What goes into a translation?

Picture of people working together1. Consultation

The first step for the translator (me) is to determine the purpose of the text and its intended audience as well as any special requirements, such as whether British or US spelling conventions are to be followed. This information is all-important when deciding what type of language is to be used and how the text should be translated.

Translating a company website will require some cultural adaptation and creative input to strike the right tone. In a technical report, the emphasis will be on terminology and producing clear, concise writing. Academic writing, on the other hand, requires carefully structured prose that adheres to the conventions of the English-speaking academic community, including the treatment of citations and references.

2. Research

Understanding the context and selecting words appropriate to it are important for creating an authoritative and effective translation. My second step involves background research in both the source and target languages to understand the context of the text and ensure a good match in the translation. This step will often include terminology research with the help of specialist glossaries. I also maintain my own glossaries for the fields I work in, including international development, the environment and renewable energy, and the humanities and social sciences.

3. Translation

The third step brings together the information gathered in steps one and two to produce the translation of the document. This process begins with the creation of a first draft. I may then have some queries to clear up any ambiguities and issues that I have identified in the process. After this, there is editing and revision. This is followed by another check using a printed copy of the document. Finally, I use specialized software to perform quality control checks before delivery to you, the client. Depending on the intended use of the translation, the text may also be independently revised by a second professional translator.

4. Feedback

After I have delivered your translation, there is a small feedback exercise to ensure you are happy with the service you have received and to discuss any points to be taken into consideration going forward. This helps ensure I always have a clear understanding of your needs for any future work.