People who work with documents all the time and speak multiple languages often assume that translating some of these materials is easy as pie, but then sit down and find themselves bogged down with the task for many hours. Indeed, effective translation is a practice that takes a lot of learning, especially when it comes to more complex texts and documentation. So if you’re just setting off on this journey of translation, the tips below might make the process easier for you.
1. Do Not Take Liberties With Meanings
Document translation differs from most other instances of translation in the aspect that there is a huge responsibility to be accurate with wording. Let’s take, for example, a contract. If the original text says that some task must be done before a certain date, but the translation changes it to “by” a certain date, there is now the possibility of it being done one day later than expected. You should take great pains to avoid changing meanings or adding/removing them.
2. Use Uniform And Relevant Terminology
Speaking about terminology, this does not just apply to the closest translation, but rather the one most suited to the situation. For example, many countries’ legislations require clear categorization of workers, so using the terms ‘employee’ and ‘contractor’ interchangeably in the translation may put you at risk of legal action and misunderstandings. Before starting translation, it is best to get a comprehensive list of terms that should be used.
3. Be Wary Of Formatting Changes
Cultural and regional differences are an unavoidable factor in any translation, especially among cultures with thousands of miles between them. The translator’s role is to be aware of these differences and make sure nothing gets mixed up. Perhaps the most common example of this is how days and months are formatted, as well as 12/24 hour time readings. So if you see a date of 09/10 or something like that, the specific month and day should be verified.
4. Pay Attention To The Smallest Details
No one likes doing pointless or redundant work, but interpreters use the rule of thumb that it is better to use too many words than too few. This is because minor details play a huge role in official documents, and leaving a few of them out (even seemingly unimportant ones) can lead to some very unexpected and unpleasant repercussions.
5. Avoid Relying On Automation Too Much
It is well-known that automated translation tools (like Google Translate) make plenty of mistakes, and accordingly are not suitable as a sole instrument of document translation. So even if you are in a hurry and want to save time, you shouldn’t just hope for the best and use such tools without manual revision. However, these tools may be useful for the translation of separate words/phrases, or sections of text which require minimal care and attention.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Out Help
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that you are not ready for a task and asking for help from a professional translator. After all, not everyone has the time, budget, and expertise to handle these tasks in-house, and you will probably find dozens of agencies in your area ready to help you with them.