Choose your translators carefully!
Obvious, right? But this simple rule is something that we’ve seen the majority of translation houses choose to ignore. Let Rhubarb Fool offer some simple tips that will help you generate high quality translated material for your clients.
Make sure the glove fits
If you’re translating copy to publish in an high-end, consumer retail publication; then be sure you use an editor with experience of high-end retail publications. At Rhubarb Fool we won’t actually work with translators as they often take a one dimensional approach to copy. Rather, we work with editors who adapt the copy. By doing this we are able to …
Avoid the one-size fits all approach
The majority of our competitors appear to use the same translator for a highly-technical manual, as they would use for an advertisement from a fashion house.
Keep it simple
Flowery language, and clever over-complicated sentences only complicate matters when it comes to translation and what sounds sophisticated in one language can sound stupid in another. Keep it simple and employ a translator who not only is thoroughly bi-lingual, but can also write to the standard required.
When it comes to laying out copy, do not assume your in-house designer can do this unless they are fluent in the language they are working with. Sure build templates in house. But don’t overlook the flow of the adapted copy. Line-breaks or words slashed in half can alter meaning, ruin text. And to the visitor just look plain wrong.
A font of all knowledge
Rely on your native page designer to advise you on the best font to use for the closer approximation of the look and feel you are trying to achieve.
House of Fraser or Fraser’s Home
Translating brand names and addresses is a complicated matter. Some of the big brands, Harrods for example, are so well known that their name has been adapted all over the world. Smaller brands? Not so much. In Korean the translation of Woolworth will literally mean the value of wool.
Phonetic Translation, to use or not to use
It is worth using phonetic translation though so even if the meaning is nonsense the sound once pronounced can sound startingly similar.
Where the devil lurks
You would use a proofreader for the work you do for your own market right? So don’t skimp on employing a separate native proofreader. The devil is always lurking in the detail. At Rhubarb Fool we don’t only use native editors to translate, we use separate native editors to proof as well.
Text revisions are expensive
Often a translation house will have a minimum charge for translating content. So don’t expect your seven word tagline to cost 7 x cost per word.
Use Google translate
Of course you shouldn’t, but sometimes if you want to check that the right piece of text has been laid out in the right part of the feature this
can assist. Let’s say you have an image caption or pull-quote for example. There’s no crime in using Google translate to check. Once you do the translation you’ll soon see how hit and miss the service can be. But nonetheless, it can give a rough idea.
Remember time zones
Calling your translation house and saying I need this amend done immediately might be possible, but only depending on the time zone. No-body wants to get an urgent request when they’re off to bed.
Use a translator you know and trust. In China and across the middle east there are so many regional dialects that getting the occasional letter from the client saying “I have run your translation past my daughter’s Chinese friends and she says you shouldn’t phrase it like that!” Where is the daughter from? What dialect is she using. Language is a fluid thing. There are a thousand ways to convey a meaning, an essence. There is on the other hand only one way to be grammatically correct.Rhubarb Fool has adapted text for companies such as Westfield, Selfridges, Morris Visitor Publications, Harrods, Harpers Bazaar and benefits from having established a network of editors across the world.