Global business: how to help your translator help you

January 4, 2018

So, you have an international communication strategy and sourced a fast, reliable, cost effective translation provider to spread your message across language barriers.

 

You’re sorted, right? Well, almost.

 

The reason why I say ‘almost’ is that you need to work with your translation providers to make sure that they have the right tools do the job well.

 

The personal touch

A human translator has a great advantage over translation software. They actually understand what you want to say and have the flexibility to write in the language to convey the same meaning, rather than simply translating words.

However, translators don’t always have the same amount of background information and context than the original author of a text and its intended recipients.

A specific case in point would be internal communications that need to be translated for employees and offices across the world.

Many large organisations develop internal jargon – company specific terms or specific meanings for common words. They also often refer to events, initiatives, or divisions by nicknames or acronyms. The people inside large organisations are often unaware that the terms they use are not clear outside the organisation itself. If a translator, however, is not informed of what these terms refer to, this can lead to misunderstandings.

It’s important to help the translators fully understand the context of your communications. You can do this by helping to build a multilingual glossary that translators can use; by explaining the meaning of certain terms within your organisation; by supplying translators with existing material in various languages from which the key terms can be extracted; or even by being available to answer translators’ questions.

Remember, translators who seek clarification on some terms, even those that you think they should already know, are not incompetent. They are being conscientious. Helping them will ensure that the results of their work will be better received by your audience.

 

About the author

Giovanni Giusti is a graduate in linguistics of the Universities of Pisa (Italy) and Dublin. He started his professional career in publishing, then moved to new media and telecoms. After the dotcom crash of 2001 he founded 101translations, a totally internet-based translation agency, in order to combine his passions for communication, languages and technology.

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