Starting with the definition of the translation – the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text, below are some tips for a correct and comprehensive translation:
Use Simple, Clear Phrasing
When writing for translation purposes, use simple and clear phrasing. Choose words that are short and simple over longer, more flowery words. This will help make the translation more precise.
Keep Sentences as Short as Possible
It’s hard to read a very long sentence without taking a breath, right? It’s also hard to translate such an enormous sentence, so keep your sentences short. Also, short sentences are easier to understand and follow than long and complicated sentences.
Use Standard English words whenever possible
This generally means a subject, verb, and object with associated modifiers. Ensure correct grammatical structure and proper punctuation. This includes checking the basics, because mistakes can travel across source and target languages. Translators often find and flag source errors, but that shouldn’t replace proofreading your source text.
Be Consistent with Terminology and Content
If you don’t already have a list of product and/or industry terminology, create one, preferably before the project begins. Also, reuse content wherever possible. For example, if a procedure is already documented in a manual, reuse that content. Reusing content increases consistency and decreases turnaround time.
Avoid Noun Strings
A sentence with too many nouns in a row can be hard to read and grasp right away. It can be especially hard to translate noun strings because the relationship to the nouns isn’t clear. As a result, the noun strings can be translated incorrectly. Reword noun strings to make the sentence clearer. For example:
- She started working on the localization mapping software project. (noun string)
- She started working on the localization project that involves mapping software. (reworded)
Don’t Use Abbreviations, Jargon and Cultural References
Avoid using abbreviations, jargon and cultural references, especially in technical content. This type of content may be understood by a particular region or culture, but other audiences may not understand it and it can be very difficult to translate.
Keep Text Separate from Graphics
Translators need to be able to access the text inside graphics and screenshots. One way to handle this is to create separate text boxes for the text. Another option is to create callouts below the graphic. In both cases, the translator can access the content to translate it.
Allow Room for Text to Expand
Translated content can take up to one-third more space than English, so you need to leave enough room for text expansion in tables, callouts, labels and other constricted areas. If you don’t address text expansion before sending the content to translation, you may end up with additional DTP charges.
Avoid Manual Formatting
I know it can be tempting to tweak formatting here and there to make things fit and look just perfect. But every time you override a style, for example, that means the localization team is going to have to look at that override and manually decide what to do with it. If you have to tweak the formatting a lot, you might want to change your styles.
Be Aware that Date Format May Need to Change
Dates, phone numbers, currencies and other types of data have different formats in other languages. Make sure these types of data are accessible so that the translators can make the necessary changes for their languages. For example, dates are written differently depending on where you’re from:
- In the US, a date is written with the month, day and year: 3/5/18 (March 5th)
- In the UK, the day comes first, so March 5th is written as: 5/3/18
Also, if you reference any numbers like temperature or weight that are in imperial units, you need to add the metric equivalent as well since most countries use the metric system. It’s a pretty common practice to add the metric unit after the imperial unit, such as: 100°F (38°C).
Review the document
Make sure you review the document(s) and files before starting a translation. Read all the instructions that come with the job: they show you the way in which the translation must be approached. Ensure that all the files and documents that the client needs are the ones you have received.
Make sure you are familiar with the file format
The files should be sent in a translation-friendly format and with a translation memory, if possible. The format must comply as much as possible with the format of the original document.
Now, run your spellchecker and correct any misspellings and typos. Now is the time to become your own editor and read over the document, comparing it to the original. Read again without looking at the source text to make sure that it makes sense. Readers will not have access to your source material and, frankly, they do not care that the text was translated or how it was translated. They want to read in their native language and you, the translator, are the link that allows them to do so. Your version has to read as if it had originally been written in your language, free of literal translations and cumbersome expressions that are directly transferred and without any errors.
- https://www.net-translators.com/knowledge-center/articles/writing-for-translation-10-tips-for- improving-your-documentation/
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