Avoiding Bad Translations
Bad translations can result from translator error, mishandling, and cultural misunderstandings among other things. Everyone involved in working with materials that have been or will be translated should pay careful attention not to alter the text in any way. A clear chain of custody for all projects can ensure the integrity of translations. However, new technologies have made managing translation projects easier than ever.
In the days before computer and internet technologies, translators had to work with hard copies of texts. This could lead to obvious errors as the text made its way to the typesetter. Surprisingly, some companies manage to make this mistake even with the technological advantages available now. Make sure that all the members of your team know how to handle translated materials. Allowing an unqualified reviewer on your team to alter a document after a translation is complete can lead to a lost translation.
The days of translating content by hand are long gone (and if they're not for you, it's time for you to immediately check out a Translation Management System).
Overcome Bad Translations With A TMS
Managing translation projects in the long term also requires a consistent effort. Many companies do not have the manpower or the resources to keep track of their project history, successful translations, bad translations, turnover times, and the personnel who handled each job. Also, the employee in charge of contacting the translator had to constantly send emails to confirm deadlines, check on a translation’s progress, or request last-minute changes.
Using a TMS for translations saves time and money while increasing consistency.
Using a translation management systems (TMS) makes this entire process much smoother. Many systems have workflow management built into their interfaces, meaning that companies can manage their projects all in one place. This normally includes the ability to grant or limit team members’ access to a given project. Tools like these can help managers monitor who handles the translation every step of the way and keep an eye on deadlines.
Another benefit of using a translation management system is that translators and team members in your organization can effectively work on the same platform. Again, people often introduce errors when they are transferring text from one platform to another. The more you can limit this, the less likely employees will be to alter a text inadvertently.
Translation memory, though, probably saves companies the most time and money. This kind of tool allows translators to log the words they use in particular contexts. Once translators on a team have made decisions about a term, for example, they will not have to reconsider that term—all they have to do is use the term recorded in the translation memory database. Beyond saving time, this also avoids variations between translators.
The way companies present themselves in a foreign language can make or break them in that market. Managers should strive to avoid bad translations at all cost. In part, they should carefully plan who handles translated documents, how they are transferred from one person to the next, and how and where the results are recorded. The great news for organizations is that technology makes every link in the chain a little stronger.
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