• Always provide bi-lingual contracts using a template where both languages are laid out side-by-side. This is essential if you will be discussing the contract with your client (with or without an interpreter).
  • Look for a preferred glossary of terms before translating technical manuals. This will avoid any confusion over the meaning of specialized phrases.
  • Keep the text that is to be translated simple and direct. Don’t play on words or use colloquialisms – the meaning can be lost in translation.
  • Don’t use machine or online translation to communicate with your client. Important points may be missed or misinterpreted.
  • Ensure that job titles are translated correctly. There are cultural norms relating to job titles and if they are not correct, offence can be caused!
  • Ensure that your Translation Provider creates a translation memory (sentences or paragraphs that have previously been translated), and uses this as well as the glossary of terms for all future translations to ensure precision and consistency
  • When you receive correspondence which requires a reply in a foreign language, make sure that you are aware of any deadlines before starting the translation. This will enable your Translation Provider to plan the project accordingly.
  • When tendering for overseas contracts, discuss with your Translation Provider how and by whom the documents will be certified within the required time schedule. Public Sector bodies, for example, have specific instructions for translation processes which have to be adhered to, as well as a minimum timeframe for legalising translated documents.
  • Wherever possible ensure that your Translation Provider can deliver certified translations so that you can show your client a commitment to doing business. This will also prevent any legal mistakes.
  • If your overseas client makes any amendments to a translated technical document, ask your Translation Provider to identify what the changes are. Are they preferential or has the source been changed? Don’t forget to arrange for the translation memory software to be updated for future use.

Janet Perkins – T W Languages

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