Within the scope of industrial translation, 90 % of the clients at hand or companies. These companies also have company websites and are either active at an international level or would like to do so. In many cases, companies have to get a lot of translations, ranging from the translation of brochures, PowerPoint presentations, and operating manuals all the way to contracts, patents, technical documentation and online marketing media.
Company websites and their online presence can tell you a lot about a company in general. This information is crucial when a translator is translating for a specific company. Therefore, it is important to go to this website to get to know the company first before starting to translate or write a text for that company in your native tongue.
One thing that many translators forget to do before beginning the translation of a document is to analyze the text at hand before actually beginning the translation process. This should be initially done to answer three basic questions, the answers to which can namely be found by viewing the company’s website.
- What is the purpose of the translation? (What is the context at hand?)
- Does the translation entail any specific terminology? (Is reference material necessary?)
- Who will read the translation? (Which target group is the translation designated for?)
Knowing the purpose of a translation is crucial so the translator knows what style to write in. (i.e. Is it a marketing text? Is it a straightforward user’s manual? Is it a contract where legal jargon may be required?) By looking at the company website, cross-references to the translation being performed may exist on the company website that aid in interpreting the context at hand. Based on what the respective company does, it is possible to deduce the context of a translation. If you are translating a text concerning a specific product manufactured by a company, check to see if there is any reference material on that company’s website pertaining to the product. This may even include images. Check to see if anything for that specific product or similar products pertaining thereto have already been translated. Make note of any characteristics regarding style or terminology that must be taken into consideration.
On multilingual company websites, have a look at the translations that have already been performed for that company and see if there are any stylistic or terminology issues that must be addressed. Terminology is one of the most important elements of translation. However, it is not always clear to translators or even customers themselves that a specific terminology exists. Analyze the company website and see if a specific set of terminology gets continually repeated. The majority of those websites will also have a search box offering the option to search that specific website. Here, for translator, that is like an online dictionary for that specific company that is a useful tool in creating terminology lists or term bases.
During the translation analysis process, the text designated for translation should also be examined to ascertain if terms get continually repeated. These terms should be extracted and translated first. If these terms cannot be found on the company website, it is a wise idea to send the list to the end customer along with a proposed translation. In many cases, this method increases the level of customer acceptance among translation clients. In more times than one, there may be a single term that the customer might prefer. Don’t just use a translation dictionary to find a translation, but try to include online references where the term is actively being used. For example, check the translation of the term at the multilingual websites of that company’s competitors.
You can also use a company website to see who the main target group of the customer is and check if this pertains to the translation. If so, ensure that the same language register is used that is used on the website. (i.e. formal or casual form of address, B2B, B2C style of writing). If you are not sure, be sure to ask the person you a translating for.
In a nutshell, company websites are very beneficial to translators. Looking at these websites can tell you a lot about a company and how it wants to be presented. Translators must be aware of these factors before starting any translation for that customer. It will vastly increase the quality of translation and much improve the level of the customer’s acceptance upon delivery of the translation.
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