Is Chinese translation a source of frustration?
Entrepreneurs may either consider translation a valuable strategy for globalization or a waste of money.
The latter notion was probably inked in their minds because of bad experiences from previous translation vendors—but if done right especially when it comes communication, objectives, and essentials, it can be a hassle-free experience.
READ MORE >>> Chinese Translation and Localization Playbook on Business Growth
Whether you’re a first-time translation buyer or a veteran entrepreneur who has worked with a few of agencies and freelance translators and was pissed off by their services, we hope that this piece will give you more clarity and more “Aha! Moments” on how to get it right when working with a pool of talented Chinese translators.
- Let the professional translators vet/filter the documents
Sometimes, all is not advisable. And what do we mean by that? There are instances you might think that you need to translate all the documents as your in-house team sees this as a good investment. But sometimes, that’s not the case.
An outsider like a professional linguist or translator can take a look at your documents first and see which one should be included. Just because you think a portion sounds right, it doesn’t mean it’s useful to the entire translated piece, especially on manuals and user guides.
So we suggest that an expert Chinese translator will check first all the documents for vetting before you go full blast on the translation process.
Our goal: to get rid of the redundancies and save you more money especially on hundreds or thousands of pages.
- Let the pictures tell your story
If you have marketing materials – brochures, flyers, guide, etc. – capitalize on the power of pictures to tell your story or articulate what you want to say to your target market. It may only require a few text over here and there, but it just makes sense to translate what is only needed and lowers the cost.
You can use graphs, stock photos, diagrams, and if you’re the creative type, drawings and paintings that match the translated texts in Chinese. Remember, colorful and vibrant ads are more attractive to your audience.
Adopt a “less is more” approach to content and choose your words wisely.
Our goal: to lessen the technical jargons and simplify the content while “marrying them up” with the pictures for more impact.
- Clarity on your target audience
China is a huge, diverse market and most people speak Mandarin or write Simplified Chinese. These are the standards in terms of general communication, but some places like the SAR Hong Kong and Taiwan use different written and speaking forms.
Some people in Guangzhou speak Mandarin, but Cantonese and Traditional Chinese are common in the southern part, including Hong Kong. And Taiwan, though they speak Mandarin, uses the Traditional Chinese in written form.
There should be clarity on the target market. Where you want to distribute your content, whether a promotional video, a website or a manual.
Our goal: to maximize the pool of talents we have, whether they are Cantonese or Mandarin speakers and ensure you receive the correct forms for the ads.
- Prepare a style guide or handbook of your terminologies
Style guides are a huge help not just for professional translators and linguists but also for you in the long run. Companies in various industries use different terminologies and verbiage, and having a guide or rundown of these will make the translation process efficient.
Same way, in case you want to translate your documents to other languages, non-English speakers and linguists will have a guide and to avoid that pressing question, “What does this word mean to them?”
Our goal: to ensure that even the draft itself has a coherent flow of the sentence structure, grammar, and style and better word choices that match your industry’s verbiage.
Remember, human translators are your friends
And most of all, resist the temptation of doing it by yourself especially when it comes to the Chinese language. Machine translations are helpful, no doubt about that, but nothing beats a human translator’s touch on your documents.
How to get it right on Chinese translation projects. Because if there’s a will, there’s a way. And it can be stress-free on your side.