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Before I order a translation (1)

Before I order a translation (1), what should I ask… myself?

In recent years, the Polish market has become an integral part of the global economy. Companies from all over the world operate here and Polish companies are expanding on all continents. Cross-border business activities involve communicating with customers and partners in many languages. Specialist translations eliminate language barriers in business. Let us take a look at how we should order this service to get exactly what our company needs.

It would seem that translation is such a simple service: we have a text; we find a translator; we agree on a price and deadline; we receive the translated text. So why is it that we often spend several more hours on the translation? We have to check it (if there are no errors, if all the numbers and parameters match), verify the correctness (as the translator was unfamiliar with the industry terminology or internal company practices), adapt the text to the recipient (as the translator did not know our customer’s ways of working) and then format it (as we need a PowerPoint presentation, graphic design or catalogue). Does this mean that translation is just the beginning?

Not necessarily. Professional translation service providers can do all this work for us, provided of course that we define our needs correctly. Therefore, before ordering a translation, we must ask ourselves several important questions.

Question 1. Everything starts with a text, but what exactly is going to be translated? What type of text is it (report, agreement, technical description, advertising text, etc.)? What type of language does it include (specialist, jargon, informal, etc.)? If the document contains specialist vocabulary, you need a translator who is familiar with the terms and specific nature of the industry. A translation agency can find the right person for you, guaranteeing full professionalism.

Question 2. Think about the reader, for whom is the text?  Who is going to be the final recipient of the translated text? Employees could use the text as support material (‘for information only’) or perhaps experts may use it for research work. Or are customers going to make a purchase decision on the basis of the text? Will investors or business partners read it to evaluate the image and credibility of a company? In each of these examples, a basic translation may require an additional service  such as expert revision performed by an independent specialist, additional editing  or transcreation to enhance the quality and power of the message.

Question 3. What is the format of the document to be translated? Source files, or files sent in the format in which they were originally created, are always the most convenient for both the client and an agency. They also typically take the least time to translate. A professional translation agency can successfully handle translation of virtually any type of source file. Everything is translatable, including PDF files, images, presentations, scans, advertising leaflets, software interfaces, packages or websites . Each of these translations requires a different workload to prepare the source text. This affects both the final price and the turnaround time.

Question 4. What should be the format of the final document? Is the file expected to be editable, so that the company can continue working on the document or forward it to the DTP of its advertising agency? If the customer does not have these resources (or time), the translation provider can immediately prepare the file in the final format, for example, a PowerPoint presentation, a formatted Word document with images, tables and photographs, a PDF or InDesign  file, prepared for a printing house. Where necessary, the document may be sent with the track changes feature enabled, in a multi-language version and, in the case of certified translations, in the form of a printout or file protected by a Qualified Electronic Signature. It is also possible to translate files shared in the cloud, which is a very convenient solution for working on subsequent versions of contracts, investor presentations or reports , which are modified practically until the last moment before their publication.

Question 5. When do you need the translation to be ready? The time limit is of major importance. It is vital that the translator should have ample time to ensure quality. You should not, however, be afraid of short deadlines, since the most modern technological support systems enable faster translation or several experts to work on the same text. It is crucial to determine whether a document should be translated in normal or express mode. A translation agency will schedule the process to tailor it to individual customer needs.

Question 6. Is this going to be a one-off translation or will I need continued support? Building longer lasting ties with a translation agency provides the opportunity to negotiate better terms of cooperation and work with a stable team of translators who are familiar with the specificity of the industry and know how to create editing guidelines to meet the needs of a particular company. You can also have a professional term base  created, and benefit from recent technological developments in the language industry, including neural machine translation engines, prepared with consideration of the specific nature of your company.

Once you have identified the translation needs of your company, department or project team, you can start looking for the best translation service provider.

If you want a good translation – ask the right questions.
What should I ask the translation agency about? How to choose a reliable supplier?
Read in the next part of article.

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