Preparing a Document for Translation: 7 Tips for Project Managers

Posted on Wed, Sep 04, 2013 @ 06:09 AM

language translatorWe take as much pleasure in reading bad language translations as the next guy, but we’d never wish this costly misstep on any translator or agency. That’s why we’re sharing seven of George Rimalower’s essential steps for preparing a document for translation. If you prefer to read the lengthier, original article, you’ll find it in the August issue of the ATA Chronicle 

Preparing a Document for Translation: 7 Tips for Project Managers

Review the source document
As you review the source document, check for typos, grammatical errors, and ambiguous language. If you find confusing sections in the source document, collect the necessary reference materials, style guides and glossaries for the translator. If these won’t suffice, contact the client.

Redact any legally compromising content
Always be sure to pull any information that cannot be shared legally. For example, if you’re translating medical documents, always remove the patient’s personal identifying information.

Organize, organize, and organize again
If you’re a large agency, you may be responsible for keeping thousands of documents organized. Creating a “taxonomy of project and purchase order numbers” will help with efficiency and organization.

Be culturally conscious
Documents should be reviewed for words or phrases that could be “lost in translation.” This is especially important when working with marketing materials, as they often use puns and witty aphorisms.

Convert files, if necessary
Some files will need to be prepared before they can be processed by a translation memory (TM) system. A TM is simply a database of words that have been previously translated. This means that you’ll have to convert files into another format: INDD to INX, for example, or IDML and PDF to Word.

Prep the document for pretranslation
Clean up the document before running it through the TM by deleting unnecessary paragraph breaks and making sure that all sentences are segmented properly. After everything is in order, ship to your translator.

Prepare translated document for output
Once you receive the translation back, proof and edit it.


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