The translator needs information on the text he or she is going to translate. Who is the target audience? What is the aim of the text? Is it going to be published? If so, what means of communication will be used? We often receive texts or sentences without any context. When this happens, we have to ask the client if they are to be published. In order to translate these texts professionally, we need to know if they are to be published, and what means of communication is to be used: the text will be handled differently if it is to be printed on packaging, in a leaflet, in a spoken video or on a billboard. Some languages, such as English and Portuguese, pose another crucial issue: which country the text will be used in. (Should it be translated into British English or American English? To the Portuguese of Brazil or Portugal?)
Provide us with some information on the context: provide us with the graphics and images that will accompany the text and the full text if only sections are to be translated. All of these context elements are very useful to the translator. Many instruction manuals, such as those that describe product assembly, are accompanied by figures or images that illustrate the text and help to make it understandable. It is important for translators to have a clear picture of the processes described into the texts to be translated. In this way, they will be able to express themselves more clearly and avoid ambiguity.
Give us all the materials you have available to help optimise the translation process: product information, previous texts, catalogues, graphic material and corporate terminology. Indicate clearly which texts you are sending as reference material, so that they are not confused with the texts to be translated.
As far as is possible, try not to send incomplete texts or those that are not the definitive version. Bear in mind that, throughout the translation and correction process, different versions of the text will be generated automatically. Modifications that are made later to the initial text have to be integrated while the translation process is underway, complicating the procedure enormously and increasing the risk of mistakes. The difficulties are even greater in the case of multilingual translation projects.
Send us legible texts. Texts that are handwritten, in a small font, or those that have been sent by fax several times, are very hard to read and make the translation process more difficult. Illegible elements can often be deciphered from the context information, but the task becomes almost impossible for names, numbers and abbreviations. In cases like this, the client will have to revise the text carefully and ensure that the numbers and other elements are correct. This can be avoided by simply sending us legible originals.
Wherever possible, send us your texts in a digital file. Electronic formats save time and make text management far simpler. Furthermore, we can overwrite the files, allowing us to maintain the original text format and edit the text using computer-assisted translation tools. In this way, we can guarantee maximum uniformity, even in large-scale projects.
Think of all the requirements the translation will have to fulfil and make sure your order is accompanied by clear, comprehensible instructions. Check to see if the text contains abbreviations, internal company terms or other elements that may need clarification. Let us know how you would like the format, style and other characteristics of the text handled. Request our special order form or use the on-line order form on our website.
Give clear indications as to the deadline. Indications such as “urgent”, “as soon as possible” or “the usual deadline” are relative and can be interpreted in different ways. Therefore, we recommend that you give us an exact date. We will consider the suggested deadline and inform you in advance of our availability.
Check that we have received your order, especially if you have sent it by fax or e-mail. Tell us how many files or pages you have sent. If possible, give us a call to ensure that the material has been received correctly. In this way, there will be no unpleasant surprises such as discovering that there is material missing when we deliver the translation.
And finally, our most important recommendation: Give us enough time and remember to factor in translation work when planning your company’s processes. Try to avoid last-minute or rushed translation orders. Translating involves carrying out exhaustive information searches, writing a text, leaving it alone and then checking it again carefully. After that come a number of correction tasks. Stress has a negative impact on the quality of the service and very tight deadlines do not allow time for solving any unforeseen problems that may crop up. Don’t forget that the translator needs time to do his or her work too.