Document translation can cause many a sleepless night. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the case. Click through to our SlideShare detailing the four things that facilitate a stress-free, streamlined and successful document translation process. (Your team and localization provider will thank you.)
The ramifications of inaccurate technical document translation range from disastrous to dire. As we wrote in a recent post, it only takes one error to throw your entire message off. It goes without saying then that in order to avoid sleepless nights, you need to make use of a document translation service that can ensure yours are nothing short of 100% accurately translated – in a way that’s also in line with the cultural sensitivities of your target market. But how do you tell the difference between a stellar LSP and one that’s run of the mill?
Here’s what separates leading LSPs from the rest of the pack:
Their document translation process is designed to eliminate errors from the beginning.
Contrary to popular belief, ‘market ready’ does not mean, “once x, y and z are changed and the formatting is tweaked, the documents will be ready for sign off”. Tight deadlines and time to market mean that there’s no time for multiple rewrites or discovering oversights at the last minute. Top technical document translation service providers will help you to eliminate any potential gremlins right from the get go.
They don’t just translate technical documents, they localize them too.
Accurate document translation requires changing one language into another, and then some. If you’ve ever used Google Translate, you’ll know that directly translating text is a shot in the dark at best. Mangled translations result from an omittance or ignorance of context and cultural nuance – the two major factors that influence all translation efforts. Leading LSPs make use of expert native language translators and are equipped with thorough understanding of cultural norms and sensitivities too, enabling them to create content that’s translated in line with all cultural facets of your target market.
They tackle technical document translation with the bigger picture in mind.
World-class translation service providers are masters of efficiency, convenience and ease of use (for their clients and the end-user). They implement processes that streamline all aspects of your document creation and translation requirements. This includes guidance and education on best practice for cleaning and organizing your content library, creating and implementing uniform naming conventions and translation-ready formatting styles.
They educate their clients about every aspect of the document translation process.
A quality LSP will walk you through every single step of the process, educating you as to the whys and hows. This not only better equips you for future translation projects, it helps your content team to create source documents that are translation-ready, as well as giving you invaluable insight into your target market and what to be cognizant of when creating and translating content.
They view the technical document translation process as a partnership.
In order to provide you with translations that hit the mark, leading LSPs value collaboration and will ensure you’re kept in the loop from beginning to end. They’re aware that no one knows your brand better than you, and will work together with all involved to combine your respective areas of expertise. The result? A document translation process that’s streamlined and transparent.
They’re proactive project managers.
Possibly the most laborious aspect of document translation is having to orchestrate multiple tasks and role players – preferably in a way that preserves everyone’s peace of mind. They know all too well that document translation is not so much a ‘product’, but a service. They’ll coordinate all facets of the project, ensuring that everything is progressing as planned and that you’re on board throughout.
They’re equipped with both linguistic and technical knowledge.
Technical document translation requires technical know-how as much as it does linguistic expertise. Top LSPs are well versed in both. They’ll be able to advise you as to the best way to go about sorting source files, which applications and tools to use, as well as overcoming coding issues when your original files are localized.
They prioritize the end-user experience.
Technical document translation is for the benefit of your clients. If your translations aren’t easy to understand and put into practice, your efforts are for naught. Leading LSPs put their knowledge of your target market into practice when creating localized content, enabling you to serve your audience with translations that facilitate ease of use, and ultimately, an optimal experience.
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Think document localization isn’t a case of life or death? Think again. The majority of documents that require localization pertain to highly-technical industries including healthcare, construction, mining and manufacturing. In industries like these, users of manuals and guides rely heavily on accurate instructions and manuals in order to carry out their jobs safely and effectively. It’s crucial then that all document localization is not only accurate, but is cohesive, contains the correct terminology, takes cultural sensitivities and conventions into account and is formatted correctly.
Defective technical document localization can have a ‘butterfly effect’, with disastrous – and even potentially fatal – consequences.
The grave consequences of inaccurate document translation is demonstrated by an incident that occurred in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1996. Jody Byrne writes in Caveat Translator: Understanding the Legal Consequences of Errors in Professional Translation published in The Journal of Specialised Translation that users of a bread-making machine were placed at serious risk when the machines began emitting toxic fumes. Due to a single discrepancy in the translation, the word dampf (steam) was replaced with the word with rauch (smoke). This meant that the manual read that users shouldn’t be alarmed if ‘smoke’ was released during operation. In a classic case of Murphy’s Law, the machines were faulty, causing them to overheat and release clouds of smoke. Seeing as though the instructions deemed this as perfectly normal, the operators only realized that something was amiss once noxious gasses had filled the room. The manufacturer was made to pay compensation to those affected and recalled the product. Fortunately, neither they nor the translator were sued for negligence, even though there was enough evidence to deem them both as negligent. The article goes on to say that the translation in question: “…breached various EU directives and national product liability laws and consequently the product could have lost its CE certification and the product would have had to be recalled.”
A Puerto Rican gas explosion is a tragic example of the dire consequences of defective document localization.
This harrowing incident saw an office building explode, killing 33 people and injuring more than 80 people, Byrne writes. The cause of the explosion was a gas leak that remained undetected, despite numerous inspections by the San Juan Gas company (SJGC). As it turns out SJGC workers had not received adequate training by the company’s owners (the infamous and now defunct Enron). It also emerged that the training program relied heavily on training manuals and documents, but did not test employees to ensure that they had fully understood the material. As it turns out, the original training manuals were in English, which suggests that defective translations were to blame. The final incident report “refers on a number of occasions to language and communication problems and recommends that training and materials be provided by trainers who are native speakers of Spanish to ensure that “critical technical information is not lost in the translation process””, writes Byrne.
While the legal ramifications of defective document localization are dependent on the country at hand, one thing is clear: both the translation service and client can be held responsible.
What does this mean for you? In order to protect your own assets (and reputation), you need to make sure that you’re using a reputable translations service that is well-versed in localizing documents for the industry and audience at hand. The above examples of inferior document localization and translation reinforce the gravity of the issue as well as just how crucial it is to make sure your document localization is performed by a quality LSP (localization service provider).
Rubric supplies leading global brands with quality document localization that enables them to rest easy. Contact us today to find out more about our superior document translation solutions.
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