Translators

The Different Steps to Translating

what are the different steps a translator has to take before submitting his or her translation to the client? Here are some of them.
Rodrigo Demetrio
2 min

In the process of translating a document, one must go through different steps, just so the final project carries the message in a fluid, natural way. That being said, what are the different steps a translator has to take before submitting his or her translation to the client? Here are some of them.

Preliminary research about the topic and specific terminology

A translator can be considered a chameleon in the job market. Most of the time, translators receive projects that are far from their realities, like medical documents, IT codes, instructions manuals, etc. To be able to work on those projects, the professional has to scope the text and elaborate on what it is about, and then research this topic to understand better what they are working with. This includes researching specific terminology around the topic. For example, if the document is about engineering procedures, the translator needs a base about the topic, even if it is only a terminological basis. The same goes for technical translation in general, and also for literary, academic and audiovisual translations. Having a base, even if only about the terms used in the field, will help in the long run. Another helpful step is to ask the client any questions regarding the document. Some translators new to the field usually are afraid of contacting their clients and questioning them about the project. There is no need to be afraid, this is a way to show the client you are interested in delivering the best translation possible.

Start the translation process

After scooping the text for the topic and researching terminology, starts the process of translating the document. This step seems to be simple since it is what the professional studied for. However, there are many translation challenges to be solved along the way: idioms, cultural references, abbreviations, and specific terminology. Besides these particular challenges, the translator should worry about keeping the text as clear and specific as possible for the consumers, especially if it is a technical text. That is why prior research is such an important step.

Proofreading and review

When the translation is finished, it is advised to take a break from it before proofreading and correcting it. If the translator has the time, one day away from the project is more than enough. That is because it is difficult to pick up mistakes in the document when it is the only thing the translator is having a contact within days. After a break, going over the text again becomes easier and more productive. It increases the chance of finding and correcting grammatical, spelling, or structural mistakes. It is important for the professional to consider the language he or she is translating to. In this step, the most important thing is to make sure the text is translated with the audience in mind. For example, if the text was translated to English, it should be translated with the English-speaking audience in mind, how they talk, how they read and so on. Sometimes some projects have a small window for breaks and translators must translate and proofread all at the same time. However difficult that is, this step is essential for the quality of the final version.

Final revision and delivery

After finishing the previous steps, it is time to make a final revision and scoop the text for any mistakes left, and also any layout editing. Also, to make sure the text stays true to its source language text. After delivery, the translator can be at the client’s disposal for any remaining inquiries about the translation.

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