When dealing with translators who have highly technical experience and translate very specialized text, you may think that there isn’t much you can do to assist them during a translation project. Indeed, specialized translators know their field very intimately, but there are many tools that you can provide to help them do their work more effectively.
The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” may have been coined by a translator. When translating a description of the mechanics or appearance of an item, an image can fill in gaps left by words. Even if an image is not to be included with your specialized translation, sending a reference image to the translator can help them to understand certain items so they can translate without any doubts.
Translators will also benefit when you tell them what not to translate. Standards for non-translatable text vary from client to client, so your input is important. Employee titles, program terms, and product names are examples of phrases that you may prefer to remain untranslated. Letting the translator know your preferences in advance will save them from having to come up with translations that you do not intend to use. This is especially helpful if the phrase you want to remain untranslated is something that is apparently generic, such as “Customer Service” or “Laser System.”
If you already know that you have preferred translated phrases, these should be shared with the translator, too. Whether it’s just a few translated phrases, an extensive glossary, or a translation memory to be used with translation software, any translated reference material will help get the translator familiar with the terminology that you have used in the past. Creating a glossary before large projects can be a good exercise for translators and clients to establish preferred terminology to be used throughout that project.
When such resources are available to the translators, the benefit of an improved translation will be realized immediately and on all of your future translation projects.