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The Art of Working with a Translator Efficiently

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Close-up illustration of a keyboard, where all buttons are designed using the flag designs of different countries.

Ah, the art of translation! It's not merely converting "Bonjour" to "Good Morning," but more like turning a croissant into a bagel without losing the essence of buttery flakiness. So, how do you work with a translator so that both of you are singing "La Vie en Rose" instead of experiencing a "Lost in Translation" moment? Let's finesse the fine print, shall we?

Get Your Ducks in a Row, or Your Accents Over Your E's

Before you dump an encyclopedia of text onto your translator, consider giving them a heads-up about the universe your text inhabits. Is it academic? Technical? Informal? Are your readers teens glued to TikTok or PhDs glued to scientific journals? Just like you wouldn't go on a road trip without a map, don't throw your translator into the wilderness without some navigational tools.

File Formats: Your Translation Project Isn't a Treasure Hunt

Imagine trying to write a shopping list on a steamed-up bathroom mirror. It's possible, but it's not fun. Translators prefer editable formats like Word or Excel over non editable PDFs for a reason. It saves them from having to crack the Da Vinci Code to keep your original layout and design intact. So, offer them something editable, and spare them the quest for the Holy Grail of formatting.

Talk Dollars and "Sense" Beforehand

Ah, the nitty-gritty details, where many a grand plan has met its doom. Make sure you know your word count, as it's the yardstick for both your budget and your translator's quote. Nobody likes a surprise bill at the end—unless it’s less than expected, which rarely happens. Discuss money upfront to avoid a financial sequel to "Les Misérables."

Deadlines: Time Waits for No Translator

If your translator asks when you need your project back, "ASAP" is as helpful as a screen door on a submarine. Time is of the essence, sure, but essence is vague. Pin down exact dates to keep everyone on track. It avoids turning your project into a thrilling, yet undesirable, episode of "Beat the Clock."

Size Matters, As Does Complexity

No two projects are alike; translating your Aunt Sally's favourite spaghetti recipe is different from transcribing Einstein's Theory of Relativity into Sanskrit. Talk openly with your translator about the length and complexity of your project so you're both on the same page—or hundreds of pages, as the case may be.

Transcreation: You're Not Just Serving Meatballs; You're Serving Experience

Visual of globe connected by string to different tin cans with the flags of different countries printed on them.

Sometimes it's not about what you say, but how you say it. Transcreation is not just a buzzword; it's the art of making your content fit local customs like a tailored suit. You're not just painting by numbers; you're creating a mural. Therefore, tell your translator about the quirks and preferences of your audience, and let them turn your meatballs into the regional delicacy of choice!

The Grand Finale

Collaborating with a translator can be as harmonious as a duet—each of you contributing to a masterpiece. So put on your conductor's hat, communicate clearly, and relish the high notes as your project goes from concept to crescendo, hitting all the right cultural chords along the way. Tada! You've now got a translation worth a standing ovation.

Ready to make some noise with words? Check out our work flow and other useful information. Or drop us a message!

Wei.Trans.Create is a provider of translation services in Singapore, working hard to provide solid results through effective translation.

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