Document Translation: 5 Tips for a Perfectly Translated Document

Document Translation: 5 Tips for a Perfectly Translated Document

Document Translation: 5 Tips for a Perfectly Translated Document 3000 2000 Sergio Guillén

Expanding into a new international market is always complicated. It’s even more complicated when that market uses a different language. Utilize our five tips to make perfect document translation a much simpler project.

1. Research Your Target Market

Always go into document translation with some knowledge of the new market.

First of all, market research into promising new international markets helps ensure that there is actually potential for growth.

You don’t want to waste your time and resources targeting a market where you won’t pick up any traction.

Oftentimes, even just a little cursory research into potential markets—start by looking at your competitors—will give you a good idea of your chances of success.

At the same time, research into the new market will help give you an idea of what appeals to that market.

Even just a basic understanding of the cultural and linguistic differences goes a long way towards crafting effective marketing content to create the desired brand image.

2. Use a Translation Agency

As a small startup, it can be tempting to use automated machine translation.

Although machine translation does have benefits, it must absolutely be paired with translation memory, and ideally with a human translator.

A human translator is far more effective than even the best automated translation tools.

For example, Google Translate continues to rank as the most widely used online translation tool.

According to a blog post by Google, more than half a billion people around the world use Google Translate.

The popularity of this tool, especially the amount of people that rely on it in day-to-day life, has led to major improvements and updates over the years—but it’s still a far cry from a human translator.

Although automated translation tools can give you a good idea of what your content will look like in a different language, they’re far from error free.

In fact, aside from spelling and grammatical errors, most translation tools fail to focus on readability. Your translated document will likely be confusing to read in the new language.

A translation agency that uses human translators not only does away with errors while simultaneously improving readability, but also gets your brand message across exactly how you want.

3. Find the Right Professional Translator

Not all human translators are created equal.

The most important trait to look for is knowledge of the language. Your professional translator must be a native speaker.

Although it’s tempting to hire a translator that simply has a lot of skill and experience using a second language at a high level, it’s essential to select one that knows the language intimately.

Known as the native speaker principle, or other tongue principle, hiring a native speaker is fundamental to perfect document translation, according to the American Translators Association.

The translator you select should also have specific knowledge of the country or geographic region you’re targeting.

They must be familiar with the small differences in the language for that specific region. For example, Spanish in Spain is much different than Spanish in Mexico. In fact, the language even varies widely from region to region within each country itself.

On top of this, knowledge of the country’s people and culture will help the translator ensure that your message is in line with their values, so you don’t accidentally offend your new audience.

Finally, if at all possible, it’s important to find a translator that’s familiar with your industry, especially if the document deals with specialized subject matter.

4. Write for Translation

You could hire someone to write content in a different language from scratch.

However, most startups are better off writing their own content in English (or whatever their native language) and then hiring a translator.

This gives you far more control over your brand message. It enables you to write exactly what you want and make sure this carries over into your multilingual marketing efforts.

The catch is that you must write this content differently than normal. You must write for translation.

This largely boils down to simple, clear writing. Make the content as straightforward as possible to ensure high document translation quality.

Avoid using clever wordplay. Avoid using complex words (here is BBC’s list of words that don’t translate). Avoid using metaphors or synonyms.

All of these things translate poorly. For example, a popular saying in English in the United States often makes absolutely no sense translated to Mandarin in China.

The University of Montana’s guide to simple sentences is a great starting point to learn how to write for perfect document translation.

5. Tie All the Pieces Together

After you’ve written the original content and had it translated, it’s time to tie all the pieces together.

Don’t just publish the content and expect it to take off all on its own. You must combine your new translated documents with multilingual SEO for the best results.

Multilingual SEO is the key to getting newly translated online content in front of your target audience in new international markets.

Don’t Skimp on a Quality Document Translation Service

There is a lot to consider when it comes to document translation. The most important thing you can do to maintain a solid brand image and accurately get your message across in new international markets is to hire a skilled professional translation service.

Sergio Guillén

As the CEO of Accelingo, I believe in a globalized world where businesses flawlessly share their message across different cultures. I strive to empower startups to scale up globally and take over the world by providing compelling multilingual content that preserves their brand’s message and identity while increasing their reputation and visibility among global clients and partners. If you’re an ambitious startup hungry for international success, get in touch with me today and let’s find out how your startup can benefit from my expertise!

All stories by: Sergio Guillén
10 Comments
  • Angela Waterford April 18, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Thanks for the insight that I have to research the target market before I have my document translated into a different language. In my opinion, using a translation agency is worth every cent because they’re often very accurate. I’ll try to find the right professional translator so that my website will be inclusive as well.

    • Hi, Angela. Thank you for your comment. If you want to make sure your brand is perceived in foreign markets the same way it is perceived in your domestic market, going with a professional translation company specialized in your niche is the right choice. Since you’re looking for a translator for your website, please take a look at our website translation services and reach out to me should you have any comments or questions.

  • I would like to thank you for sharing this amazing content with us. The most important point in the content is to find the right professional translator. To get your documents translated professionally the most important step is to find the right translator for your documents.

  • It’s great you talked about the differences when it comes to looking for a translator who can accurately transcribe a document from one language to another, especially when hiring a human translator who knows the target language intimately. The reason for this is that you would want to make sure that whatever it is you would want to have translated would go over well and be understandable in the new language just as well as it can be understood in the main language. If I had the chance to look for a translator then I would definitely want to get someone who knows the target language very well–preferably, looking for a native speaker of that language would be the best thing to do.

    • Sergio Guillén May 7, 2019 at 8:38 am

      Thank you for sharing your insights, Adrian. As you mentioned, when you hire a translator, you should make sure he or she is a native speaker of that target language, i.e., the language you want your document translated into. If you’re looking for a translation provider to take care of translating your documents, I recommend you reading this post on how to find a quality provider of document translation services. And, of course, do contact us should you have any further comments or questions.

  • Hello…
    Thank you very much for sharing these translation tips, it is very helpful for any translators. love to read it, thanks for sharing!!!

  • This is very helpful information. Thank you for sharing this post!