Tenets of Building an Online Translation Portfolio to Gain Traction

An online translation portfolio is a document that comprises a selection of texts that have been translated professionally and some of the best examples of what possible clients should anticipate if they choose to give you work. Often, clients will ask for some sample text translation before they hire you. A portfolio is useful for deciding if you are the best person for the job.

The online portfolio will showcase your skills, expertise, and areas of expertise. There are some guidelines on the portfolio ought to look like and the things it should contain.

Content

A portfolio should contain texts that are extremely narrow and highly specialized. These texts will promote your skillfulness in the best way possible. The translations ought to create emphasis on specialization, and they should be those translations that are among your best.

It is advisable not to mix different specialties in a single portfolio. You make a couple of them which should be particularized for each of your areas of expertise.

You should make sure that you strictly adhere to the copyright laws. In circumstances where the translated texts have the Creative Commons protection license, the right attribution to the author of the text should be done. It should include asking permission after contacting the author.

Formatting

Text samples on your portfolio should be interesting, legible and short. Only use professional looking fonts, standard font size and color, no photos or clip art or emoticons on your translator portfolio.

Potential clients are only supposed to focus on your translation skills. Target and source text are supposed to be side by side, preferably on a similar page. All links in the documents should be okay. Having broken links on your portfolio is unprofessional.

Sharing

There needs to be a link to your portfolio on your resume or your cover letter. One should equally send it to every potential that is in contact with you and should be available for download on your site, assuming you have one. A link to your translator’s portfolio should be on all online translator marketplaces where you have a profile. It should also be on other freelancer networks. Sharing your portfolio on social networks such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn could easily land you more clients.

How to Draw Traffic to Your Portfolio

To get the attention of more potential clients you out the portfolio on social networks. The portfolio requires to be updated on a regular basis. Every update is then shared with your target audience.

You can also share your portfolio on your company’s website. The site should be well – designed, should have high-quality content, should be fresh and should be SEO optimized. When your website is on the first pages of Google search, it will lead to an increase in the number of potential clients who will visit your portfolio and then give you work.

Other Contents on Your Portfolio

A catchy portfolio should have all essential personal information. Translators with more experience and have developed their own translation companies place their company logo in the document. Translator’s comments are also critical to possible clients as they usually showcase your working methods. These translations typically come after every small translation and have few lines about every translation and a few select techniques that you employed to ensure the task was done.

Type of Client

Your portfolio is likely to gain traction if targets high –end translation clients.  From lists of clients, pick those with more significant influence in their field and then choose relevant samples.

Text Complexity

Include texts that have special terms and specifics of culture on your portfolio. It shows what you know and depicts your capacity to handle difficult translation tasks. Also, identify characteristics for sample selection depending on your choices.

In summary, a good portfolio is an introductory tool for demonstrating skills, and it is highly recommended that every translator has one.

Using LinkedIn to Find a Pool of Clients for Your Translation Services

LinkedIn is one of the most crucial social media tools for freelance translators who are looking to advance and broaden their clientele. LinkedIn is like your online curriculum vitae. It has the capacity to do a lot more than that. It is your online footprint that serves to brand your reputation, and it is the same platform that you can use to exhibit the value you can bring to clients. There are so many networking opportunities and clients that are present every day on LinkedIn, and they are freely accessible.

I want to share tips on how to maximize your LinkedIn experience.

Update Your Profile

Fill up your contact information, education history, professional experience and the other vital fields.  Include a professional – looking profile picture. It should be a headshot with a friendly smile, Avoid using your company logo in place of a portrait. Potential clients want to visualize the person behind the translation business.

Come up with a very catchy title for your LinkedIn Profile, for instance, Assisting German finance corporations, and law firms communicate in Mexican.

Alternatively, you can pick strong keywords such as German into Mexican Translator. It is essential to fill out as many profile fields as you can. They should include links to your blog or website.

A complete profile depicts the perception of an expert. Thoroughly proofread your work before publishing your profile

Search

Search for colleagues, prospects, and contacts to connect with and then save the search. This will enable you to get notifications on others who fit your search reference. There is a new Pro Finder tool that brings on board independent translators.

Follow 

Follow prospective translation professionals to keep yourself updated on changes and new information. It is also possible to follow people in groups without necessarily following them.

Being Involved

For you to land clients on LinkedIn, become heavily invested in some few useful groups. Ask and respond to questions. Share your resources. Start conversations.

Join the groups with the aim of starting conversations with people who are likely to be beneficiaries of your services. Do reviews of target profiles to know which groups that you can participate in.

Analyze group participants that could be prospective peers and clients and find ways to connect with them. Also, provide value by being a regular contributor to relevant discussions with no expectations of instant feedback.

Any time you find the relevant people to connect with, take some time to write a very professional but good personal invitation to connect.

Recommendations

LinkedIn has another interesting feature. People can publish endorsements about your work. It is a great way to demonstrate to clients that you are worthy. Do not shy away from asking for a good recommendation for a client or a colleague, especially if you are confident you did a fantastic job for them.

It is also good to note that as a freelance, you heavily peg on positive testimonial and feedback to grow your brand and business. Also, indicate that you liked working with that client and you would be glad to give a good recommendation for the client taking their time.

Status Updates

Regularly make status updates that will appear on the homepage feeds of the people that are connected to you. Ensure that the posts you make are very professional and are related to work.

It is perfectly in order and respectable to create a personality through creativity and credibility. Share links to interesting articles that may be relevant to people you have connected with. You can also share projects you are working as long as it is agreeable with your client. You can also repost updates by your connections to give them more publicity.

Post on Pulse which is the main source of news on LinkedIn. A list of your articles will assist clients to rate your demonstrable skills.

Conclusively. LinkedIn has very many opportunities for freelance translators. You only need to spare time to maximize the usage of the platform.

7 Reasons Why a Specialized Translation Career Makes Sense

Becoming a professional translator is all about loving what your job. If you don’t like Japanese, Italian or German (for example), you are likely to burn out and look for an alternative career down the line.

However, one of the more exciting prospects of being a professional translator is the ability to specialize in a certain field. You can choose a number of fields and translation types that will make you unique among your colleagues. Let’s take a look at several examples of careers that you may want to consider:

  • Medical translation in Spanish language
  • Technical document translation in Chinese language
  • Copywriting with translation and localization for German and Scandinavian languages

The list goes on and on without any signs of stopping. This means that the prospect of being “a translator” isn’t as simple or straightforward as many people assume. With that said, I’m about to list several reasons as to why a specialized translation career makes sense both from a personal and a professional standpoint.

  • Clear career path

Seeing that you specialized in civil engineering translation or legal document translation means that you know where your career is headed. You can easily identify seminars, conferences and meet ups that are relevant to your work.

This is a benefit that general translators generally (pun intended) don’t have access to. Having a clear career development path based on your choice of translation niche will save you a lot of time and energy – not to mention the added points and references in your resume.

  • Higher pricing range

Being a specialized translator with access to resources and knowledge unbeknownst to other translators makes you special in the clients’ eyes. You are solely capable of translating that difficult legal document into Greek (for example) like no other translator out there.

You can safely bump up your prices and make much more money than before. It goes without saying that the quality of your work should (and will) reflect the price point you set out to achieve. After all, you are a professional in your niche.

  • Establishing niche authority

Niches owe their name to an Italian renaissance architectural ideology in which separate art guilds had separate spaces to show off their work in public places. This means that every “niche” had a unique work of art displayed for everyone to see. As it turns out, the logic applies to professional translation as perfectly as it did in the 16th century.

Once you establish yourself as a reliable, capable and willing professional in a narrow translation niche – the work will come by itself. Word spreads around very quickly in small industries with only a few stakeholders (who more than likely cooperate on some level). In practice this means that you will always have a source of work in some form or another because just like your clients, you are a niche professional yourself.

  • Shorter turnaround times

Professional translators who specialize in certain areas will most likely run into clients that know exactly what they need. This is one of the most important benefits of opting for a specialized translation career path rather than keeping things general.

Clients that work in small niches usually know what, why and how they want their translation or localization to look like. They are also much easier to work with since you will already be familiar with the industry and the terminology required towards getting the job done successfully. If working in a slightly less stressful environment means something for you as a person, this one should definitely be taken into account.

  • Well-informed audience

Lastly, the audience involved in consuming your translation will more than likely consist of industry professionals as well. For example, translating medical, legal or technical documents into different languages means that they are meant for trained eyes. This means that you can look forward to understanding, well-informed and patient readers that look forward to reading your texts.

It’s also quite possible to receive critical and positive feedback about your work for the betterment of your professional experience as a result. If the audience you write for means something to you as a translator, opting for a specialized career route might just be the best solution for you.

Making sense of it all (Conclusion)

It’s easy to tell someone else that a life choice “makes sense” – after all, your choices will reflect your career moving forward. Translators who are not excited about their jobs anymore or feel that the process is getting stale need to change things up.

Specializing in a certain translation area doesn’t mean that you are shutting yourself off from the rest of the translation community. Taking on regular work on the side is still a viable choice from time to time, however specialized you may be.

4 Questions to Ask Translators before Hiring Them

If you’re in need of a translator for your business, you should probably take the time you need to make sure that you are hiring the best professional for the job. There are many things that you should take into consideration before taking the final decision and actually hiring the person, but if you’re new in this you might not know what you should look out for.

When you are interviewing a potential employee for a translation position, there are some things that you can ask them which will help you decide if they are the right choice for your company. Here are a few questions you should always ask a translator before hiring them.

  1. What is your native language?

While this might be one of the things that many people consider something that is essential for every translator, you won’t easily find translators who are native in more than one language. This happens because many professional translators have learnt their second language either while they were in school or during their university years.

The ones who are native are less likely to seek independent work and usually prefer to join various translation companies as they believe that without a degree, their skills will be put to better use there. In any case, it would still be best for you to work with a bilingual native speaker as they will be able to translate all the native phrases and words in order for them to make perfect sense to the native speakers.

  1. What language do you think in?

While a translator might be perfectly fluent in one language, they will definitely have a mother language in which they will be most likely be thinking in. While that is perfectly normal and understandable, this might not benefit your blog or your creative articles in the long run.

A person who thinks in their mother tongue will find it a lot more difficult to stick to translating native words and phrases accurately and they might make simple mistakes which will be noticeable by the natives. It would be best if your translator thinks in the language they are trying to translate in as they will make the least amount of mistakes.

  1. Have you worked in this industry before?

If your company is running a blog for a particular niche and you wish to find a translator who will be able to keep up with difficult types of texts and technical terms such as medical terms and vocabulary, you should probably not forget to check if your potential employee has worked in this field before.

Even though the translator might be an experienced one, you should make sure that they have experience in your particular field as this will not only help them produce good quality translations but they will also be able to get the job done a lot quicker and more efficiently.

  1. Would you be able to start working right away?

This is a question that can truly help you see in a translator is actually experienced and knows what he’s doing. The only answer you should be expecting at this point is for them to want to take a look at the proposed text and let you know.

A translator who is experienced will know that there are quite a few things to take into consideration before accepting a job, like the complexity of the text and the amount of technical terms in it. You would be better off working with a person who knows what they should look into before accepting a job.

Finding the right professional for your business

Hiring a translator can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. If your business is still new and you’re still experimenting with promoting your content to other markets abroad, you won’t have to be looking for strict professionals and you could definitely start working with a translator with a lower rate who probably has less experience.

The more expanded your business is and the more difficult the niche, you will have to keep in mind that working with a professional translator will not only help you make the content that you translate more appealing to the local markets, but you will also be able to keep your content looking professional, free of simple mistakes and as appealing to your customers as possible. The questions mentioned in this article will help you get a better sense of the person you are intending to hire and help you make that final decision.

Top Tips to Master Simultaneous Interpreting

Simultaneous interpreting – a.k.a. the art of orally translating at the same time as someone is speaking. Crucial at conferences and courtrooms, this is likely the most difficult translation skill to master.

Typical translators have a text in front of them and use countless dictionaries and references to provide an accurate text. Simultaneous interpreters, on the other hand, need to listen and translate orally in the next second.

If you want to perfect your simultaneous interpreting skills, here are some tips that might be able to help you out.

  1. Anticipate

Translators aren’t exactly mind readers – but sadly, interpreters have to be. An interpreter has to listen and interpret what the other person is saying – and in this case, the ability to anticipate may come very much in handy.

No one can anticipate right off the bat – but with time, you will get much better at it. Plus, it’s a skill that you can hone even when you are outside of work. Whenever someone is speaking, listen closely to what they are saying – and see if you can anticipate what they are going to say next.

If you are already familiar with the speaker, this can get much easier – but it also depends on how prepared you are on the topic. Before entering a conference or a courtroom, make sure you familiarize yourself with what’s going to be tackled there.

  1. Keep a Sharp Brain

Interpreters don’t have the luxury of zoning off, because if they miss just a single word, they risk not knowing how to interpret the whole thing. Pay close attention to what people are saying and exercise your memory – along with your ability to multitask.

For example, try listening to a speech while you are working on another task – even something as simple as creating your grocery list. Once that is done with, check how much you can remember. It may not be perfect at first, but with time, you will be able to exercise your brain.

  1. Control Your Voice

When you are interpreting, it is crucial that you control the volume of your voice. For instance, if it’s too low, then the people won’t be able to hear you. On the other hand, if it’s too loud, then the original speaker might be overshadowed.

You may be interpreting, but people also need to hear the speaker as well. This way, they will know from their tone whether the speaker is agitated, relaxed, or intense – which can be very important while delivering a speech.

Use a manner of speaking that makes you comfortable – just as long as it’s not too loud or too low. In most cases, practice makes perfect, so it might not hurt to randomly interpret a foreign movie scene every now and again.

  1. Keep Calm

This may be a given, but we can’t repeat this enough times: no matter what the speaker may be saying, you should keep your calm. They may start shouting, speaking too fast, or talking about something that you do not agree with; however, you must remember that your job is to interpret, not to judge.

Stay focused and try to provide a translation that is as accurate as possible. You don’t have to translate it word by word; you just have to deliver the main message, hanging on to the important details.

Still, you might not want to skip whole sentences, just because you don’t feel they are really that important. The speaker added it into the speech for a reason, so cutting off important parts might be seen as a sign of disrespect – and may even cause the people to misinterpret their message.

If the speaker goes on a tangent, don’t let it frustrate you or interrupt your flow. You’ll just be falling behind for no reason, in a circumstance which you could normally easily control.

  1. Understand the Culture

Sure, it’s important to understand the language – but when it comes to interpreting, understanding the culture is just as important. Each culture has its own particular phrases which only their people would understand – so make sure that you are prepared for what’s to come.

If you are studying to become an interpreter, the chances are that you are already interested in language and culture – so this might actually be a fun challenge for you. Look up all the colloquial phrases before your interpreting session, and make sure that your interpretation is as accurate as possible.

Final Thoughts

Being an interpreter can be a lot of work – but at the same time, it is also something that will keep your brain active. It won’t be easy to master the skills; however, with time, you should be able to do it flawlessly. You’ll need a decent amount of practice and a sharp mind – but with this, you’ll be able to deliver the perfect interpretation.

5 Tips for Project Price Negotiation

Negotiating the price range for your work as a writer or a translator comes down to several factors. It’s very difficult to determine what the perfectly reasonable price point is for particular projects.

However, holding onto several ground rules of price negotiation will help you determine the perfect middle ground between your expectations and your client’s resources. Without further ado, I’d like to talk about several tips and pointers for project price negotiation and how you can use them to your benefit as a professional writer.

  1. Set personal expectations

The truth is that no two clients are alike in any regard. Some people have small firms and very limited budgets but high amount of knowledge about the industry. Others might be prepared to pay a fortune for a good copy but don’t have the first clue about what they really need.

This means that you need to manage your expectations per-project basis. Don’t compare clients or projects with what you face today. Create an internal system that works for you personally and stick to it.

Prepare for every client meeting by doing some basic research about them and their recent practices and reviews. This will give you ample ammunition for price negotiation once you sit down and talk.

  1. Ask casual industry questions

It’s often a good idea to break the proverbial ice by chatting about the industry you both work in. Don’t be too direct or pushy but make sure to get a good pulse on how knowledgeable your client really is.

If they are popular and trustworthy in their niche you should be careful not to overestimate your abilities and charge more than you should. However, if they only have a vague idea of what content writing is, you can present yourself as a fair professional with a price point that suits their needs accordingly. It all depends on the scope and complexity of the task at hand, which in turn depends on the expertise of your client and the scope of their brief.

  1. Don’t oversell or undersell

Self-reflection and personal development plays a huge role in the success of a writer. Just like any other predominantly freelance profession, writers need to know how to sell their knowledge to the clients.

Your inner salesperson will have a field day with every client that comes your way since the final price will never turn out the way you expect. Some clients will be ready to pay more while others will do whatever they can to lower your price point to absurdity. Set a personal lower barrier which you are uncomfortable with crossing and refuse anything less than that.

It’s sometimes better to lose a client than to bury yourself with unappreciated work with very little payoff. The same rule applies for overselling your abilities and delivering a half-baked final draft that doesn’t reflect your initial promises. Find the golden middle and stick to it as you develop your writing career.

  1. Talk about the budget – openly

Writers are introverts with polite and calm behavior as a result of their choice of work. However, as difficult as it may seem, your client’s exact budget is an important factor to discuss.

You should talk about the budget your client has allocated for your writing from the get-go before working out the details of your content. There is no point in discussing further cooperation if your client isn’t willing to pay for the work they are asking you to do.

After all, your livelihood and monthly revenue directly relates to how much you make from each writing project. Be polite and professional but ask about the budget before you start putting in the hours.

  1. Per hour VS per project

The general consensus of whether you should charge per hour or per project often falls on the latter choice. However, it all depends on how much work there really is when it comes to a specific project.

Copywriting projects tend to take less time but make far more money for your clients than article pieces would. In contrast, the very same articles take far more time to write but should be charged for per hour or per word due to their complexity.

If you sense that there are a lot of hours needed to finish a project properly you can charge your client per hour. Otherwise, stick to per project pricing model and set clear budgets from the get go.

Every word matters (Conclusion)

It can be easy to devalue your own work when it comes to writing, design or other creative niches. However, don’t lose sight of your expertise, professional development and personal dedication to the industry. Every project you finish effectively raises your ability to charge more for your work. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.

During and after the translation

– Nataly Kelly, Common Sense Advisory

This post is the continuation of what was discussed in “Resources and planning” and “The file to be translated.” If you haven’t read those, I’d suggest you start from there. The aim of this series of posts is to give you hints on how to achieve the best results by doing what you can to help the translator do his/her job faster and with greater accuracy. Below are some recommended actions you should take during the translation process itself and afterwards.

  • Respond to your translator’s questions

An inquiring mind usually makes a good language professional. Competent translators and revisers practically “dissect” the text throughout the project. As a result, more often than not they run into inconsistencies, ambiguities, cloudy areas, and the like. Their best shot at solving these puzzles is through the author, who supposedly knows everything the text intends to communicate. So, if you’re the author or have contact with him/her, you’d do well to let the translators know from the start that you can be contacted for clarification.

Here comes the most important piece of advice in this regard: make sure you or your team replies to the translator’s inquiries in a timely manner. Keep in mind that schedules are usually tight and that any unclear word or sentence might interfere in the understanding of the whole message. Sometimes a translator gets stuck and is only able to go on after that bit is clarified. So by responding to your translator’s questions right away, you can avoid delaying the process even more, which is of course in your own best interest. 

  • Send feedback and the revised version of a translation

Now suppose the project is done: you got your translation, read it, started using it… this is the end of your interaction with the language professional (at least until the next project), right? Not quite, unless you intend to use a new service provider every time you need a translation.

Nobody wants to be changing or correcting the same thing time and again. So, if you have someone in your team capable of revising the translation well, have this person go through the translated text (as I said in a previous post, this is a tricky situation I will discuss in the near future). Ideally use a word processor’s track change tool or highlight any alterations. Then make sure to send the revised version to your translator. An experienced professional will know how to analyze the modifications critically and incorporate the preferred styles, terms, words, expressions, or phrases into future texts.

Let’s not forget that most translators today work with translation memory tools (to have an idea of what this is, refer to my last post). Another advantage of this technology is the incorporated search tool: the professional can easily retrieve previously translated content to see how s/he translated words, terms or expressions and the context in which they were used. Needless to say, consistency is a key element in any well-written text and also among different texts of the same company. CAT tools can guarantee 100% consistency if handled appropriately by the translator and updated according to your revisions.

Since healthy relationships involve the exchange of constructive criticism, don’t be afraid of talking about mistakes with your service provider. Conversely, if your translator did an awesome job, go ahead and tell him/her. Committed professionals will be pleased to hear they’re on the right track and will always try to do better.

I started out intending to write a single post about this topic and ended up with a series of three (so far). This is a hint of how much there is to discuss about actions you might take in this regard. Interestingly, in writing these initial posts, I realized that a great deal of this blog will have to do with giving you the right tools to get the most for your money by collaborating with your translator.

I recognize that clients sometimes have no control over some situations. It’s enough that you might now be more aware of the best-case scenario and of the benefits you can get in return. If you decide to follow these recommendations the next time you get the chance, feel free to share the results with us.

The file to be translated

  • Send the final version of a text

Make every effort to ensure that the text you send for translation is the final, revised version. If that’s not possible, the least you can do is to highlight any last-minute changes or make them visible by using a word processor tool that tracks changes made. Expect to be charged accordingly and, depending on how much of the text has been altered, to renegotiate the deadline.

What you definitely should avoid is an endless back-and-forth of emails with various versions of the same text, especially after the translator has started his/her job—this is the perfect recipe for wasting time and, most likely, wasting money.

  • Send editable files

Translators translate. Simple, right? Yet, some people think they can send a translator an image and have it back with everything exactly the same, except for the language. Well, it’s totally feasible, but this is another service your translator can offer you—and not all translators do. Some of us love desktop publishing and have a great time formatting texts, making charts, preparing tables, creating images… whereas others aren’t very good at it, don’t like it, or simply think it’s not worth the time it takes them. They’d rather focus on what they do best: translations.

Most translators will ask you for an editable file. That said, editable PDFs are OK but not ideal. Sometimes it’s also possible to copy the content from a given file and paste it into a word-processor file, but some of the formatting might be lost. This happens especially when the document has other than plain text.

The best file format can not only be edited, but is also supported by the computer-assisted translation tools (CAT tools) that your service provider uses. Now a brief parenthesis is crucial here: CAT tools and, more specifically, translation memory software, are NOT the same as machine translation tools (more on these two subjects in the future). In a nutshell, a translation memory is a file that stores the sentences/segments translated by the user. So if your translator comes across the same or similar content, the software offers a prompt of whatever s/he has written in previous texts, helping to maintain consistency. One of the advantages of such tools is that the formatting is usually left untouched.

In cases when you don’t have an editable file, reactions will vary from translator to translator. You might be asked to send the material to a professional who can transform it into an editable text before the translator does his/her job. The translator might choose to type the translated text into a word-processor file, and you’ll be responsible for the final formatting. Alternatively, the translator might offer to do the formatting for you (and charge accordingly) or refer you to a colleague who can do this task.

The perfect way to end this part of the discussion is by using an excerpt from the January 2007 section “Business Smarts” of the ATA Chronicle (a journal of the American Translators Association), entitled “Working with PDFs”:

“Some colleagues have established a fixed surcharge for working from hardcopy and PDF documents to compensate for the extra formatting requirements and the difficulty of using computer-assisted translation tools. In many cases, even direct clients will provide an editable copy of documents […] if they are informed that translating a PDF document takes longer and therefore costs more.”

As this article shows, it’s also a matter of reducing the margin for error:

“They [translation buyers] may also be pleased to learn that a translator working from native word-processor files can offer better quality and accuracy, since elements such as tables and lists do not need to be laboriously (and possibly inaccurately) re-typed.”

It should be clear by now that collaborating with your translator is not only about making his/her life easier. Most importantly, it’s about doing what you can to get the best possible end product.

On a lighter note…

By Alejandro Moreno-Ramos

Resources and planning

There’s no doubt that the most interested party in the success of a translation should be the client. However, there are a number of ways in which you might fail to help improve the translation process for lack of information about it. Or, even worse, you might interfere negatively in the outcome.

 

With this in mind, I’ve listed some measures that ideally should be taken by whoever is involved in a translation project, and not only by those specifically assigned as project managers. I emphasized “ideally” because I understand that real-life situations sometimes get out of hand. Let’s just say the following recommendations are the ultimate best-case scenario, in which everybody wins.

There are still many other tips to come, but I hope the few suggestions below are a good starting point.

  • Plan ahead

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead and giving translators the time they need to achieve excellence. If you’ve been working with the same translator for a while, you should have an idea of how much time s/he needs to accomplish a given task. Nevertheless, productivity varies from person to person, from text to text, even from day to day. Also, keep in mind that various “obstacles” might get in your translator’s way at any given time: s/he might be booked for another project and juggling with two or more texts, instead of offering you full-time dedication; the content of your text might differ from what s/he is used to, making the translation take longer; s/he might be busy with personal issues or even planning to go on vacation… and so on and so forth.

What I recommend is talking to your translator about upcoming projects as soon as you know about them. If your company deals with routine translation projects, for instance, there’s no reason for not giving timely notices. Of course you can’t effectively book someone until you know more details such as dates, length of the text, contents, etc. An organized translator will be grateful to know something’s around the corner, and will possibly bear it in mind when working on his/her own schedule.

On your end, make sure everyone involved in the production of the original text observes the time frame. The deadlines should consider the translator’s work and a final reading of the translated text by your team. Be careful, though: having your staff “edit” the translation is a double-edged sword and should be done very carefully and responsibly (I’ll come back to this issue in a future post).

Tight turn-around times are usually accompanied by rush fees, and these are expenses you want to avoid. On top of that, keep in mind that hectic schedules might also affect the quality of the final text—this topic will be discussed in more detail soon.

  • Provide reference materials

When talking about ways to avoid mistakes in technical texts, Chris Durban suggests that you “use in-house subject-matter specialists to provide vocabulary and background materials up front.” This advice certainly applies to all types of texts and media. It’s important to make available to translators any sort of material that is somehow related to the text to be translated.

If you have relevant bilingual documents such as previously translated content, don’t even hesitate! Other useful materials include glossaries (monolingual or bilingual), lists of preferred terms, style sheets, lists of acronyms and their meanings written out, etc. Experienced translators are usually trained to spot pertinent terms, expressions, phrases, and other elements of style that are present even in monolingual texts. So go ahead and send out that 2002 report in English, even though you cannot find its Spanish translation. Likewise, any type of relevant text in the target language (i.e. language into which a text is translated) will be highly appreciated.

These supporting materials will help maintain consistency among your company’s texts and assist your translator in providing high-quality services. They might even shorten the turn-around time.

As you can see, we all benefit from these measures. You increase your chances of getting an impeccable final text, and translators appreciate this support and consideration that help them meet their client’s needs faster and more efficiently.