Business Translation Center

5 top tips for effective business translation

by OFER TIROSH 08/03/2017

If your company is new to translation, it’s time for a crash course. These top tips can help to ensure that you get the best out of your chosen translation company, plan your translation projects in plenty of time and achieve the results that you need. 

1.    Find your translation company well in advance

As with any corporate transaction, leaving things to the last minute can result in increased stress, increased costs and lowered quality. When it comes to translation, take the time to find the best company, reading reviews and taking recommendations, without having to rush into anything. That way, once you are ready to begin your translation project, you’ll already have a company in place that you’re happy with. 

2.    Avoid machine translation

One of the most important tips, if you’re looking for decent quality translation, is to avoid machine translation. Humans have the edge over machines, with the latest competition –organised by the International Interpretation and Translation Association (IITA) and Sejong University, and held on 21 February 2017 – resulting in a resounding victory for human translators. 

Machine translation has certainly come a long way in recent years, but the ability of the human brain to convert text from one language to another still outstrips the capability of computers. When a document has been translated by a machine, it shows. The poor quality of machine translation smacks of cutting corners – not a message that most companies want to get across to their customers. Opt for human translation instead. 

3.    Define your house style

It can help your translation company to complete your translations effectively if you let them know about your house style. Do your communications use formal language or are they more chatty? Do you have certain words that you use, such as ‘client’ instead of ‘customer?’ Knowing things like this can help a translator to make quick decisions where there is a choice of more than one suitable word during the translation process. 

4.    Think about localization

Before you commission a translation company to start translating a document, consider whether it also needs localization. Localization services can save your company both money and reputational damage, by flagging up and avoiding embarrassing mistakes where the literal translation of particular phrases may cause offence, upset or unintended humour in the target language. 

5.    Plan your translation schedule in advance

Many companies opt to translate one document, then realise at the last moment that they will require further translations. Plan your translation requirements in advance in order to avoid any last minute panics, or the additional expense of rush translation. For example, if you’re employing staff overseas and need to translate their contracts, might you also need to translate your policy and procedure documents? And what about holiday booking forms, appraisal forms and sickness absence documents? Planning your translation requirements well in advance allows you to approach translation in a calm and orderly fashion.