What You Should Know About Requesting Updates to Translated Content

Translation Services

So much of what we create and write is constantly evolving.

We regularly update our websites, marketing materials, product details, slogans, policies and procedures and so much more.

If these texts have been translated, they also require updates in the target languages, preferably simultaneously or soon after the English content has been updated.

If you only made minor updates to an existing text, you might not need to translate everything all over again.

Here are our tips for what you can expect when you need to request translation updates and how you can best partner with your translation provider to make them happen smoothly.

How often do you need to update your translated materials?

Ideally, every time you make updates to your English-language copy, you should update your translated copy as well.

At the very least, however, you should update your translations either when a significant amount of text has changed or when an important piece of information has been updated, such as a policy change, safety standard, etc.

If the information that was updated isn’t something you would deem critical, you can review the text that has changed and see if it is something that is worth the cost to update in all translated languages.

If, for example, a line or two has changed in English to improve how the English content reads, but is not so dissimilar to what has been translated in your German copy, then it may not be worth the investment to make these changes, at least until you have made more updates to make.

However, if you have completely rebranded or changed your product names and marketing strategy, then these updates may be more important to stay in line with your goals.

Ultimately, these decisions are up to you and how comfortable you are with the translated copy remaining as is for your different audiences.

Whether you update your translated text with each change to your English copy, or you wait to do so until there are multiple rounds of changes, it is vital that you keep the original English source file—the one that you had translated originally—available, so that your translation provider is able to compare it with the updated copy when you are ready to make changes.

What will your translation provider need to make updates to your translated text?

In order to make updates to the original translated copy, your provider will ideally need both the original source file that your originally sent for translation, along with the new, updated copy. They will also need the current version of the translated copy.

So that your translation provider is able to compare the two documents easily and quickly, we recommend sending these two files over in an editable format, such as a Word document.

Your provider can then compare the two documents and look to see exactly what has changed from one version of the file to the next.

A side-by-side comparison of the changes is the best way to see what has changed and how much effort will be required to make the changes to the translated text.

If you do not have all versions of these files, let your translation provider know. They will be able to work with you to determine which files would be most helpful for making these updates, though the comparison may be more difficult–and therefore costly–without all text files.

If you utilized the same provider for the original translation, they may also have access to these files if you are unable to locate them.

How are the translation changes implemented once they are sent?

If your current translation provider handled the original translation for you, and the same translation team is available to handle the updates, this is ideal.

If the changes are relatively minor, the translation team will be able to determine what to update based on the comparison of the original source files, and they can implement those changes directly in the original translated file, provided the original translation is of high quality.

If, however, you did not utilize your current translation provider for the original translation, and the original translation is found to be subpar or incorrect, the current translation team may recommend a complete retranslation.

At this point, it would be easier for the translation team to start from scratch than to try and make edits to a mediocre translation.

The translation team may also recommend redoing the translation entirely if the changes are more extensive. It may not be feasible to simply add into the original text without needing to review most to all of the text line by line to ensure the new copy is correct, reads smoothly, and is on brand for your company.

Your provider will be able to determine which course of action is best for your updates and provide a quote from there.

What to avoid when requesting updates to your translated text

For the best experience, and to ensure a high-quality translation for the final product, we recommend that you send your provider the full version of your bilingual files.

It may seem easier to just send over the new strings of text or sentences in a separate file, and implement them yourself after you receive the translations back.

However, doing so poses a risk to the quality of the final translation.

To provide you with the most accurate translation, the translation team will need to see these updates in context to know exactly where to place them within the new text.

It’s often not as easy as pasting new sentences over old ones. Sometimes, just changing a few words can alter the translation considerably, so it is important to be able to see exactly how these changes will be implemented in the final copy.

Changing a few words here and there may even alter the sentences immediately before and after the updated text. So, it’s best to prevent repetition or unnatural wording once the new changes are implemented.

If the translation team cannot see the new text in context, there is a potential for errors or misinterpretations of the text.

Providing all of the text instead of just the updated strings will mean your updated translation is just as good as the original, so you can rest assured the spirit and meaning of your message are correct, and your multilingual audience is reading the best translation possible.

We know it is not always simple to make a decision about when to update your translated materials.

If you need help determining if it is worth the investment to make updates to your previously translated material, please reach out!

We’d be happy to provide a quote for making the updates you need, and find the best option for you and your multilingual audience.

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