5 tips to make sure your translation projects go off without a hitch!

27 Nov 2017 | Business strategy, Resources

Think just anyone can handle your translations? Well, I’m planning to prove the contrary! What’s more, if you don’t take your project seriously enough, you may be in for some disappointments.

So, next time you need a successful translation project, think about and implement the following 5 tips to avoid a disaster!

1 – Avoid tight deadlines

délais trop courts

When we ask, “when do you need this by“, most of our clients respond with, “as soon as possible“. And, that’s completely understandable. It’s our job, after all, to explain to them what a reasonable timeframe for their project is.

But sometimes, even knowing what we consider reasonable, clients request excessively tight deadlines. What’s the risk?

Since a translator can’t work twice as fast, we may be forced to divide your project between multiple translators. The more we need to divide your work, the larger the risk of inconsistencies, even if we use a CAT tool like memoQ to define a glossary and translation memory. Each of us has his or her own style, and sometimes it’s difficult to erase its traces from the work. When the project allows, we try to have the entire file proofread by a single translator with an aim to harmonizing the work. But, if the deadline is already too tight, there’s rarely time for revision!

Tip 1: plan ahead.

2 – Avoid overly ambiguous source text

Ambiguity may make for interesting literature, but in a technical, commercial, or financial document, it often does more harm than good. Your pamphlet is ambiguous? You’re likely to have dissatisfied customer feedback. Think about having your document proofread by someone outside of your business in order to get a new point of view. You’ll also be limiting the risk of misinterpretation during translation.

We should clarify that our translators will generally inform us of any ambiguities that pop out. But, real mistranslations come from the inability of the reader to discern the ambiguity.

Philosophical note: when we read a text, we us our own cultural baggage as a source of understanding. This baggage is different from one person to the next. In order to avoid these differences in perception, practice alterity, put yourself in your readers’ place

Tip 2: reread and simplify.

3 – Don’t modify the final document

ne modifiez pas nos traductions

In this section, we are going to talk about the translations that we deliver. There are certainly cases where a text that your translation agency delivers is corrected internally by a member of staff. It’s understandable if you work in a just-in-time environment that your director may want to correct the files himself. But, having a good mastery of a language doesn’t make you truly bilingual. Nothing is as valuable as a final proofread by a native speaker. We, at TradOnline, can only encourage you to develop such practices. It’s a best practice for your image, as well as our own!

We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve found little mistakes in packaging, web sites with curious Calls to Action, phrases with the old “Google Translate” oddities in the Terms and Conditions… and all of that from OUR CLIENTS!!!

Tip 3: avoid penny-pinching.

4 – Provide us with your briefs

Without a clear brief, there’s a good chance that our translator may miss the mark when it comes to the style of the translation. A good brief shouldn’t take more than 10 or so minutes, but it’s indispensable. Once the translation has been completed, it’s too late to change targets!

What elements should be contained in a brief?

  • Target audience: we need any and all information that may help our translators better transmit your message to your target audience

This could include: age, gender, career, geographic location, B2B or B2C audience, a formal or informal style, etc.

  • Nature of the content

Example: for internal or external use, training documents, informational, sales, marketing, call for tenders, reporting, etc.

If you already have “reference documents” which will allow our translators to ensure coherence with previous publications, while using your vocabulary and corporate culture, think about sending them to us!

It’s also possible for us to send you a sample translation that you can validate internally. That said, if you don’t have a native speaker on hand, it may be difficult to discern the pertinence of the sample writing.

Tip 4: start by creating good technical specification sheets.

5 – Play an active role!


All new partnerships are subject to an adjustment period. During this period, you may receive a number of questions from our translators. The more precise your responses, the better the final quality of the translation will be. So, take the time to respond to all of our translators’ questions! Even the most trivial questions may have an unexpectedly large impact on the final product.

And, if you’re fed up with communicating by e-mail, you can always call us. Our wonderful Project Managers will be happy to help! We’re available Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm (5pm on Fridays).

Or, are you more interested in the speed a conversation via Skype affords? No problem, so are we. You can find your project manager’s Skype information in their email signature. Unless, of course, they won’t admit their nickname 😉

Outsourcing the translation or localization of your content is a good way to lighten your load, especially if you’ve translated your content internally up to now. But, good communication is the foundation of a good partnership with your translation agency.

Tip 5: communicate freely!

100% satisfaction client Our goal: 100% customer satisfaction 100% satisfaction client

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