Our Best Tips for Preparing Your Content for Translation

Content Writing, Translation Services

You’ve written your English content and have chosen a translation provider.

Great! So what’s next?

Before you send your copy off to be translated, take some time to prepare the content for the translation process.

The more you are able to prepare in advance, the fewer questions and roadblocks you’ll encounter along the way.

The end result can save you time and money.

How to prepare your written content before sending it off for translation

Before you send your English copy off to your translation provider, here are a few suggestions for preparing that copy to ensure a more streamlined process.

Have your content copyeditedited

Spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes can impact the speed and quality of the translation.

The translation team may have questions about sentences that are not grammatically sound, and even a small spelling error can change the meaning of a word or the entire sentence.

If there are mistakes in the original copy, your translation provider may reach out to you as they field questions from the translation team to clarify meaning.

These conversations not only take time out of your day, but they could potentially result in a delay in receiving the translated copy if these questions are not clarified quickly enough.

Provide text copy for images, diagrams and graphs

Sometimes, images in your original copy have text, either in a caption underneath or overlaid on the images themselves.

This text does not always automatically load into the software translators use since it is part of an image.

You can provide a copy of the text from the images separately, or simply let the translation provider know that you will need this text translated as well.

This will help ensure that the text does not get overlooked, and it will prevent additional questions about whether or not it should be translated during the translation process.

Consider your target audience in your pre-translation writing and planning

Content intended for non-English-speaking audiences is improved through the localization process, i.e., adapting the content to a specific locale or culture.

Your translation provider will handle the linguistic aspect of this process, but here are a few things to consider while preparing your content for translation.

  • When it comes to the images in your content, try to choose neutral images that are not likely to offend those in other locales or countries, or change the images to reflect something that will resonate with the culture of the new target audience.

  • If your translation provider is handling any sort of desktop publishing/design for you, make sure you have image files prepared and ready to avoid any delays in that process.

  • Where possible, change any sort of measurement system or pricing structure ahead of time. Convert currency from dollars to the local currency, and measurements from inches to centimeters if your audience is outside of the United States, for example.

What to consider about files, layout, and design when preparing your copy for translation

When preparing your copy for translation, you should also consider the layout of the content.

Send editable files whenever possible.

While we understand it is not always feasible, files should be sent in an editable format whenever possible, such as files created in Word, Excel, or InDesign, for example.

PDF files can be edited, but it is not ideal, especially if formatting is a concern.

Scanned PDF files or JPEG image files of a document, on the other hand, are quite difficult to edit.

The translation provider would likely need to utilize special software to convert the files to ensure proper formatting. While possible, it may come at an additional cost for the time and effort involved.

Utilize Unicode fonts

Not all fonts work in every language.

We know that you may want your font choices to be as uniform as possible, no matter the language, to keep your branding consistent. We recommend looking into utilizing Unicode fonts, to ensure that the characters and glyphs you need across languages are all available in your font of choice.

Account for text expansion or contraction in your layout

When creating your layout, keep in mind that, depending on the language you’re translating into, the text in your translated copy will either expand or contract.

If you know that your materials will be translated, try to keep these potential expansions and contractions in mind when designing your documents, so that the final copy will look great in the final product, no matter the language.

Details to discuss with your translation partner before translation begins

Once you have prepared your copy and files for translation, it’s time to send them off to your translation provider.

Here are a few details you’ll want to discuss with your provider about the copy to make sure the translation is exactly what you want.

–       Who is the target audience?

o   What country or locale do they reside in?

o   Should your translation be written with a certain reading level in mind?

–       What is your deadline? If you have a hard deadline that you need to meet, mention this right away so that the translation provider can determine if it is feasible and realistic, or if any rush fees may potentially apply to make your deadline work.

–       Will you need desktop publishing/design or any sort of special formatting, or will this be done in-house?

–       Do you have a style guide or glossary that you can provide so the translation team is familiar with the style of writing and phrases that you expect for your brand?

Discussing these items ahead of time will save time once the translation work begins.

How preparing your content for translation benefits you

Preparing your content for translation before sending it off to your translation provider can save you both time and money.

The more of our tips that you follow when you prepare your content, the fewer questions your translation team is likely to have along the way. It’s also less likely that you’ll run into any major snags or issues when the team is translating your content.

Instead of spending more time answering questions about your project while the translation is underway, you’ll be able to spend more time on other daily tasks.

This means that your translation team can able to handle your translation more quickly and efficiently.

A project that is properly prepared can also mean less work on your translation provider’s end, which could end up saving you money overall. A win-win!

Preparing your content for translation takes a little bit of time and effort. But it’s easy to see how it pays off to streamline this process with your provider.

Once you establish your content preparation processes, you and your translation provider can move through these steps more quickly and easily for your next project and each one after that.

These processes can be utilized for multiple languages and project types, making future forays into global markets even more efficient moving forward.

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