Make Your Translations Work for You: 3 Ways to Streamline Your Translation Services

May 27, 2014

elearning_translationAny company who has contracted translation services has undoubtedly pondered the issues of how to reduce costs, decrease turnaround time, and ensure quality translations. The good news is that most language service providers are dedicated to solving these very problems for their clients and will gladly work with you to implement translation memory, translation glossaries, and style guides to streamline your company’s translation projects. To help you understand how to make your translations work for you, we’ve provided an overview of three tools that when used together, can dramatically reduce translation costs and improve productivity.

Translation Memory

What is it?

Translation memory (TM) software prevents previously translated content from being repeated. This means time and cost of translations are greatly reduced. Translation memory programs can mean up to 40% reduction in cost along with a 60% increase in productivity. Translation memory tools also help ensure consistent translation of specific terms and higher quality translations.

How does it work?

Translation memory software stores all translated terms in its database. When the program sees that a word is repeated, its previous translation is displayed. A translation memory program searches its database for exact matches within the new text. Exact matches will be automatically replaced in the target text but can be accepted or rejected by the translator. When more than one translation of a given term has been entered, both options will appear for the translator to choose from. All new content that is translated using the TM software is stored for use in future projects.

When should I use it?

Translation memory software is most useful for content that has a high level of repetition such as contracts or regular documentation. TM is also useful for localization of content and as a complement to content management systems.

Translation Glossary

What is it?

Every company has its own lingo and every industry has specific buzzwords. Translation glossaries are used to help your language service provider consistently use your preferred terms when translating your documents. Translation glossaries eliminate a translator’s doubts about which word to choose and greatly reduce time spent searching for a specialized term.

How does it work?

A translation glossary is the dictionary of an organization’s preferred terms. Glossaries range in complexity, depending on their size and scope. A small glossary can be set up in a spreadsheet, whereas larger companies may need to use an automated database with all their terms for each language pair. When a translator enters a given term into your translation glossary they will be able to see all approved translations of the term in a given language. A more complex glossary may also include information such as parts of speech, definition, and context. Many language service providers use automated tools to create translation glossaries which can then be uploaded into translation memory software to further facilitate the translation process.

When should I use it?

A translation glossary is especially helpful when dealing with specialized terminology that may vary depending on specific contexts. Glossaries also prove crucial for marketing material, where word choice makes a huge difference in how your message will be received.

Style Guide

What is it?

Style guides lay down the rules for formatting and general appearance of all you company’s documents. Stylistic choices are no longer subject to each translator’s preference as guidelines on capitalization, punctuation, measurement, and numbering are standardized across all translation projects. Style guides provide the translator with information about the target audience as well as the desired tone of the translation, whether formal or informal. Use of a style guide greatly reduces your time spent editing or formatting a translation.

How does it work?

A style guide is like a handbook for the translator. A new style guide will probably need to be created for each dialect of a target language since stylistic norms vary greatly from region to region. Language service providers who have knowledge of a given country are the best source for information on stylistic norms of a language and should be referred to when creating style guides.

When should I use it?

It is essential for an organization to have consistency in their communications and this extends to their translated documents as well. Style guides are especially important for large projects that will be divided across several translators and should be used by any company that regularly contracts translation or localization services.

If you would like additional information on this topic or have questions on planning and executing your next translation or multilingual initiative, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation or call us at (800) 413-7838.

Comments are closed.