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Translations, correction work and training


Nelson Mandela

If you talk to a man in a language he understands,
that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language,that goes to his heart

It is possible to sell in any language, but buying is another matter… each of us prefers to do so in our own language. What each of us derives from our own language is a sense of proximity, trust, etc. This has been confirmed by numerous pieces of research.

We live in an increasingly multilingual society, and we do not always do our shopping at the corner shop, but we know how to appreciate what is close to us, home-made and our own. And language use is highly significant in this respect.

Companies are aware of this, and they make a great effort to bring the language of communication close to that of their customers, but not always as they should.

1.- Sometimes the company itself is capable of using more than one language properly. If that is the case, go ahead! But if texts have to be translated, one has to approach a professional translator. The mere fact of speaking two languages is not enough to know how to translate between them. To produce quality translations, the translator needs training and experience. And every translator must translate only into his or her mother tongue.

2.- Original: quality, format… It is very difficult to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear or good translations from poor original texts. Before sending the text to be translated, it is advisable to have it checked and the necessary amendments and corrections made before embarking on the translation of it. In addition, sending the translator the text in an electronic format that allows editing will facilitate and speed up the work and thus reduce the cost. In the case of graphics, for example, the translator cannot intervene in many cases.

3.- Establish sensible deadlines. If a report has taken us months to write, we cannot expect it to be translated from one day to the next. It may be no more than an advertising slogan or a single sentence, yet it is not always possible to translate it in a matter of minutes. The size of the work, degree of technicality and complexity influence translation work, and that has to be taken into consideration when setting a deadline.

4.-Specialised translations: technical texts. To translate technical texts, it is important for the translator not only to be trained in translation, but also to be an expert in the particular field of expertise, because special terminology and structures will need to be used.

5.- Specialised translations: advertising. There are many aspects involved in translating advertising copy and advertising slogans. As a general rule, it takes a lot of time and thought to produce advertising copy that is properly linked to the puns and images that work in one language but which do not always have an equivalent in other languages.  In such cases, the most appropriate thing is to take the translation into consideration throughout the creation process. Otherwise, the translator needs to be given time to create if he/she is to achieve a successful result.

6.-Customer criteria, images and complementary information. The more information the translator has about the subject of the translation, the better he/she will do the work. That is why it is important to provide all the complementary material that is available: images, criteria or lists of terms specified in advance, etc. Likewise, it is advisable to provide the context of the subject of the translation: what it aims to achieve, who it is intended for, etc.

7.- Machine translations Nowadays, machines can also do translations and there are many machine translation tools on the Internet, but their results are very unlikely to be on a par with those that can be provided by a trained human translator, especially in certain language pairs, and even more so when Basque is one of them. If we use one of these resources, post-editing will be indispensable, in other words, the work done by the machine will need to be corrected by a human. Yet in some cases, because machine translation in the required language pair may not yet be very advanced, or because the text is very technical, or because there could be more than one meaning, for example, it is more economical to have the text translated directly by a translator than to correct the work done by the machine.

8.- A person rather than a machine translation system doing the work does not mean that the work will be done manually. OLI tools (tools for producing Computer Aided Translations) are available for this purpose. Today, nearly all translation companies make use of translation memories. That way, previously translated text segments are made use of. That speeds up the work and helps new translations to preserve consistency with respect to the previous ones. What is more, translation memories can feed databases with pairs of terms, so that whenever a term in the database appears, it can be rendered in the same way, if one so wishes.

9.- Reviewing edition or layout. Once the translation has been completed, if the editing or layout of the text needs to be carried out before the final version is produced, it is advisable for the translator to check the result, because the order of the text and images may differ between the original text and the translation, and language errors may emerge when the layout is carried out.

10.- Loyalty towards the translators ensures consistency. Working always with the same team of translators improves the result, because it ensures the consistency of the translations. What is more, if the supplier has been made aware of the customer’s criteria, tastes, etc., the final result will be a more satisfied customer.