When it comes to technical translation services tips, there is one mantra that works: Do it right from the beginning. The importance of the authoring stage cannot be underestimated. The content of the monolingual document will greatly determine the success of the technical translation process. If you plan going multilingual it is crucial that you consider the whole documentation life cycle right from the inception moment. The advantages of creating the source with the awareness that it will get translated will generate benefits in different areas.
On the one hand, linguistic and cultural issues can be effectively prevented even before the technical translation process starts, but even the CAT engineering and DTP processes can be optimized with a quality source. In the linguistic front, there are hindrances to the technical translation process that can unconsciously come up during the authoring phase. Some examples are
- The use of non-standardized phrases
- Acronyms or headers
- Ambiguities or inconsistencies
If these are present in the monolingual content, they will hamper the translation and multiply the risk of errors in the target language documents. Translation memories or term bases will get populated with errors, ambiguities or inconsistencies and perpetuate these in all future technical translations. Inconsistencies or a non-homogenized style will also have an impact on cost. Translation memories benefit from a consistent source in the form of repetitions at a lower rate. More inconsistencies in the source mean fewer repetitions which leads to a higher cost. And we can also add time to the equation. The problems originated during the technical translation phase due to a poor quality of the source normally need several rounds of editing and proofreading to get corrected. This can become a serious problem if your deadlines are tight. A consistent source gains in linguistic quality and is definitely more time and cost-effective!
Technical Translation Services Tips
So, it all starts with a correct preparation of the source file. There are certain measures that can be implemented to avoid risks that can later turn into serious translation problems. One of the best technical translation services tips would be to learn as much as possible about the basics of the technical translation process with CAT tools. This will give you a precious understanding of all the steps involved in the transformation of monolingual to multilingual content. It will help you identify which are the milestones of the translation process and understand the technical and linguistic elements that play a greater role in this process. There are other methods that together with a good knowledge of the translation process will help you control and systematize the authoring of corporate documentation in the source language. For example, the use of style guidelines and clear linguistic rules or the creation of terminology lists and definitions are two excellent methods to fix preferred terminology. This will not only help the translation but will also be a valuable internal tool to standardize technical communication company-wide. Automatic term extraction tools can also help in the creation of monolingual as well as multilingual documentation. If the making of the source is effectively planned, quality will expand to all target languages. The result will be a perfect multilingual technical documentation that will add value and boost the image of your company. You just need to do it right from the beginning.