How to get a good translation – five top tips

You need a translation but you are not sure how to go about it? Here are five useful tips to put you on the right track.

1. Find the right translator
Appoint a professional translator, not a colleague or a relative with some knowledge of the target language. You would not ask your niece to write your marketing content either, would you? (Unless, of course, she is a marketing expert.) Professional translators are writers who produce texts that read well in the target language, and they generally translate into their native language or language of habitual use. If you work on a specialised subject, make sure your translator is knowledgeable in that field too.

2. Finalise your text before commissioning the translation
Making changes to the original text when the translation is already underway means added time and cost.

3. Allow enough time
Consider how much time it takes to craft the original version of your text. If you want a good translation that reflects the style and content of your message in the target language, don’t leave it to the last minute. Ask the translator for a realistic time frame.

4. Communicate
Tell your translator what the translation is going to be used for and who the target readership is. This way you will get charged for the right service and receive a translation that is suitable for the intended use.

5. Double-check
Have the translation proofread once it is formatted, especially if it is going to be printed, to avoid last-minute errors that may have slipped in at typesetting stage. If you work in a specialised field, it can be useful to ask an expert who speaks the target language to double-check the terminology. Even with a sound knowledge of the subject, a translator might have picked a term that is technically correct but not the one that is commonly used in practice.

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