Tips to Get the Best English-French translation – Part I

Lego people collaborating to get the job done - like a translator collaborating with his customer to get the best translation

Except your English to French translator, the person most interested in getting the best English-French translation is, of course, you. However, because of a lack of knowledge about the translation process, your collaboration may not be as effective as it should. Or, even worse, you may end up disturbing the outcome.

With that in mind, I have listed some measures that should be observed by everyone involved in a French translation. I understand that in real life, the situation sometimes goes beyond our control. So, let’s say the following recommendations represent the best scenario, where everyone wins.

Plan Your English-French Translation Project

It is very important to plan a project in advance and give the French translator the time to do their job in the best condition possible. If you are already accustomed to working with a translator, you should have an idea of ​​how long it takes to accomplish a particular task. However, productivity varies from person to person, from text to text and even from day to day.

Be aware that several “obstacles” can disrupt your translator at any time.

Your translator may have time reserved for another project, juggling two or more texts at a time. He might be able to offer your translation project his full dedication, which is very common.

The text may vary from what the professional is accustomed to translate. This makes the process more time consuming.

The translator may be busy with personal issues or even preparing to take a vacation.

I recommend that you always talk to your translator as soon as you know of a future translation. If your company deals with recurring projects that need translation, there is no reason not to warn the translator in advance. Of course, you can only ask someone to book their time when you have more details, such as dates, text size, content, etc. An organised translator will be grateful to know that a project is coming. They will have this future project in mind when setting up their work schedule.

In your company, make sure that everyone involved in the production of the original text meets the deadlines. In addition, the timeline must take into account not only the work of the translator itself but also the time it takes for someone in your company to make a final reading of the translation. Nevertheless, be very careful: asking your staff to “edit” a translation is a double-edged sword and should be done with great care and responsibility.

Know that very short deadlines are usually accompanied by emergency fees. These are expenses that you can avoid, though. And there’s more: chaotic deadlines can affect the quality of the final text. I will discuss this topic in more detail in the near future.

Reference Materials for the Translation

As far as avoiding mistakes in translating a technical text is concerned, I suggest that you use people from your company who are experts in the subject to provide translators with appropriate terminology and reference materials. This advice is pertinent to all types of text and media. It is important to send to the translator all materials that are in any way related to the text to be translated.

If you have relevant bilingual documents such as previously translated content, do not even think twice! Other useful materials are glossaries (monolingual or bilingual), lists of preferred terms, style manuals, acronyms, abbreviations and acronyms written in length, etc. In general, experienced translators are prepared to detect pertinent terms, phrases, and other style elements present even in monolingual texts. So, go ahead and submit that report in English produced in 2012, even if you do not find the translation into French. Likewise, all relevant texts in the target language (i.e. language to which the text is translated) will be most welcome.

These support materials help you maintain consistency between your company texts. They help your translator deliver a high-quality service. Depending on the case, access to these materials may even reduce the delivery schedule.

As you can see, everyone benefits from of these measures. You increase your chances of receiving an impeccable English-French translation. Moreover, your French translator appreciate the support and consideration that help them meet their client’s needs more quickly and efficiently.

For more tips, read Tips to Get the Best English-French translation – Part II

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