Desktop Publishing Points to Ease Translation Issues

Graphic Design Our foreign language translation firm works on several different computer platforms and in all sorts of software programs when working with clients around the world.

We continue to encounter several issues that can cause higher rates for our clients due to additional time to “fix” files before they can go through translation.  Only a few quick changes can make the translation and formatting process go smoother, quicker and cheaper for you.

5 formatting suggestions to help your projects move faster:

  • Use tabs, not the space bar, to align type.
  • Word-processing programs may not print on an image setter with the same line and page breaks as on your office printer. The best solution is to save the document as a .pdf file. as well as providing the original document
  • Delete extra blank pages and any clutter, such as unused type, boxes, and art, that remains on the pasteboard.
  • Provide a proof usually a pdf of the most current version of your document.
  • Place copies of your document, fonts, art, and photos in the same folder so that files link properly.

We hope this helps your translation project run smoother!

Tips For Your In Country Review Process for your translated documents

Document Review Process Reduce your translation costs and reduce headaches in your international communication process.  In-country (or client review as many translation agencies call it) review is one of the most crucial, yet challenging, steps in the translation process.

In-country review is the process of sending translated material to an individual in the target language country to review linguistic concerns associated with a given translation project. For example, industry or company specific terminology. The reviewer is generally a co-worker from your organization who resides in the country  and most often a sales manager, country manager or distributor. To ensure a successful review process, follow these guidelines:

1. Create Goals of In-Country Review for your organization and your documents.  The overall goal should be to gain local acceptance for the product/service or product/service materials in the target market.

2. Decide who would perform the reviews? Ideally reviews should be performed by individuals with a linguistic background, solid product knowledge and previous review experience. However, review is more often performed by local sales staff or distributors who have a vested interest in the translation quality, but no formal review experience. Therefore it is critical that a clear set of guidelines or instructions be provided to ensure consistent and timely feedback from reviewers. Guidelines become even more important if you plan to have more than one person per language conduct the review. Your translation supplier should be able to assist you in developing your product/service specific guidelines.  Be sure to do this as far in advance of a project as possible.  In addition, establish delivery dates for when reviewers will receive materials for review and when the reviewer’s comments are due.  Please try to prevent reviewers who tend to make many minor and often just personal preference changes vs. major linguistic and terminology changes.

3. Achieve excellent in-country reviews.

  • The first step in this process is creating glossaries and style guidelines before translation starts. This step will establish preferred terminology, usage of acronyms, punctuation, etc. Glossaries and style  guides enable translators to choose preferred terminology and style at the outset of a project. Involving your reviewers in this process will enable them to provide input at the outset and minimize the number of revisions later. Why is this so important? There is often more than one way to correctly express a concept or idea and without guidance on key terminology, a good translation that is faithful to the original text may not reflect the preferred expressions of your in-country staff.
  • The next step is to help your reviewers understand the purpose and focus of the review process by providing them specific parameters and guidelines for their review process.  Items like adherence to the glossary and style guide, consistency of the translation, compliance with instructions (I.e. items that should not be translated are correct), country-specific measurements and other standards are met, accuracy of terminology, and style.

4. Determine how review comments should be provided? Depending on the source files or document, there are different ways to capture reviewer comments; however, the original translated text must remain in the translated document. A reviewer can make suggestions and comments using the change tracking feature. If they are using an application that does not support change tracking such as Excel, Quark, PowerPoint, etc. they may be able to designate their comments in another way such as using a different colored font. Reviewers may also use a separate document to communicate comments. In this case it must be very clear to which text the comment relates. This will minimize follow
up queries from your localization vendor and save time in the process. If you must use multiple reviewers per language, it is best if the client coordinates and consolidates the reviewers’ comments into one single document before sending to the vendor. Reviewer comments should be as clear and specific as possible.  Reviewer comments should arrive prior to any formatting (DTP) activities for printed materials and prior to testing for software, web or help materials. A delivery schedule should be agreed at the outset of the project to allow translators adequate time to implement the changes.Your localization vendor will implement the changes where valid. For some changes, particularly in the case of stylistic preferences of the reviewer, it is helpful for your vendor to have your reviewers available to answer any questions that may arise during comment implementation.

Just like most other business functions, the in-country review process can go smoothly if planned in advance, when expectations are clearly set and communicated, and when scheduled realistically.  The in-country review can be a powerful means to ensure the success of your product in international markets.

5 Tips for selecting fonts for your documents that will be translated

Font types Font choice for your source documents is critical as it will need to be used by a foreign language translator and graphic designer.  Keep these five items in mind when you choose a font for translation projects to avoid hiccups in your final translated project.

  1. Try to simplify the total number of fonts used in the document.
  2. Ideally select fonts that are available on both Mac and PC.
  3. Avoid custom and proprietary fonts that can add extra expense to the project.
  4. Remember, character styles used in Western Europe or US English layouts are not always transferable to Asian languages (e.g., bold and italic, upper and lower case).
  5. Decorative fonts can be make accents and special foreign language characters difficult to read or illegible.

There are ways to work around these issues, by sending over your fonts or by converting files to a foreign language font that is similar.  We are used to working in these situations but your forethought is greatly appreciated.

10 Tips for Buying Translation Services

October 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Translation, Translation Tools

translation_services For non-linguists or people not familiar with translation services buying foreign language translation services can be frustrating.  There are a few things to think about before translating all your documents.

1.  Decide which information really needs to be translated for your global employees, distributors and customers.  Be sure to translate only the relevant information in your documentation so that you produce shorter text and minimize your translation costs and timing.

2.  Use of pictures, charts, graphs and diagrams can help your communication be more straight forward and understood.  This will aid in technical translations and trying to get just the right term in the foreign language as well as reduce the amount of words that need to be translated. Only use text when absolutely necessary.

3.  Do not create materials without thinking of your global audience.  Don’t use puns, and culturally specific terms in your English versions - these do NOT translate well and become very awkward when translated. 

4.  Calculate how much time you spent creating your English documents, this is a good idea for the how long the translation process will take. 

5.  Do you need a translator or a translation agency?  An agency will help with the translator selection, project management, quality control, file conversations, standardized presentation of multiple projects.  Thus a translation agency will be more costly than an individual translator. 

6.  Determine if you need a translation and if it will be used for reference (for-information)or if it needs to be rewritten/adapted (for-publication)to be used for sales.  This will affect timing and costs for the project.  In addition, share with the translation company who the audience will be for the translation and what output or medium will be used.

7.  Resist the temptation to have your documents translated by an internal person who speaks the language in need.  This is dangerous as speaking is NOT writing.  Just because a person has oral fluency does not guarantee smooth, stylish writing. 

8.  Provide your final version - do not provide a draft and make changes along the way.  This will cost you more and cause issues in fluidity of the translation.

9.  Machine translation is perfect if you are pressed for time and want to get just the gist of the meaning of a document.  However…do NOT use raw computer output for anything outbound. 

10.  Use local schools and universities with caution.  These could work for inbound translations to get a general sense of the meaning but translating a foreign language is an art.  Would you have your company’s business plan or financial documents done by a university business student?

Getting yourself up to speed on the subject of translations is not that difficult.  We are here to help you feel more comfortable with the process.  This can be a fun and very rewarding part of your job, let us help you look good. 


Tips for using Translation Memory Systems

translation - blue perfect Translation Memory (TM) can save you and your organization time and money.  There are certain tips to keep in mind to get the most bang for your buck when writing your technical documentation and translation and localization of your information.  Consistency is key but here are a few tips to help you navigate the items to keep in mind while writing your source content.

1.  Don’t use synonyms - For example: log in vs. log on - stick with one and use it

2.  Don’t change your formatting - For example: Click the next button vs. Click the NEXT button. 

3.  Create segments that can be used in several contexts.  Insert CD vs. Insert Disc

4.  Make generalizations - the three steps are vs the steps are

By keeping these technical writing tips in mind you will not only save money but create consistency and standards for your content.

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