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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.

 

Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, Spanish Translation Course, French Translation Certification, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, literary translation

A career in literary translation. Is it possible?

Posted on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 @ 15:07 PM

literary translationWe all have our own reasons for pursuing a career in language translation, but what originally attracted us to it was an idea that we’d eventually find ourselves in Manhattan on the 10th floor of our favorite publisher—maybe Penguin, or Little, Brown—plugging away at a translation of the next Great American Novel. You’re chuckling, aren’t you? OK, so the Manhattan office never came.

But is there a way to make a career—or at least some money—in literary translation? According to Rafa Lombardino, whose article we came across in the April edition of the ATA Chronicle, the answer is yes. You can read the original article here, but we’d like to share some of Lombardino’s thoughts below.

A career in literary translation. Is it possible?

Skip the big publishers
If you’re thinking about becoming a literary translator, save yourself some time and skip the big publishers. Even if they love your writing sample, it may take months for them to respond to you. And should you accept their pay (which will most likely be much lower than your standard rate), odds are that you will be translating the texts they give you—not those that you are necessarily passionate about.

So if not publishers, who? The alternative is so obvious that we never even thought about it: self-published authors.

Finding self-published authors
Browse Amazon, iTunes, Google Books, and GoodReads; here you’ll find thousands of self-published e-books in every imaginable genre. Most of the books are cheap (often between $0.99 and $2.99) and because the authors have creative control and publishing freedom—not to mention the freedom to set their own prices—they tend to be prolific. Many have developed cult followings and a few have even become millionaires.

Why self-published authors will be responsive to your proposal
Most authors are going to be interested in expanding their readership (one that speaks another language), but it’s highly unlikely that they’ll have the resources, time or know-how to make it happen. The fact that you can is going to be a huge and unexpected bonus to most writers. Odds are that they will accept your offer to translate their book.

Things to keep in mind
Here’s the caveat: Most self-published authors cannot afford to pay you up front and will want to pay you in royalties. Because of this, the authors may be more inclined to give you a higher percentage of royalties. In Lombardino’s experience, some of the writers she has worked with have even given 100% of the profits to the translator simply because they wanted to expose their work to a larger audience.

Although there is no guarantee that you’ll make lots of money, we look at it like this:  it’s an opportunity to build your resume, pursue something you love, and an opportunity work with an author whose work inspires you.

Before you begin your work, you will want to negotiate a contract; you’ll also need to think about how the book will be promoted. Will you be taking care of this? Or will the author? Lombardina discusses much of this in her article, “Translators and Self-Published Authors: A Partnership for the New Digital Publishing Age.” You can find it by clicking here.


Download our exclusive guide:  Translation and the Empathetic Imagination

Topics: Modern Language Translation, Spanish Translation Course, French Translation Certification, Online Translation Certification Arabic, freelance translation, freelance translator, literary translation

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