How To Get Your Documents Translated So That Nothing Gets Lost?

The translation is an important function, for the document to reach various corners of the world. The basic techniques and strategies for translating a document effectively can vary based on authoring tools/engines, publishing channels, type of document, and the length of the document. 


The basic points and checks for translating a document ensure various efficient output such as, the reader saves the time by easily finding the important points, enhancing the user experience, smooth readability, dialect variation are tapered, structure & frame of the sentence is easy to understand. 


To ensure the documents get translated correctly, the following are a few of the important points or obstacles, along with their solution; 


1) Structure/Framing of the language – The structure, voice, and frame of sentences in various languages may be different or maybe sometimes absent in a few of the languages. For example, in English, the adjective is placed before the noun, but in  French, the adjective comes after the noun 


Solution – Limit in Expertise – The Translator or SME should have gained expertise only in a couple of the languages, so this can set the tone of translation correctly and crisp,  also making use of grammar checkers, translation memory tools, and other techniques to ensure that the structure in the target language without changing the meaning or sense of the source document is maintained. 


2) Cultural Diversification – The variation and regional diversification in language also plays an important role, where the culture practiced by the speakers of each language may also be vastly different; Often, colloquialism is woven into formal language, making the translation task very difficult indeed (except in technical documents translations, legal document translations, or translations of medical transcripts). 


Solution – Search, Verify and Confirm – Search & verify the language and dialect the target audience prefers in day-to-day life based on previous communications via meetings, emails, virtually connections, & then by scanning the internet, to use the most popular colloquialism and most common dialect in translation; once translated,  verify the translation with help of Engagement teams or expert (here Engagement  Team can be, pre-sales, post-sales, sales, and marketing, delivery, etc.). 


3) Combination Words – In English, there are many words which are combinations of two to three nouns or adjectives (e.g. Notebook, fighter pilot, break down, etc.),  there are words with closed-form as well as open form, some words are straightforward (e.g. afternoon), some only mean half of the word (e.g. bellboy), and some mean nothing of the original word (e.g. deadline), which can pose a great source of error for translation. 


Solution – Avoid literal translation – During translation, here we require the words which showcase the meaning and deliver the structure of the sentence, by finding an appropriate word, and not an exact translation of the word.


4) Absent terms or phrases – There are many unique terms or phrases in various languages which suffice to source language only, and which can make translation tricky. For example, The term Reservation Certificate is not familiar in most parts of the world and has no specific translation available in most of the languages.


Solution – Consult with Client – It is the best practice in such a situation to get details from the client based on such cases as the best course to take. They may suggest retaining the word of the source document, or they may suggest a new term themselves, or may even ask you to come up with a newly coined term that gets as close to the actual meaning as possible.


5) Multi-meaning Words – There are many words in English,  

a) whose meaning changes as per their use in a sentence, for example Joint (Joint of a  table v/s Food Joint), Break (break a plate v/s Coffee break),  

b) spellings are the same but pronunciation is different, for example: lead (lead a team  v/s pencil lead), 

c) spellings are different but pronunciation is the same, for example: Feel v/s Fill


Solution – Read & understand carefully – Here the translator or expert needs to be vigilant and understand the context, meaning, and reason of the sentence followed by paragraph or section of the document, before beginning the translation. 


Apart from these, there are various other factors that could be considered such as time limit, personal challenges, quality, cost, knowledge to make sure these areas are also covered, so they do not provide any hindrance for translation.


Do you have any documents that need to be translated? Reach out to Metapercept Technology Services LLP at for all your Technical Publication, Localization, Translational, and Information Architecture requirements.

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