How to best prepare your translation project

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You should first clarify your budget and your business goals. What do you want to achieve by translating an online shop, for example? What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)? And what return on investment (ROI) are you aiming for? But, of course, other goals motivate you to expand into new markets. So, what motivates you to tackle the project? What drives you?

Then, you should research precisely the target group you want to reach with the translated content because this determines how the texts are translated. It is essential to determine how the target group communicates and how they are best approachable (speech analysis). This allows you to set the tone of voice. And this applies first of all to the texts in the source language. So, if you want to have an online shop translated from German to French, the German text is aimed at the target group in the DACH region and their way of communicating. The source texts should be clear and comprehensible without unnecessary cultural references and expressions, and they should be proofread precisely. They must also be checked for factual errors. I once experienced a translation project that failed solely because of the many factual errors in the source texts that had already been published on the company’s website.

Before the translation begins, develop a style guide describing your brand, how it should be presented linguistically and visually, the target group of the target language, and what the translators should pay attention to during the project. The translation service provider can help you with this if you wish. For example, cultural references, fixed translations of important terms, the tone of voice, and examples of good and bad translations. The style guide is a significant reference document in the translation process. In addition, develop a glossary together so that important terms are translated consistently.

Furthermore, check whether the texts are suitable for the target group regarding cultural references, for example, in France and French-speaking countries. In addition, spelling, grammar, punctuation, units of measurement, and number formatting should be corrected throughout. For example, if you have machine-translated texts post-edited, the translation program will only correctly transfer hundreds or thousands of numbers into the target language’s formatting if the source language’s formatting is correct.

It is also essential to provide the translation team with contextual information on the content and hints for project management and to ensure that someone can be reached on time for any queries. Once you have considered all of this, you can agree on a deadline with the service provider. Please keep in mind that a translator can translate between 2000 and 2500 words per day. A translator can process up to 5,000 words per day with machine translation. If you already have a translation memory from previous projects, provide it to the team. If you don’t have one, a new one will be created with the project and sent to you. A translation memory contains the segments of the source text and the corresponding translated segments of the target text. It speeds up the process if language service providers can use and adapt pre-translated formulations in new translations.

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