When working with translators it helps to know what process they go through when translating documents. Translation isn’t easy. It requires expertise in at least two languages, plus the subject matter needing translation. A good translator follows these standard steps:
- Scans the original text for specialized and potential problem terms.
After gathering translation materials they go through the text to be translated, looking for specialized terms that will not likely be found in bilingual dictionaries. If the text is about business, they may have to look up terms in original language business books first, then choose or look up equivalent terms in their own language (which should be the target language). Any words that a translator can’t find in their own materials, they’ll set aside for research later.
- Keys in the text, translating directly into the target language.
Good translators are experienced enough that they can translate as they go. Depending on the language, it should take about an hour to key in a 1,000 word article, with 2/3 of that time spent thinking and 1/3 typing, i.e. reading the original phrase, thinking about how to phrase it in the target language, then keying it in.
- Conducts any library or extensive Internet research necessary.
The translator now takes the list of specialized words they couldn’t find (if any) to a library or goes online to business sources that carry more technical terms. If they’re unable to find it there, they may ask other translators, or even the client. If the topic being translated is business law and the translator knows business, but not the particular law in question, they may have to read about it first, before looking for the equivalent term.
- Double checks for accuracy, then polishes the translation.
The final editing stage includes checking for an accurate translation, and also modifying the final text so it’s stylistically correct in the target language. This may require clarifying or simplifying phrases that look muddy or mixed up, even though the words are technically accurate.
More technical documents will take more time to translate, because of the time spent researching, so a good translator will charge more for that kind of work than for more general documents. But accuracy is key in good translations and that’s what the money is paying for. Dialog One has translators for many different languages who also know business. Be sure to contact us when you need someone good.