Translation Workflow

Why and how to translate

If you are planning to contact a linguistic expert, probably a good bilingual dictionary and a free online tool is no longer enough! Each type of message, written, oral or multimedia type, is created within a culture. Translation activity implies knowledge, and the comparison, of the culture in which source and target languages are created and living. A dictionary can represent a beginning for a wider search for the right word and a free online translation tool can provide a general and often vague idea of what you are reading.
The role of the linguist, therefore, goes beyond the mere transposing of words, instead she becomes a true mediator between cultures. A translator has also extensive knowledge of computer science, creation of texts, word processing and graphics solutions, to ensure maximum visual correspondence between source and target text. Finally, with the help of software, entirely dedicated to the translation activity (CAT, Computer Aided Translation), you can create and manage the terminology in the translation memory to ensure consistency among similar projects or to update the text in future ones.

TRANSLATION WORKFLOW

1) READING OF THE SOURCE TEXT. A quick read activity allows translators to get an overall view of the text and its structure and to identify critical points on which the intervention of the linguist is going to be more consistent. Time required on total: about 5%.

2) PROJECT PREPARATION. The text is opened in the working space of a CAT, and a translation memory is created or imported. This can be done either by customer’s explicit request or translator will, who is interested in a specific topic or industry. Time required: about 5%.

3) TRANSLATION. Within the CAT working space text is divided into units, usually sentences or paragraphs, which corresponds to the version of the text in the target language, usually placed in boxes next to or below the sentence in source language. Similar words or sentences, that are present in memory, are automatically proposed, and ready to be changed, and then accepted. At this stage research on the terminology, which may also include contact with technicians, not necessarily translators, and any stylistic adjustments are also carried out. Time required: about 75%.

4) PREVIEW, EDITING, QUALITY CONTROL. After translation step, it is necessary to review the whole text using the Preview function and perform quality controls (these functions are generally available in CAT tools). In this way typing errors, detected or not by spelling checker, page layout, or distribution of punctuation can be checked. Text is compared again, starting with the target, to verify that no sentences were left out, then “cleanup” is run, that is a feature which only the text in the target language is displayed by, without formatting symbols. Time required: about 10%.

5) FINAL READING AND EXPORTING OF MEMORY. Then a final reading of the text file follows and memory is exported. If you need to make corrections, you can go back one step, perform a new quality control and export the memory files again after corrections. Time required: about 5%.

The document is ready to be printed or sent to the customer along with all the required files. It is good practice to run a review compared with original text by another translator, equally experienced and qualified, to dramatically reduce the presence of mistakes for spelling, style, terminology and interpretation of the message.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. To be able to satisfy clients, then decisive and necessary factor is to know exactly the kind of audience, to whom client wants to address the message and for what purpose. For example, try to convince a certain range of users for purposes of sale involves the adoption of terms and different syntactic structures, as well as try to explain the same technical process to a group of adults rather than children, who attend junior high school, requires a completely different approach.
The choice of the recipient, and awareness of his presence in every sentence, is the key factor that determines the success of a text from the communication point of view, also, and above all, in a different language.

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