1. Determine the Audience: Decide who is your target audience - your employees? general public? television?
2. Determine the Dialect: Make a list of the geographical locations of the people who will receive the translation. If they speak Spanish, for example, are they only in Texas or Miami, or are they all over Latin America, or in Spain?
3. Prepare Glossary: Look at your text, and try to determine if there are many "industry specific" words. For example, does your document say something common like "wrench" or more specific like "crimp"? Make a little list of these words, and see how long that list is. If there are tons, that means you need a specialist translator, such as "Technical" or "Medical" or "Technology". And, if you have pre-existing translations for these words, please include when your order the job. These words are called a Glossary. Translators work in some 50 industries, so Glossaries are highly recommended if you have preferred translations of your own.
4. Select Category: If you need a translator, you may try the Directory of Translators (www.DirectoryOfTranslators.com). That Directory contains links to quality guaranteed translators around the world. The Directory links to your language, and click on the link in the language of your choice, corresponding to the type of translation you decided upon in #3 above. Send an email to the translator, specifying the type of translation you think it is, and attach the documents, or at least a good excerpt of the documents. If you project is a future project, do some "guessing" as to its future content.
5. Request Cost: Exchange emails requesting a cost estimate, including your deadline. The translators in the listing of translation professionals from the Directory of Translators (www.DirectoryOfTranslators.com) are excellent and reliable.
6. Order Translation: Order the first round of translation, called the "Base Translation", from the translator, and agree on turnaround.
7. Translation Receipt: The translation should look like the original, unless the project is an exception, or has special needs.
8. Reviewing the Base Translation: When the Base Translation arrives, it is your choice how to proceed. If the text is for a voice recording, such as a video script or IVR script, then you can probably go straight to studio, and ask the talent or studio to do a final quick review of the translation (because minor typos do not affect audio recording). If, however, your text is for distribution, it is recommended to engage a Reviewer. Many companies bypass the review stage if the text is for their employees, for budget control. But if the text is for distribution in any way that could possibly harm your corporate image, and even though you may be using translators from the Directory of Translators, translators are still human. Therefore, any text that affects your image, should go through a review stage.
You can ask a member of the Directory of Translators to review your translation, or you may have reliable internal people for review. If you use internal people be careful that they are highly educated in the foreign language, not only "home speakers". The best reviewers are PhD's with specialization in the area of the translation, who have not lived outside their native country for more than 3 years. Other good reviewers are certified translators accredited by the U.S. State Department or ATA. Keep in mind that it is quite normal to have lots of opinions on various word-uses in translation, so expect that people want to doodle with the translation.
If you have used one of the translators from the Directory of Translators, we recommend that you do not automatically accept any changes that your own personal reviewer desires to make, but rather to send the suggested changes back to the Directory translator for confirmation. They will be honest with you, and if your reviewer is wrong, you will learn. If what the reviewer wants is acceptable, the translator will inform you that you can use this if you want - but is rarely "necessary" to make changes, unless is for "inside words". You'd be surprised how many internal people or outside reviewers have their own "agenda" that seems to involve aggrandizing themselves, to never believe what anyone says at first pass, always hear both sides of the story.
If your translation is for multimedia...
9) Narration: If your translated recording must be the same length as the original, such as narration for a video, then the translated script must be assured to be the same length - paragraph by paragraph - as the original language script. This can be done with "table type" documents, like MS Word tables or Excel. Or, import the original and the translation into the inexpensive software called Translate Your Video (www.TranslateYourVideo.com). This software will actually hilite the text that is too long, and will continue to assist the translator until the script is properly adapted for recording. If, however, your video is not narration, but rather has lips moving on-screen for which you are trying to replace the spoken word (lip sync), then translators cannot assist with this. Adapting a script for lip sync is a highly skilled form of adaptation, and lip sync projects tend to be approximately 2 to 3 times more expensive than non-lip sync projects. For help and support with lip-sync adaptation, email to: email@example.com
10) Choosing Voice Talent: If you are using a voice talent from This Directory or its partner site the Global Director Center, your recording will be extraordinarily professional. However, it is vitally important to differentiate between a Directed Talent (recording in an audio studio, with engineer and probably a director present), versus a Freelance Talent (a talent working out of their home, with microphone and simplistic recording equipment). The huge draw to the Freelancer is, of course, lower cost. There can be substantial savings working with a freelance voice talent. However, where audio studio recordings undergo checks and verifications during the process (with talent, audio engineer, director and talent all working together), the Freelancer is one single person responsible for all of these services (performance, directing, editing and quality control). Because no one person can be perfect, the Quality Guarantee cannot apply to Freelance voice talents, and do not be surprised if a home studio freelance talent recording is not always perfect.
11) Product Check: All end products need to be checked. Your chances of flawless work from talents listed in this Directory and listed the Global Director Center who record in audio studios are 95%. But there is still that remaining 5% possibility of an editing error, or a misunderstanding of a technical word, or similar. It is recommended to either forward the recording to the translator for "Product Check", or to synch the sound to a video and then send the sound to the translator for "Product Check". Is is not recommended to use the same people who recorded the track as your product checkers.
12) On-Screen Graphic Text: If the project also contains on-screen graphic text, one of the common errors people make is to try to retype the text, if is Spanish or similar Latin Alphabet language. Avoid typing. Rather, copy-paste. Please turn off any auto-hyphenation, remove any auto-corrections features, and do not change from caps to small or small to capital letters without permission of the translator. Note that many graphic fonts that function in, say, English may be lacking the accent marks and letters of another language, and keyboards vary throughout the world. On-screen text must also every carefully proofed for errors once inserted into your project. Proofed until is perfect, if any errors are detected. Cutting-corners on this is not recommended, because typos on-screen are very obvious.