Once you’ve submitted a text to be translated, you most likely want it done immediately. That’s a feeling we all know – and not just when it comes to translations. But quality tends to take time. Keep reading to find out why it’s worth the wait and why we at GlobalSprachTeam might secretly be pizzaioli.
It’s kind of like ordering a pizza. You place your order when you’re already hungry and then you sit there and can hardly wait until it arrives. But if we’re being honest, it would be pretty unsettling if the doorbell were to ring 3 minutes later.
The same goes for translations, too. But what really happens between the order and the delivered product?
- Preheat the oven and get out the ingredients
Once we’ve gotten the order, there are a few things we have to prepare before we can start the actual translation. We start by formatting the document to make sure we can work smoothly.
We check the details of the order and take another look at specific requests. If there are any considerations regarding terminology, we sort these out beforehand. That way, there are no unpleasant surprises later.
- Roll out and shape the dough & add sauce and cheese
When we’ve fired up the translation oven, the real work can begin. In this step, the translator works through the entire translation. If the preparation was done thoroughly, this should go pretty smoothly. Otherwise, the translator might find themselves having to interrupt their translation flow to research terminology or fix sloppy formatting errors.
There are almost always at least a few parts of the text that are tricky to translate. There are different ways to deal with them. You could opt to just skip the sentence in question and come back to it later. Alternatively, you could do a kind of preliminary translation which you can improve when you’re done. The third option is to take the time to really look into the issue and find a good solution right away.
The way in which you deal with a difficult word, sentence or paragraph is not necessarily just a question of personal preference. Depending on the subject of the text and on how closely tied together the sentences are, different strategies may be appropriate.
With a text where the contents are not necessarily structured linearly, skipping a complex or incomprehensible sentence is not a problem. However, if the offending section contains information that is vital to understanding the remaining text, it’s probably worth it to make the extra effort to understand and translate it.
No matter how you choose to proceed, once you have completed this second step, you should have a halfway presentable translation.
- Add toppings
Of course, you don’t want to settle for “presentable”, so you have to go back, improve, and optimize. Sure, a pizza with tomato sauce and delicious cheese counts as a pizza, but it isn’t really done until you’ve added pepperoni or mushrooms.
There are obvious things like correcting typos and going back to the iffy or un-addressed passages. By this point, you probably know how to best go about fixing them. Oftentimes, the break from thinking about it while you translate the rest is all you need to find the perfect solution.
In truth, though, this step is really about transforming the translation into a well-written and appealing text. That entails potentially separating or restructuring sentences, using synonyms, and just generally making sure that the translation doesn’t read like a “translation”.
The translation is essentially finished; all it need are the final touches in preparation for delivery. The finished text is now proofread and edited by another translator.
In addition to checking for little form errors that might have slipped through the cracks, this person also makes sure that the translation actually conveys the meaning of the source text. In this step, style aspects are examined one last time to make sure everything is appropriate and smooth.
After editing, the translation is ready to be delivered to the client, where it can be served up.
Fresh, juicy, and right on time, the finished translation is delivered. There’s not much left to say other than: Dig in!
A good translation can rarely be completed on the spot. Certainly not without the result being unpolished. Just like with every craft or art form, it tends to take a bit of time until the piece is ready to be admired.
Are you as hungry from reading this as we were from writing it? Does pineapple belong on pizza? What else would you like to know? Let us know on Twitter!