People are much more likely to buy products and services if they can read about them in their own language. Well written local language versions of sales through user materials surely delivers customer loyalty, repeat sales and enhances a global brand. Serving various cultural markets creates opportunities to drive sales growth within an ever-challenging global economy.
With over 6000 living languages in the world, it takes more than English to reach local markets, setting aside regulatory requirements. Delivering excellence in translation remains a complex task requiring the finest subject matter expert translators and latest translation technology providing both quality and value from your investment.
Here are some practical tips and techniques to help you gain the best value from translation process.
- Authoring: Writing for Localization
- Creating translation friendly lay-out
- Managing Terminology
- Planning ahead: Process is the key to success
- Reporting Success
- Controlling quality
- Managing global brands
- Getting to know the jargon of translation
Creating a layout that eases translation can save time and money. Here are some of the golden rules for creating translation-friendly layout:
- Build "White space" into your authored documentation. Typically account for 20-30% text expansion or "language swelling" after translation to flow localized content without crowding the localized version.
- Separating content from layout within a layer will promote easy integration with CAT tools and minimize layout activities after translation.
- Create translation-friendly graphics and avoid embedding text within graphics. Include all words for translation in a single authoring package, or by annotating images with numbered lists with a key beneath, for example.
- Ensure any layout of translation is undertaken by lingua-aware desktop publishing professionals, sensitive to maintaining the overall look and feel of the project.
- Build layout inspection check lists and guidelines to agree the acceptable rules by which desktop publishing specialists may adjust localized versions ( for example, typographical rules, font usage, local contact, address and part code variations that might be implemented during the finalization stages of localization).
- Minimize and even eliminate layout of translation by deploying Single Source and Content Management Systems.
Terminology may be defined as those words or short phrases that convey the unique concepts of your company, brand, products, technology and services. Accurate translation of terminology is critical. Whilst subject domain knowledge should be assured, translators still value hugely the help of authors in better understanding your unique terminology to ensure the most accurate translation. A pragmatic approach for a busy authoring community is often helpful. Here are some tips to getting started with terminology building:
- "One term, one concept" – Avoid creative re-writing to describe the same unique concept with different words – choose one term per concept and keep to it. This will promote understanding, clarity and reuse.
- Capture terminology lists whilst authoring and help define or explain these to your localization vendor. Consider providing product, company or service training, so that translators can understand the real environment for new product or service deployment, not simply the documents to be translated. Consider providing any reference material that will enable translators to read around the subject.
- Focus on new or unique concepts in terminology lists that may not be immediately understandable to an audience outside your company.
- Classification of terms is helpful. For example, build lists of terms not to be translated (such as Trade names), black-listed terms, acronyms and abbreviations. Consider building lists of terms for items appearing on any product itself, or within the user application of the product.
- Make use of your localization partner to help build candidate lists of terminology. Authors can confirm, update or elaborate candidate terms in the source language with definitions as time permits during a project or in-between projects for future usage.
- Ensure your localization partner maintains multilingual termbases across all languages with verification checks performed within the CAT tool enforcing terminology lists.
- Consider making use of server-based terminology solutions to distribute and manage terminology usage across the organization.
Taking the time to conduct in-depth interviews with client’s stakeholders is a common key ingredient to a successful story, no matter what the goal may be. This has to be followed up by a comprehensive step-by-step list of instructions for performing the process.
After establishing the underlying needs of the customer, a decision has to be taken on the specific tasks which will move toward the completion of the goal.
Upon definition of what targets need to be hit throughout the time span of the project, the next step is to create measurable milestones.
To hit those milestones, clarity on what is to be accomplished is ensured with a custom-built action lists with accompanying time line of specific actions.
Without specific time frames and deadlines, work is likely to exceed the allotted time jeopardizing the completion of all the established tasks.
Once the plan is shared with client stakeholders, Logos dedicated Project Managers take daily actions and follow up with responsible parties to ensure everyone is doing their part.
We know from experience that which is measured, is managed. Whilst we depend on the craft, creativity and skill of the finest professional subject matter expert translators, there are some tried and trusted methods to guarantee highest quality delivered consistently. Reporting Statistics – both quantative and qualitative - create tangible opportunities for continuously improving the partnership with your language partner.
- Agree with your language partner Key Performance Areas which you want to track in measurable statistics and agree the frequency these reports are shared with you. As an example, track the spend and cost avoidance that will help you determine your return on investment and trends in spend and reuse over time.
- Consider formalizing a Service Level Agreement that clarifies rules of engagement with your language partner that defines your service expectations. As an example, agree typical or average turnaround timeframes and track planned vs actual delivery milestones and ensure these are reported out to view trends for regular business reviews.
- Evaluate the overall service performance of your language partner on a regular basis, including levels of effectiveness in project and account management, communication, inspection pass rates, timeliness and quality of deliverables.
Hold regular business reviews with your language partner, for example on a quarterly basis to review the service and plan actions for continuous improvement.
How do you know the quality of translation is both optimal and suitable for the end user? Quality of translation begins with the source language. Translation depends on the clarity, comprehensibility and consistency of the source language. It may be helpful to consider the following tips:
- Acquire the skills associated with authoring for localization. Ask your language partner to review your content and determine how translation friendly it is before translation begins. Allow some time to clean-up potential issues before translating them and complicating the localization process.
- When commissioning translation from your language partner, discuss the benefits of having an independent quality assurance review after translation on the vendor side. Discuss the criteria for the quality assurance check and check lists deployed.
- Build Style Guides and glossaries of key terminology with your language partner.
- Invest time in formalizing the project briefing with your language partner. Formalize expectations, inputs and deliverables and this will benefit the translation process hugely.
- Engage your local in-company reviewers in each target market to check translation. This may be a "double-edged sword" offering both advantages and potential disadvantages to the process. If engaging your local in-company reviewers, plan ahead, prepare expectations, provide training and tools to speed their review with clear instructions. Use senior management internationally to encourage a prompt feedback by reviewers to avoid delays or bottle-necks.
The deployment of products and revenues internationally provides huge benefits and revenue streams. Creating content that is dynamic and ready for translation requires writing for an international audience with target markets in mind. Thinking globally and acting locally benefits from a range of techniques associated with internationalization of the source content prior to localization:
- Research whether tag lines or key marketing concepts will be readily accepted by an international audience. As an example, your language partner will research brand names you are considering to ensure they carry the right impact in market.
- Develop culturally awareness to avoid slang, idioms, graphics or ideas rooted in locale so that content may be more easily localized.
- Start with product and software localization, then leverage that knowledge in all user and service documentation, as needed. Maintain key concepts consistent through the content supply chain to maintain a consistent global communication.
- Implement a process of terminology management to capture, reuse terms with unique concepts. Avoiding changing the term, unless the concept changes. Consistency is valued higher than creative re-writing which detracts from the clarity of the message and hampers translation.
- Develop Style Guides and Branding guidelines with an international audience in mind and share these with your language partner. As an example, define who the reader or end user may be thus promoting a global brand and tone of voice.
- In some cases, "transcreation" may be unavoidable so plan for it. Advertising campaigns, tag lines, for example are prime candidates for a more creative approach to translation.