The Comtec Blog
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Document translation is one of the most common types of translation. As a business develops and grows, the amount of paperwork involved inevitably increases. Once an organisation is successful enough to begin operating overseas, it will have built up even more documentation, much of which may need to be translated for its new markets.
Certain documents are common to almost every industry in the world. Huge swathes of forms, contracts and manuals are necessary in order to make a successful transition into an overseas market.
Even in a person’s average daily life, written material features heavily. This means that document translation can even remain relevant on a personal level, with material such as birth certificates, diplomas, and qualifications often needing to be translated.
In this article we will look at why your documents may need to be translated by a professional, and give tips on how to ensure that the document translation process is as painless as possible.
Top 10 Document Translation Tips
Here are our top ten tips to help you with the document translation process:
Knowing the shortcomings of online translation tools
There are a number of free online services which offer a document translation service. Whilst these systems can prove useful when seeking a basic understanding of what has been written in a different language, it is a bad idea to rely on them when speaking to clients or customers. Such programs lack the necessary cultural sympathies and knowledge of syntax, meaning that there is a likelihood of poorly translated content.
Making your content easy to understand
In order to ensure the best quality translation of your content, the original copy should be clear and simple to understand. Eliminating potential ambiguities, local idioms and abbreviations will help to ensure that your target audience appreciates your intended message. It is also recommended to keep to short, simple sentences to allow for clear and easy translation.
Creating a thorough brief
One of the best ways to ensure a smooth document translation process is to create a structured plan. Ascertain as much information about the project as possible. You should have a firm idea of the required languages, tone and style of the translation. It can also be useful to gather together additional relevant materials such as industry reports and product information. The more information you can collate, the easier the document translation process will become.
Working with professionals
As noted above, there are a number of free online services, which provide free document translation. However, when it comes to ensuring accuracy, consistency and cultural sensitivity, there is no substitute for an experienced language expert. A good translator will be able to draw upon years of experience in both the chosen culture and the relevant industry. They should also be translating into their native language. Try and research potential translation partners fully, and ensure they can meet and exceed your expectations.
Sharing everything with your translator
Once all the relevant information has been collected, you should ensure you pass on as much of this as possible to your translation partner. Ensuring a translator understands the project fully by sharing your brief and any relevant content allows potential issues or misunderstandings to be flagged early on, increasing the efficiency of the process.
Preparing for overseas design differences
When English is translated into another language, the translated text will generally take up more space. This means that you need to factor in the relevant formatting differences to accommodate the extra characters. There are other design issues which may arise, depending into which language you are translating your material. Different cultures have different aesthetic standards, and certain colours and images can have dramatically different meanings. Try and work with your translation provider to ensure that you are aware of any potential design complications that may arise.
Being clear on file types
Depending on the type of document that is being translated, there are a number of different file types, in which it could be saved and delivered. You should try and ensure that you have chosen the file type that provides the highest level of quality alongside easy accessibility. Be sure to clarify that your document translation provider can work with these file types before the project begins. Also be aware that different countries can sometime carry different file preferences, and therefore foreign market contacts may have issues accessing your translated content.
Sending your translator the best copy
It is always highly recommended to ensure that the only version of your content a translator receives is the final, completed one. Sending content before it is ready slows down the process. When sending your files through, it is also a good idea to label the correct version clearly. Avoid sending any unnecessary files alongside it.
Being aware of any security issues
If you are dealing with certain documents, particularly those with legal content, there may be security regulations in place regarding the handling of a document. There is a potential for sensitive data to be mistreated, and this could lead to a document being invalidated. Try and familiarise yourself with any storage, delivery and usage guidelines which may be in place for your documents. Again, a good provider of document translation services will be able to advise on this issue.
It is always worth looking to the future and thinking about whether or not your document will ever be amended or changed. Numerous factors could lead to another version of a document being created. Being aware of potential future modifications and additions will allow you to budget for them from the beginning of the project. Having a solid relationship with a good provider of document translation will help in this respect. Their use of translation memory software will allow easy amendments to a document, providing cost savings in the process.
There are a wide variety of different documents, and most of them may need translation. Hopefully this article has provided you with a better idea of the document translation process, and how to get the best results when working with a professional. If you have any further questions or would like a free translation quote, please contact a member of our customer services team on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email email@example.com
When we talk about documents with legal content, having the correct words and phrases in place is highly important. One small mistake can lead to a criminal getting off on a technicality or an innocent man being sent to prison. When it comes to translating legal material, ensuring that the exact meaning is carried across to another language is of the upmost importance.
Legal translation is a specific branch of translation, which deals with the highly specialised terminology of the judicial system and ensures that all meaning is correctly explained in a different language. In this guide we will explain legal translation in more detail, as well as what to expect from the process and how to ensure that the best people are employed for the job.
Top 10 Legal Translation Tips
Here are our top ten tips which will help you with legal translation:
Knowing what actually needs translating
Before you begin looking for a translation partner, ensure that you know exactly what you need translating. There are a number of different specialisms within the legal system, such as criminal, immigration, employment or maritime law. Depending on the case, each different branch will require certain documents to be translated. However, it may not be necessary to translate the entirety of your material. Working out which parts of your content does and doesn’t need to be translated can help you save time and money.
Knowing which languages are needed
Once you have worked out what needs translating, you should clarify which languages are required. Although this seems simple enough, regional dialects can have a habit of complicating matters. Laws usually apply to an entire country or territory, but often there can be a number of languages and dialects spoken within it, each with their own unique idioms and terminology. Understanding these variations is highly important. If you are in any doubt then a good legal translation company will employ specialists with knowledge of the relevant language and branch of law.
Working with the best
There are a lot of people who offer legal translation services, but it is important to be completely sure that whoever you choose will provide an accurate translation. There is no room for error in legal translation. Before you make your final decision you should thoroughly research the market. The ideal candidate should have experience in the legal translation field and a good knowledge of the law in relevant countries. They should also be translating into their native language.
Defining a glossary
Defining a glossary of terms is an important part of any translation process, but never more so than when dealing with legal translation. The law is full of important words and phrases which carry a highly specific legal meaning. Ensuring that these are translated correctly is highly important. Agreeing a list of terms before the translation process begins reduces the scope for error, ensuring that the exact meaning of a term is perfectly clear.
Choosing a formatting style
When you pass on all the information about the project to your translation partner, remember to let them know your preferred formatting style. Legal documents are generally set out as either a bilingual document, where both the original and translated languages are presented side by side, or as a monolingual document, translated in its entirety into another language but keeping specifications such as the font and format of the original.
Learning about the law
The majority of countries in the world now have their own judicial systems, and each one will come with its own particular laws and language. A clear understanding of the relevant legal system is an absolute must for successful legal translation, and although your translator should handle this, it never hurts to have some local knowledge yourself.
Your legal document is probably subject to strict privacy guidelines. Try to understand how your documents need to be handled. Security is highly important when it comes to legal material, and agreeing with your translation provider how content will be stored and transferred before the process begins can really help to minimise risk.
Keeping in touch
Try and be fairly hands on with the translation project. At the start of the process, gather together as much reference material as you can find to send to the translator. Keep in touch with them throughout the project. Doing so helps to guarantee everything is running smoothly and any issues are ironed out quickly. A good translation company should send you a translated sample early on in the project. If they don’t, ask to see a sample, then provide them with feedback regarding the style and terminology.
Making sure it stands up in court
Once the translation is completed, double check the document before signing it off. Some legal translations will need to be validated by the translator in order to be accepted in court. Whilst a watermark is usually used, a signed statement from the translator will also suffice. Ensure the document is proof read, if necessary through the use of back translation. This is the process of translating the document, back in to the original language, to ensure that the translation is 100% accurate. Good translation companies should include this as part of their service.
Keeping up to date with changes
New amendments to existing laws are continuously being issued. Even the smallest changes can have an impact on large groups of people, and each change in the law may require you to amend your translated legal documents. Keeping abreast of the latest updates allows you keep your documents up to date. A good relationship with a legal translation company can really help in this respect. They should be using memory software which allows quick access to translated documents which can then be amended as necessary, producing time and cost savings.
Hopefully this article has improved your understanding of the legal translation process. If you have any further questions or would like a free translation quote, please contact a member of our customer services team on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Translation is not just a service; it’s our way of life
We’ve recently added a number of new areas on our website with information on how we support our clients, our approach to delivering projects and the technology which we use to ensure the highest quality every time.
Forming partnerships with our clients is key
One of the key changes is our new‘Your Partner in’section which provides information on how we support our clients across a wide range of projects, including translation of technical content, localisation of marketing material and establishing a multi-lingual website.
Our technology toolkit gives us the edge
We’ve used our technical know-how to develop a toolkit that will ensure your translation projects are delivered to the highest standards, providing a fast, efficient and cost-effective solution every time. Find out more.
It’s always been about more than just translation
For over 30 years we have worked in partnership with companies and creative agencies. Our experience means we fully understand the demands of working in an international marketplace and we know that translation is only one part of the overall internationalisation process for our clients.
Our job is to recognise where we can best support your projects and make sure these elements of the process works as efficiently as possible for you.
Read the Guiding Principles we’ve developed, and more importantly work to, ensuring we deliver the right solutions for your translation projects every time.
If you haven’t done so already, take two minutes to browse our new website and don’t forget to keep in touch via one of our social networks.
Translation on your terms
No matter in which sector your business operates, if you trade internationally or are planning on expanding overseas, you will need to consider translation of your technical content. If you are to build your business effectively in a new market, almost every kind of communication you have, be it with your customers or your staff, will need to be adapted into new languages.
In establishing a presence in overseas markets, you may need to consider the translation of a large variety of different communications. Whilst some are necessarily short and simple – marketing slogans for instance – others are more complicated pieces, with terminology specific to both you and your organisation. Over time, a business will develop their own particular words and phrases which they prefer to use. Making sure that these exact phrases and their meanings are correctly translated is hugely important. This is where the process of technical translation comes in.
Technical translation is a specialised branch of translation, dealing with the adaptation of content that contains specialist terminology, which can only be correctly translated with the help of a language expert with experience in the industry.
Due to the specific nature of the terminology used, working with a translator with experience of the relevant sector is paramount. The translator will not only have the relevant linguistic skills but also a clear understanding of industry specific terminology. Technical translation may be required for a wide range of projects, from print material such as catalogues, manuals and staff handbooks, to website content and audio-visual material such as product demonstrations or podcasts, all of which help to communicate effectively with your overseas customers.
How it should be done
As noted above, working with a language expert who understands your industry and organisation is highly important. However, even with one in place, the process of undertaking technical translation can be complex. It is important that a translator (or their translation agency) builds a clear understanding of the customer’s requirements, collating all necessary reference material, including product information and any existing translations. To give you more of an idea about the how this process works, here are some of the steps Comtec employ to ensure they deliver 100% accurate translations every time.
One of the first stages in the translation process is to agree a glossary of translated terms with the client and to deliver a sample for review. Creating a glossary of terms and phrases, along with their definitions, early on in the process ensures that preferred terminology is used consistently across all projects. A further crucial step, which helps to ensure that technical translation projects run smoothly, is the use of translation memory tools. This software stores a translated copy of any content and allows for easy retrieval, which will assist with subsequent work. The translation memory is continually updated as each additional translation project is completed. Use of the translation memory facility not only ensures consistency in style and terminology across all materials, but also, because of avoiding unnecessary re-translation, the client is provided with a longer-term cost-effective solution.
There are many more subtleties and techniques involved with technical translation, but hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of the process. If you have any further questions regarding technical translation, or would like a free translation quote, please contact a member of our customer services team on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email email@example.com
Google recently announced the launch of a new website, www.endangeredlanguages.com, aimed at preserving ancient tongues spoken by only a few thousand people. This got us thinking at Comtec about just how many languages are in use around the world. There are, in fact, around 7,000 and it seems over 3,000 of these are on the verge of extinction.
Just recently we received an enquiry at Comtec about Circassian translation services. You may be interested to hear that there remain only about two million speakers of Circassian, mostly living in the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, Adygea, and Karachay–Cherkessia, as well as a number in the Russian Federation outside these republics.