Efficiency Tips: Writing for Translation

Date
May
11
20170511

EFFICIENCY TIPS: WRITING FOR TRANSLATION

Here we’ve compiled here a quick list of the most useful writing tips which will help save time and effort and reduce costs:

  • First decide and select only what you need to communicate – don’t include what is not important, or perhaps not so important.
  • Think carefully about your project from the perspective of the recipient. Do some research if you are uncertain about this. You will need your recipients to feel that what they are reading is natural to them – that it fits with their own language, culture, customs and other characteristics of their locale.
  • Think about and perhaps discuss with your translation firm, the order in which your material should be presented, especially if your budget is pushing you towards a ‘phased’ presentation or implementation.
  • For printed material, planning layout in advance of writing copy can be helpful. Understand which factors can influence the ease and cost of managing your project.
  • Discuss with your translation firm how best to present your copy to them to save time and expense, both at your end and theirs.
  • Create simple, concise, straightforward text. Where possible, keep sentences short and limited to a single idea.
  • If English copy already exists for your pending translations review and revise it.
  • Avoid words with double meanings and references or metaphors that may not make sense in other cultures. Don’t use buzz words, abbreviations, industry jargon, colloquial expression or humour.
  • Where possible, create standardised text. It will save time and money if you can re-use blocks of text from one document to the next and help provide consistency in your presentation.
  • Beware that despite your best efforts, some copy may translate more easily into some languages than others. Be sure to talk to your translators about any possible difficulties.
  • Provide only fully proofed final copy for translation.

Don’t translate ‘works in progress’.