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What is a good translation?

Translation is not simply changing words in one language into their equivalents in another. Quality translation involves knowing the context and cultural background from which the words in the original text came, and then choosing words and phrases in the new language which will best convey the substance and meaning of the original in a new and different cultural context. Unless all this happens, the message may get misinterpreted or even lost.

For us at Flix Translations, a key feature of a good translation is that it should read and feel like an original text.

There are steps you can take to increase your chances of receiving a perfect translation:

Timing

Producing a good translation takes time, so when ordering a translation, make sure you allow reasonable time for a good job to be done. A good rule of thumb is that a translator can produce up to 1,500 to 2,500 words per working day of text. An editor can, on average, check work at a rate of 7,000 words per day. More time should be allowed for highly technical or complex texts.

Simplicity

Keep the language as clear and concise as possible. In texts to be translated, it helps to avoid long sentences with strings of sub-clauses. These can cause structural difficulties, especially when translating into languages such as Chinese and Japanese.

Think internationally from the start, and avoid culture-specific clichés or images that mean little outside your own country. By simplifying your writing style and avoiding local idioms or colloquialisms, you will make the task of translation easier for the translator and reduce the chance of misunderstandings within your markets.

If possible, finalize the text before starting. Revising the source text during a translation can lead to delays and cost increases, particularly when dealing with multiple-language projects and projects requiring a complex layout.

Information

The more the translator and editor know about your intended message and target audience, the better. Always tell your translation provider what your text is for, who will be reading it and where the target audience is located. This enables the translator to prepare a foreign-language version which best suits the intended audience and the type of communication. Whether the translation is for a brochure, website, speech, video or product manual will influence the style of translation needed.

Any supporting information about your product or service, promotional support and your target customers can be very helpful to the translation team, and you should have an appropriate person available to answer any context or technical queries that the translators and editors may have in relation to your text.

In-market reviews by a suitably qualified person can be a good idea, with well-run reviews often enhancing the translation process. This can be a way of getting more involvement from distributors and agents as well. Poorly managed reviews, however, can easily have a negative effect, and it is important to remember that language can be very subjective and open to wide differences in opinion. For this reason, it’s helpful to discuss any potential review with your translation provider so that they can give you advice, and proposed review changes should ideally be discussed with your provider before they are implemented.

If you want a good and professional translation contact us, Flix Translations is your one-stop spot for all your translation solutions.