Submitting source materials for review before the start of a translation project may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually a very effective way to streamline the overall translation process and avoid costly revisions down the line. And although source documents such as company brochures and user manuals or normally prepared with care, until they’re reviewed by a professional third party, there’s no way to guarantee that the text is truly understandable to audiences beyond your company’s own four walls. Especially for large localization projects with multiple target languages, a preliminary review is a simple yet powerful way to address potential issues and errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and readability before translators begin the challenging process of optimizing your message for foreign markets. Addressing problems such as rarely-used acronyms, inconsistent terminology and ambiguous wording up front allows you to save time responding to requests for clarification from multiple translators so you and your team can concentrate on what matters most.
Cost savings and higher quality results
There’s a long list of good reasons to have your source materials reviewed by a professional before sending them for translation. Here are just a few:
- Readability: If the proofreader doesn’t understand a term, abbreviation or particular wording in your source content, there’s a pretty good chance your intended audience — not to mention the translators responsible for localizing the document — won’t understand it either.
- Less time spent clarifying issues during the translation process: When you’ve got deadlines coming up, questions and requests for clarification from translators are the last thing you and your team need. But this type of feedback is common, and the best way to save time down the line and ensure you meet your deadlines is to set time aside up front to have your source materials thoroughly reviewed so that you can address any and all potential issues before the translators set to work.
- Text quality: The quality criteria placed on any given document or media depend on the type of content they contain, the target audience, the communication goal and any legal requirements they might be subject to. In a preliminary review, a professional proofreader checks your text against these and other quality criteria you specify. When it comes to quality, the technical side of things also matters. For translation, this means making sure translation memories are populated with high-quality entries by first ensuring that the source document is completely free of errors. Failure to do so could end up costing you later on.
- Getting the most out of translation memories: It’s important to make sure that source documents use consistent spelling, names, terminology, units of measure, slogans and formatting. Even minute differences in a text are taken into account by translation memories, and a lack of consistency means you might end up footing the bill for text which has already been translated.
- Higher rates of correspondence between source and target: Translation memories are often used for translating in both directions (Across actually does this by default). This means your source text may be used at a later point in time as a suggested translation if there’s a high enough correspondence between the new source text and the former target text. For German to English translations, this means your German originals are kept in the translation memory to be used as potential content for subsequent translations from English into German, thus impacting the quality of expression in your target documents. Given the increasing amount of content being produced by non-native speakers today, it’s essential to have your source materials thoroughly reviewed prior to being translated to avoid having to make corrections and clean up your translation memories later.