How to Give Translation Instructions for Results That Sell
Instructions when you ask for a translation quote
It can be difficult to trust a service provider when you first start working together. But, the more you tell the translator when you ask for your quote, the easier it’ll be for them to give you an accurate price. Read my useful “Translation Quote Guide for Customers”.
One of the most important instructions to give when asking for a quote is the level of quality you want. That way the translator will be able to price accordingly. Otherwise, the translator may make assumptions about quality.
The same document can have lots of different prices. For instance, the basic contents of a contract could be translated over the phone. Or, the translator could summarise the contract, within an agreed time limit. The translator could render the contract very literally, for internal purposes. Another possibility is a higher quality translation, when you want to use the contract with customers. If you’re going to use it extensively, as a framework agreement, a proofreader could be included in the project. Perhaps you’re required to make it an official, sworn translation. All these scenarios need different instructions and have different prices.
The quality level is an important instruction in the translation process. Because it can make a massive difference to the price and results. Related to this are your financial and time expectations. If you have a set budget, telling the translator this at the start could be a good move. When customers give me budget information, it lets me see if I can adjust my prices to their expectations. This saves a lot of time and messing around.Telling the translator your budget for a job can save a lot of messing around. Click To Tweet
Being clear about the deadline is another important part of giving translation instructions. I add a surcharge for urgency and will sometimes give discounts for long deadlines. See my quote guide.
Translation instructions that affect quality
1. Tell the translator what you’re going to use the text for. A professional doesn’t translate a blog post in the same style as a journal article. Also, internal documents need fewer quality checks than published ones. This can reduce the translation price.
Translation instructions related to creativityTranslators are normally freelancers who work alone in their home offices. We may have lots of different ideas for your text. But, we have no way of knowing whether you’re open to us being creative. Making changes to a text is not in a translator’s gift. So, if you want the translator to adapt the text to the new audience, then have that conversation. If we know you’re flexible, and to what extent, then we’ll produce a better translation. Transcreation isn’t black and white. You can ask the translator to highlight any changes they make for you. You can ask them to limit themselves to making changes only when they think it’s necessary. If you want a strong marketing text in the new language, it’ll pay to discuss a more creative approach. A good marketing translator can help you internationalise your content so it sells. Click To Tweet When you ask a marketing translator to be creative, make sure they understand who the new audience is. Tell them the reason for the translation, so they can help you sell in the new language. A transcreator is like a copywriter. A clear brief helps make sure they convey the right image for your company, in the new language.
Other important translation instructions1. Give the translator any SEO information. Tell the translator if the writer has made specific choices related to keywords. Otherwise, they may choose a wider range of synonyms and dilute the keyword density. Also, understanding the writer’s intent can help them select the best term for the text. 2. Tell the translator if the job forms part of a bigger project. Many of us use translation software. I sometimes use this tool to save the work I do for certain customers. That way, I can offer them discounts on similar future projects. This also helps me make sure I use consistent terminology and style. It makes a big difference to quality. 3. If part of the text has already been translated, say who did the translation. Knowing whether it was a professional translator helps us make decisions. If it was a non-native translation, we can also add revision onto the quote. 4. Give the translator instructions about asking questions. Tell us who to contact and their working hours. If you’re happy to get a phone call if something is urgent, let us know. If you speak the new language and can help with specialist terms, that can make a massive difference. These kinds of instructions are a great way to start forming a team with the translator. 5. Your plans. Advance notice is brilliant for freelance translators. Projects come and go on a daily basis and it’s hard to plan. If you know you’re going to send us a 5,000-word text on the 14th of the month, tell us. With these instructions, we can reserve time for you. For a translator, urgent means in the next 24 hours. If what you really mean is in the next week, then it pays to be clear on these instructions too.
As you can see, translation instructions involve far more than asking the translator to translate. I love it when my customers give me instructions like the ones I have mentioned in this article. It helps me do the best possible job and improve my relationship with them. Get in touch if you would like to ask me about an upcoming translation or transcreation project.
Gwen and Lucy
Gwen and Lucy
Gwen and Lucy