A good translation doesn’t just come from skills alone.
The translation process is both a skill and a creative work.
It requires lifelong learning for both amateurs and experienced. Investment in education increases the knowledge if they’re specializing in a specific industry.
In this blog post, you’ll find great insights from professional Chinese translators. What does it take to handle translation projects successfully? How can clients experience a smooth, successful project?
READ MORE >> How to Save Money on Chinese Translation Services
Successful translation projects involve teamwork, communication, and values. If you’re already working with a team of Chinese translators, this is for you. If you’re still finding the right team for your documents, this is for you, too.
If a professional Chinese translator is in front of you right now, here are the things that he wants you to know.
professional Chinese translators
1 Decide which level of service fits the translation needs
From a professional translator’s point of view, every document deserves professional treatment. But not all documents deserve equal treatment.
It’s not because there’s favoritism in this area. It’s because translation itself comes with levels of translation services.
As our founder, Sophie wrote, “Important ones deserve premium service that requires utmost attention and best resources. Less important ones need standard or economic service that’s fast, cost-efficient, or both.”
To experience a successful workflow and outcome of deliverables, decide and choose the level of service that fits your Chinese translation needs.
For example, here at AZ-Loc, we have three levels of translation service. From premium to standard to economic, you get to enjoy a tailored language solution that matches your requirements, budget, and deadline.
2 Carefully choose Chinese translators
As mentioned in the opening sentence of this post, good translation doesn’t just come from skills. You also have to know the traits of the people whom you’re going to work with – do you know the traits of local translation agencies?
While being a native Chinese could be an edge for any translator, watch out for the negative traits, too.
Once you’re familiar with how they work, you’d be able to handle negotiations on rates. Plus, you can discern which ones are professional and amateurs.
The common traits that you’ll often observe are: some are very indirect and avoid questions about costs. Then you’ll find out that you’ll be paying for the hidden costs and upfront fees that they didn’t disclose before signing the contract.
Some local translators will claim they offer the cheapest rates. But don’t fall for this too-good-to-be-true offers. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be saving more.
So, in connection to the first point, the first step is to decide how much are you willing to pay for in terms of the level of translation service you need.
3 Provide the source document for each type of Chinese translation service
Regardless of the type of translation service, provide the source document for translators to work on as soon as possible.
The source document may vary depending on the type of translation you need. For example, if you need document translation, it can be an editable version of the original English texts in any file format.
The translation team will provide you deliverables such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint, depending on the format you sent and needed.
If you need website translation service, then the source document could be in the forms of website links, web content in HTML, XML, Word, or Excel.
Our founder wrote an overview of the type of source document you can provide to the project manager. Make sure that you also give clear instructions and guidelines together with the source document.
Not only it will speed up the process, but it also helps translators focus on the priorities for each type of service they’re working on if you’re availing more than two or three translation services (e.g., transcription, video translation, DTP, etc.).
4 Be mindful of the translation workflow
Most translation agencies have a standard workflow for each type of service. Avoid dealing with agencies that have a vague structure of workflow.
You’ll be at the mercy of chasing people around on what they have achieved or finished.
At AZ-Loc, for example, the team is religiously following a standardized workflow for each service.
As Sophie wrote in one of her posts, “The team designs the exact workflow to meet the clients’ requirements, scope, quality expectation, delivery schedule, and translation costs.”
The workflow unites the team members and translators. If followed and implemented well, there’s no doubt the client will be pleased and satisfied with the project deliverables.
An established workflow among translators helps them to be in sync with communication. Some would have their own group chats or use project management tools. It helps in keeping those translators in the loop throughout the project cycle.
5 Provide details and clear guidelines to manage expectations
For high volume work, it’s best to provide more details and directions to make sure that the translators aren’t assuming on tasks that they think are still part of the project scope.
If it’s your first time to work with a translation agency, the best way is to create folders and documents about the project scope. You can also set up shared folders that are accessible and editable for everyone involved.
Communication is crucial. If you already have a glossary, you can also give the translators a copy, so it’ll be easier for them to translate and understand the context as they go through the translation process. A glossary is like a guidebook. It includes terminologies, phrases, and words in your industry.
A style guide is also helpful for Chinese translators, especially those who will be handling fashion and luxury translation. These types of services will include creative work and transcreation.
You can ask and arrange for a test translation to help you assess if the translators are fit for the tasks. It will help you manage expectations as well on the deliverables.
Remember, it depends on the level of translation service that you’ll get. So, make the most of it and provide all the details and guidelines as soon as the non-disclosure agreement or contract is signed.
What’s in it for you?
Now that you have been given some of the “power tips” for a successful translation project, we hope this will help in your next step as you grow your business.
Make sure you choose the right Chinese translation agency and think of the collaboration as a partnership for your long-term plans.