Professional document translators are needed more today than at any time in human history. The politics of globalisation may be in doubt in many parts of the world at the moment, but the momentum for many businesses to seek out new markets around the world beyond their own borders is not showing any signs of slowing down.
One of the lessons behind successful document translation in today’s globalised world is to ensure that the language used for all material intended to be read by the target audience is customised to suit their culture and linguistic norms. This usually means seeking out specialised language translators for each of the languages that are used by the groups of people who will read any of the material that you are producing, whether this is website pages, labels, manuals, leaflets, instruction sheets, billboards or any other material.
Before sending your material off to the professional translator you need to go through it first to cut down on potential inconsistencies. Are there any images? Do these have captions? Are the images and the slogans or captions culturally appropriate? If not, you will need to change them rather than expect the translator to adapt them for you.
If you expect to use the same translator or professional translation agency for a lot of translation material, you should provide a style guide and you may also discuss preparing a glossary which can be used in future translations if you do not have one already.
The more time spent on editing and proofreading the material or documents you are going to send to the translator the more likely that they will be translated efficiently. The more the documents incorporate slang, jargon, clichés and metaphors.
As far as making a choice between freelancers and translation agencies, there are advantages of each. Translation agencies tend to have a number of professional translators who work for them or with them and if you are looking to translate your documents or marketing material into a number of different languages, this might be the best option. The preparation you then provide for the agency will then be passed on to all the individual translators needed to translate your material into the different languages.
On the other hand, if you just want a one language translation, then hiring a freelancer has certain advantages, too. Communication is likely to be faster and the relationship you build with this individual may be more personal than with an agency.
If you need your translation certified or notarized, choosing a local NAATI translator from your area is often easier than wading through websites of online translators you will never get to meet. Of course, you can speed up the process by sending your document by email but when the translation is completed it’s nice to be able to pick it up from the translator so you can check to make sure the translation is how you want it and that the translator has certified the translation as correct.
Balanced against that is the undeniable fact that there may simply be no local professional translator who can translate the language you want nearby. That’s when an online translation service comes into its own.
One of the factors that must be taken into consideration when choosing an online translator is the time zone difference. Communication may not flow with as much ease as with a locally based translator. Balanced against that is the advantage of an online translation service which can promise a 24 hour turnaround and offer low rates for the work.
How To Find a Local Translator
This is when you go into Google and put in your search term such as NAATI translation services in Australia and you locate the translator’s address on Google maps to find which one is close to you. You can also access the NAATI translators’ list which provides NAATI accredited translators who have proven experience in the language you are after. A NAATI translator will always be prepared to certify and sign translations as he or she has the credentials and experience to do so.
NAATI translators are some of the best translators in the translation industry as they go through a period of training before they are accredited. The accreditation only takes place after the translator has sat an examination. The government of Australia only uses NAATI translators for its translation requirements.
If you have ever had to have an important document of your own translated into another language because it had to be submitted to a government department or an employer then you will have come across what is known as ‘sworn translation’. Every year in Australia, for instance, thousands of migrants make use of approved translators to translate their birth certificates, degrees or diplomas, trade certificates and employment contracts.
Sworn translation is generally never left just to those who consider themselves linguistically competent. In Australia, these sorts of official documents must be translated by professional translation services. These companies or agencies have accredited or approved translators who know how to deal with the usual range of legal documents that must be made available to support applications for visas, temporary and long term employments, study and citizenship.
Most countries in the western world have established clear procedures for the way in which sworn translation takes place. In Australia, for instance, translations must be carried out by translators who have been accredited by the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). NAATI translation provides a guarantee that an honest and accurate translation of key documents has been carried out. NAATI translators will ensure that the translation they have been entrusted with is certified by them to show that it is an accurate version of the original document.
In some European countries, the translator must swear that a translated document is an accurate copy before a court (hence the term ‘sworn translation’), but this is not by any means a uniform practice. In the U.K. or U.S., where the equivalent of an organisation like NAATI does not exist, the translator bears the legal responsibility that a document they have translated is a valid translation. In theory, a member of the public who is not a trained or professional translator could translate a birth certificate, for instance, and sign the document to say they certify that it is an accurate translation.
If you think you have to have an important document or documents translated, then make sure whether it is regarded as a sworn translation and what the rules are concerning translation. Taking short cuts may lead to a visa being cancelled or at the very least postponed or delayed.
Most people in Australia understand that anyone coming to Australia from somewhere where English is not the mother tongue will probably have to confront the issue of translating key legal documents. Even ordinary tourists may have to translate their driving licenses into English if their home licenses are not written in English. This is not just a requirement in Australia, as most countries insist that foreigners translate their licenses into the host language if they want to hire a car to drive around in.
Of course, an ordinary tourist is unlikely to be searching for the services of a NAATI translation service provider just to get their driving license translated. They can apply for an international license before they leave home. International licenses are commonly translated into a number of the major world languages like French, German, Spanish, Japanese etc.
Foreigners who stay for longer in Australia as students, employees, businesspeople or migrants will soon find that they need to translate quite a number of key legal documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, employment records, educational and professional qualifications, transcripts, bank statements and financial statements, just to mention the main ones.
This is where the use of professional translation services in Australia, whether they are translation services in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide or any other major city, have a major role to play. In general, translated documents need to be translated by an authorized translator. In Australia that means a translator or translation agency that employs NAATI translators who have been accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
It’s not just visitors that may need to get key legal documents translated. Many businesses that have dealings with or business in Australia or wish to do business in Australia will no doubt find that supporting documentation and application forms are translated or at least completed in English. Examples include things like patents and copyright applications. Without these important documents being approved in Australia there is a risk that both intellectual property and technological ideas could be copied at a financial loss to the rightful owner.
Content translation moves businesses ahead
These days a business’s website is the main method of marketing its products whether they are tangible products or services. A potential customer whether looking for something in their local area or overseas gets out their smartphone and puts in a search and that’s often their first point of contact they have with the product. Interestingly English is not the only language used on the Internet. In fact more than 50% of Google searches take place in a language other than English. Any business that doesn’t take advantage of this apparent fact and fails to translate their website into some of the main languages used in internet communication around the world will be losing out to competitors who took the wise move and paid for professional translation services.
Emphasizing localisation of a product does not necessarily mean that’s the best way to move a company forward. The local market is always limited while reaching out to the global market is limitless. Many companies in the U.S., for example, emphasized the local market more in the 2008 economic downturn than normal, but they didn’t take into account the fact that up to 20% of U.S. households speak a language other than English.
It’s always warming for a person who is not living in their country of birth to hear some dialogue going on in their native language. It might be a surprise to know that for 60% of Californian households English is not their native language.
It seems that the top 100 U.S. retailers still fail to get their web sites translated into a second language, in spite of the fact that more than 70% of the Earth’s 2.3 billion users of the Internet are not English native speakers and quite a number of them live in their own backyard.
Every language that is used to market products through a website inevitably attracts more customers. The more languages there are, the better. Research published by the Harvard Business Review notes indicates that 9 out of 10 Europeans prefer to search for information and compare products using their own native languages. An adviser who specializes in translation services in Australia has discovered that visitors will remain on a site far longer if it is written in their own language.
It doesn’t take too much to engage the expertise of NAATI translation services in Australia to get your business moving into the global market, as well as attracting non English speakers in the local market too.
There is no question that emails have reduced boundaries and have increased the speed of communication in workplaces, between family and friends and the movement and paying for products.
One of the first people to benefit from email was the management in workplaces as they could get a message out to their workers all in one go without the need to type and deliver such messages by hand. It also meant that discussions about just about anything could all be jammed in an email and the responses could be sent back too. Unfortunately though, interpreting an email is not necessarily as simple as that and sometimes people can misinterpret what the message is supposed to convey which may mean several emails are passed amongst a group of employees before the true meaning is finally determined.
When real face to face communication takes place between people there are more than just words that are exchanged. There are facial expressions, smiles, laughter and looks of disapproval. These all make up part of our non-verbal communication tools between each other. Emails, particularly those that are of a serious tone, may lead to misunderstanding if the receiver is unable to really understand the email deeply. They have even been known to cause such bad disagreements amongst fellow workers that whole afternoons have been taken up resolving the issues. This is certainly not what emails were designed for.
In a workplace in particular there are employees from all works of life. Trying to put them all in one box when it comes to communication may not work as well as you might think. A younger person, an older person, a person of a different gender or a different ethnic group may all read between the lines of an email in a different way. Take for example a communal email sent out by the CEO to a whole group of employees. To be quick about the process the employees email addresses will assume an order when the email is sent. The recipients may well question the order of importance of each of them. Is the person who is first on the list the most important? If it is a directive from management regarding improper conduct of an employee the first on the email list may feel he or she is being singled out as the culprit.
There are some employers who have established some rules for the use of emails indicating that if an issue can’t be resolved through one single email response than a face to face situation has to be arranged to solve the issue. Just imagine if the email has to be put into several languages to reflect the language groups in a workplace. The translator from professional translation services will need to have a full understanding of the individuality of each of the employees in order to compile an email that does not offend. That’s why translation services in Australia normally only use NAATI translation services, which have fully accredited translators who understand the importance of the cultural influences of language.
Most businesses are aware of how important it is to have consistency in any of their documents or manuals. Consistency is an important issue to consider when it comes to translation. Translation service providers in Adelaide and in other main cities across Australia use a number of ways in which consistency of vocabulary usage is retained. Probably the most important way in which consistency is achieved is through the use of translation memory or TM for short.
Translation memory has nothing to do with online translation software which can provide rough and ready translations cheaply or even for free. Most of these online automated translators do not provide sufficiently accurate translations for anything other than for personal or amateur use.
What translation memory can do is to store specific words, terms and phrases which are in common use in a document translation service. Every time these words and phrases are used again, the same translation is performed automatically, thereby achieving more consistent translation. Because translation memory is an automated, yet precise system, it also can be used quite cheaply without requiring a human translator to perform the translation manually. That helps to combine consistency with lower costs to the client.
When a translator is faced with a translation project, their translation memory software scans the document for matching words and phrases. Any such text may be viewed as a “perfect match,” which means that these words can be translated without having to be checked by the translator. Typically, translators charge by the word, but because the words retained in storage by TM do not have to be translated by the human translator they attract a much lower cost pr word – 20 – 30% of the full cost.
More commonly, specific words and phrases may be viewed as a “fuzzy match”. This means that the similarity is not exact, yet the words are not completely different. Fuzzy matches do require the translator to intervene and choose the best interpretation. These fuzzy matches are again priced at a reduced cost – say 50 – 60% of the full cost per word.
When the translation memory does not recognise the words to be translated, then a “no match” will be returned and these words will have to be translated by the human translator, thereby attracting the full cost per word.
Translation memories are not a one off tool. A client benefits when they have chosen a document translation service provider that they can establish an ongoing and long term relationship with. The words and phrases then retained in the translation memory will gradually build up as documents are provided to the translator which means that as time goes on, the cost to the client should gradually drop while at the same time consistency in vocabulary is not compromised – a win-win result!
If you are intending on paying for a translator to translate your document, there are a number of things you should know before you take the plunge.
1. A professional translator is not as fast as a machine translator, so if you have a long document you would like translated, expect to see between 2,500 and 5,000 words being translated every day.
Continue reading “Facts Every Translation Client Should Know About”
The value of a professional translation service is spelled out every time there is a little mistake in the translation that can become a potential disaster, or at least an embarrassment. Very often, the problem is more likely to happen when one person is interpreting for someone else rather than translating. This is because someone working for a Professional Translation Service has more time to double check that they are providing an accurate translation of the text they are dealing with. The interpreter, on the other hand, often has to make sense of what someone is saying on the spur of the moment. This can lead to tragic consequences in some situations.
Continue reading “How Little Translation Mistakes can Turn into Big Headaches”
Tip No 1 – Keep Your Website Updated
Whatever your target market, make sure you constantly update and monitor the success of your website. Websites were never designed to be absolutely static and unchanging. They work best when they get people looking at them and using them and that needs fresh, good quality content and your Website Translation Services Team should be ready to move with the changes in the website.
Continue reading “Website Translation Tips that Work”