated by everyone; they simply do not translate.
Consider employing transcreation services if humor is a key element of your worldwide brand statement. The goal of text translation is to convey the same essential message, create the same impact, elicit the same sentiments, and utilize the same style and tonality as the original material, but in a different language for a specific target audience in a specific market.
6. When it comes to foreign dates, be specific.
Large numerals, weight, height, breadth, temperature, time, phone numbers, money, and other measures should all be documented in style guides for each language pair text translation.
For instance, 09/07/2021. Is it July or September? It depends on my current location. It’s July in Switzerland, but September in the United States. The safest option is to spell out the month’s name. If space is limited, an abbreviation for the month is acceptable.
7. Relative pronouns include words like “that” and “which.”
It’s clearer to say “The software he licensed expires tomorrow,” rather than “The program he licensed expires tomorrow.” It’s a good idea to double-check that pronoun have been included rather than assuming that they have been.
8. Instead of using the passive voice, use the active voice.
It’s more direct, simpler to understand and translate. The usage of words like “was” and “by” may suggest the use of the passive voice. Consider the following scenario: The user upgraded the program = passive. The software was upgraded by the user = active.
9. Phrasal verbs should be avoided (containing a verb form with one or more articles)
They tend to make text translations more difficult. Use the word “met” instead of “run into.” Phrasal verbs are less formal and often have several meanings. Look for verbs that are two or three words long. I tried to conceive of this in terms of German, but there is no such thing as a “phrasal verb” in German grammar.
10. Make certain it fits.
Because English written text is frequently shorter than that of other languages, considerable room for expansion is required (up to 35 percent!). This is especially true when it comes to software interfaces and visuals. There are differences in sentence length as well as individual word length because some languages utilize big compound terms.
Communication and planning are essential for text translation.
To master cross-cultural communication, you’ll need to do some research and practice. But it all starts with creating content for foreign audiences and ensuring that the original text is simple to translate. Once the stage has been established, your translator may concentrate on the translation process and fine-tune material for diverse audiences. You’ll save time and money by writing translation-ready content, and the quality and readability of your target text translations will improve.