Proper preparation of your source text will result in a superior translated product. Keeping in mind a few simple steps will make sure your translation projects begin in the right direction.
Before all other considerations, make sure that the source text clearly and accurately describes your intended message. Ambiguous or incorrect descriptions will limit the quality of the translation. Correcting source errors after the translation has begun can lead to delays in the process. Re-read your source text before translation begins to make sure that no obvious errors were made. If a re-write of your source text is not possible, identification of known problem areas can greatly assist the translators to craft the best phrases for their languages.
Inconsistent use of terminology in the source is the leading cause of inconsistency in a translation. Inconsistent terminology should be avoided as it can lead to translators adopting similar patterns. For instance, if a text refers to a software directory as “Main Menu” in some instances but uses “Home Screen” elsewhere, a translator will match that usage and it could lead to confusion. If just one term is used in the source, it will be translated just one way in other languages.
Doing a simple spell check will solve most typo problems. However, even if you’re in the habit of checking for misspellings, be sure to proofread all of your text as there are some errors that will not be caught by a spell-checker. Sometimes a word is mistyped and the result is harmless- like “from” written as “form.” But, some errors can be more dangerous. For example, if “hypothermia” is accidentally written as “hyperthermia” a spell-checker won’t detect a problem and there is the potential that the error will be preserved in the translations. So it’s important to read your text carefully. In this case, the human eye can’t be beat!
When your source text has been given proper consideration and all obstacles have been eliminated, you are setting the stage for a successful translation.