Taking into account the following tips while preparing and writing texts that will later be translated into other languages may well save you time and money during the translation phase.

Clear and concise text

The cost of a translation usually depends on the length of the text. You may be able to save costs by editing your text and removing everything you don’t really need before you send the text for translation.

When you write text for information purposes:

  • Use concise and unambiguous language, clear sentence structure, and short sentences.
  • Use the same terms to refer to the same items.
  • Avoid using synonyms and unnecessary variation; instead try to use identical sentences and expressions where possible, without impairing the style.
  • Avoid rare or unusual abbreviations, or explain what they mean.

Also make sure that your text is the final version before you send it for translation. If necessary, have your text revised before the translation process gets underway. Translation is easier when the source text is unambiguous and free of errors. Changes made during translation work increase costs – all the more when you have a large number of language versions to amend.

Create a style guide for your company that defines the practices, preferred terms and expressions to be used in your corporate communications. It helps to ensure that your corporate message remains clear and consistent, improves the image of your company, and facilitates translation into other languages. We would be happy to help you create a style guide for your company.

Text formatting

  • Do not indent your text by pressing the tab key or space bar repeatedly.
  • Do not add unnecessary line breaks, but only press the Enter key at the end of a paragraph.
  • Do not convert the text into a PDF file, but send it to the translator in the original file format (Word, Excel, HTML, IDML, XML, etc.)

This enables the text to be handled using the appropriate software applications, such as CAT tools, and eliminates the need for unnecessary file conversions and formatting steps, all of which will help to avoid formatting errors and save both time and costs.

Recycling text

Translation memory technology helps to utilise repetitive texts and materials that have been translated earlier which saves translation costs, particularly when you use the same supplier for the majority of your translation projects.

A translation memory is a database where both the source and target texts are saved during the translation process. When a similar text is translated again, the translation memory software finds the corresponding earlier translations from the database, which makes the translation work faster and helps to keep the texts consistent.

You can optimise the benefits gained from translation memory by considering the possibility of recycling text while still at the writing stage:

  • Avoid long and complicated sentences.
  • Always try to express repetitive sections in the same way.
  • Try not to make unnecessary formatting changes.
  • If you have texts that have been translated previously, try to use suitable extracts from these as the basis of your new text, whenever possible.

Translation memory tools also allow the creation of translation memory databases from material that has been translated earlier. This is possible when you have an identical file version of the same text in both the source and target languages, and again this can make translation work faster and reduce costs.

Support material

If you have any company, product, or industry-specific glossaries and term bases, send them along with the text to be translated. This helps to ensure consistent use of terminology in your translated versions.

Term bases can also be collected and complemented during translation work, and along with translation memories, they are a valuable resource in future translation and authoring projects.

When possible, send us relevant background information and materials that can be useful to translators, and let us know of any sources of additional information. Also appoint a contact person, or persons, in your company who can answer potential questions about the texts being translated.

We’ll be happy to provide further information on this subject, so contact us if you have any questions about translation matters.