Translation and Language Industry Observations

Ordering translation services can be a costly venture. And it is something that is often performed under pressure due to looming deadlines. So it is important that you avoid mistakes which can end up being expensive and which can also make you miss your deadline. Here are some common mistakes which are to be avoided.

1. Avoid language targeting mistakes. Find out as much as you can about the countries you are targeting in your translation efforts. Some languages have several different variations. One example is French: Canadian French and European French are very different and can’t be interchanged. The same goes for Portuguese: Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese are not interchangeable either. European Spanish, also referred to as Castilian Spanish, is much different than Mexican Spanish. The Chinese used in the People’s Republic of China is referred to as Simplified Chinese. The Chinese used in Hong Kong and Taiwan is referred to as Traditional Chinese. These variations use a completely different set of characters.¬†Dutch and Flemish are similar, yet much different. English can vary as well between the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. So when ordering Spanish to English translation services or French to English translation services, be sure to specify the correct English variant.

These are some of the obvious variations, but even within a specific country there can be some differences. China has many different dialects like Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese. India has hundreds of different languages. The list is long. Best to carefully check the exact language requirements before you order translation services.

2. Avoid certification mistakes. When translating documents for official use, the authorities you are submitting the documents to may have strict certification requirements in place. Do you need the translations to be notarized? Translated by a licensed translator? Do you need back translation? The requirements vary from country to country and from case to case. Check these requirements in advance to avoid costly errors which may include having to do the translation over again.

3. Avoid scammers and bunko artists. In today’s online world, there are many people and companies online that will take your money and run. This is especially true in the translation business and there are entire Internet sites dedicated to exposing translation scammers. But even if the people or company that you hire are for real, there are many unreliable companies that won’t deliver on time or at the expected quality level. Before contracting a translation company, get references and find out how reliable they are. You don’t want to miss an important product launch or deadline due to an unreliable translation agency.

4. Avoid missed expectations. It is important to spell out in detail exactly what you are expecting from your translation supplier. Especially when your are facing a tight deadline with no allowance for delays due to a delivery mismatch. Do you need to translate the drawings in a technical manual? Are there product or brand names that should not be translated? Are there specific terminology requirements into your industry/company? Make information like that clear to your translation provider to avoid last minute mess.

Another thing to check in advance. What is the service level you are getting. Does the translation include review by a second translator. Is machine translation used in the process. Are the translators subject matter experts (medical, technical; legal etc.).

5. Avoid ordering superfluous translations.  Only order a translation if you 100% need it. If not, then skip it. As mentioned previously, translation can cost a lot of money. If you are required to provide a translation due to regulatory requirements or market demands then do it. If not then skip it.

 

 

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