Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How Do You Want to Look in Translation?

If you’re seeking to translate any kind of business documents, marketing materials or web pages, it is important that you obtain an accurate English to Arabic translation from the beginning. Using automatic text translators or a button on your toolbar that instantly translates a web page into Arabic might be very tempting, especially from the cost point of view, but these translations are not fit for public view, because although some of the words may be translated accurately, the meaning of your message most probably won’t.

Your document or website represents your business and reflects it to the international client base. Any mistake made or left behind by an automatic translating software or an inexperienced human translator can cost you lots of future business.

This is why it’s important to choose the translator you are giving your business image to very carefully.

Here is how:

* Always ensure that the professional translator of your choice is native in the language you want to have your documents translated into, except in the rare situations where that person is fully fluent in both the written and spoken forms of both the source and the target languages.

* If you’re looking at promoting your service or product to Arabic speaking North Africans, you shouldn't use the same vocabulary used in, say, the Arab Gulf. Although written Arabic is pretty standard, cultural differences do exist and you will not come across as someone who has done a thorough research of your proposed market place overseas.

* Do you really need the whole of your documents translated? Most translators charge by the word or page, so it does make sense to utilise images - a picture is worth 1000 words. Instructions, for example, could be pictured, and you may consider using the services of a graphic designer who can provide accurate pictures, and thus reduce your translation costs. Just ensure that your graphics are not considered offensive by your target clients.

* Compare the subject matter and technical content of your documents to the proposed translator’s qualifications. Translators specialise and not everyone can translate legal or medical documents. Terminology associated with these fields is very precise and mistakes in translations could result in serious consequences.

* Quality is not cheap. Reading and translating your documents takes time. A translator can only do so many words per day, so be wary of claims to be able to translate 50,000 words per day. Such work will for sure lack quality and won’t be worth the money you spend.

* Don't give your translators documents that are unedited and unfinalised, because any last minute changes to the initial document will result in additional proofreading to ensure that their incorporation in the final translation, the consistency of terminology, etc.

* A good translator doesn't shrink from approaching you with questions and suggestions about possible improvements to your original text in terms of spelling, grammar and sentence structure, or meaning of certain terms. A know-all is a sure fire way to disaster.

Investing money and time in ensuring a properly done translation will save you grief and cash later in the business interaction with your target market. The translated documents will work FOR YOU instead of AGAINST YOU. Remember, this is YOU in translation - what do you want to convey?

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at

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