What to consider before translating education and training material

When translating for the education and training sector, there are many elements to take into account in order to receive the best possible quality translations. Whether you have an internal HR training guide or a procedure for shipping goods to be translated, we’ve put together a checklist to assist you.

  1. Firstly, what technical knowledge does the translator need to have?

When selecting a translator it is important that they have appropriate experience in translating similar content. If the translation is educational or technical in nature then you need someone who understands that particular sector including any specific industry terminology.

  1. Who is your target audience?

It may seem obvious but it is important for your translation to be appropriate for the audience you are targeting. Understanding what level of knowledge the document was written for and knowing if the translation will reach the same audience is crucial. This includes considering whether your target audience will have the same background of knowledge. Standards do change; a civil engineer in one country may have more training than in another country, so it is worth considering if they require anything extra.

  1. Will you need to localise the content for your target audience?

Localisation refers to preparing a document for a specific audience. Even if it is the same language there can be many differences. Localisation updates content to ensure it is appropriate for that audience, focusing on spelling, grammar, terminology and specific references. It may even be worth considering the appropriateness of images and graphics used in the document as symbols and colours hold different resonance in different countries.

  1. Does the translation need to keep the same style?

You may have written the material in a particular tone of voice. If so, it is important to ensure that the translation replicates the same style as the original. An experienced translator who speaks the language as their mother tongue will be able to achieve this and a good Language Service Provider (LSP) will ask you if you want to keep a formal or informal tone of voice and if you have a reference file of terms to include or avoid. An organisational style guide, if one exists, is invaluable for the translator and ensuring the translation strikes the right chord.

  1. Will the translation fit the desired layout?

Translating a document can increase or decrease the length, in some languages by up to 15%. This is why it is important to ensure that all formatting is correct after the translation is completed, including having points of reference on the correct pages and images appearing in the appropriate location. It may even be the case that the translated text doesn’t fit into your desired layout so it’s worth considering having some extra room in your source files to allow room for expansion and checking with your LSP what the text increase or decrease is likely to be.

  1. Does the translated material meet its objective?

This is very straight forward way to measure all of the above points. Ultimately, a high quality translation will be fit for its intended purpose and audience. Does the translation provide readers with the knowledge needed to complete their training?

All the linguists we work with at The Language Factory have to meet our seven strict criteria in order to work with us to ensure our services are of the highest quality. This includes being a qualified mother-tongue translator, with a minimum of five years’ experience in their chosen field. If you’d like to discuss The Language Factory handling your education and training translation and proofreading requirements give us a call on +44 1727 862722.


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