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Top 10 tips for better translation

By Hilary Picken | January 8, 2019 | Top Tens Translation Tips

Top 10 tips for better translation

Our top tips to ensuring you get the most accurate translation possible whilst keeping your costs and timelines as low as possible. 

Be specific

Make sure you specify the exact service you require from the beginning, whether that is straight translation, proofreading, open-ended coding, editing, online quality checks.

Be clear

If you have a budget and a timeline, let the translation company know so that they can work with you to help you meet your goals.

Define your target market

What are the target languages and countries who will use your translation? It is always good to specify both as some countries speak a localised version of the same language and some countries have multiple official languages e.g. India or South Africa.

Double check your content

Prior to sending a file for translation, make sure that you have the final, proofread copy. Whilst translators can point out obvious mistakes, they can only translate what is given to them so if there is ambiguity in the source, it’s likely to be there in the translation, too.

Provide glossaries

Take the time to review key messages and provide any reference material and/or glossaries of preferred terms in order to maintain consistency throughout your materials.


If applicable, review the translation for any company/industry specific terminology and discuss any changes/edits with the translation company.

Draft is not final

If you have sent a draft file then please remember the costs you get will only be an estimate until the final files are ready.

Know your format

It is always good to also specify what file format the final file will be in so that your translation company can accommodate this and optimise for it if necessary.

Be realistic

A translator can work on an average of 1,500-2,000 words a day, but this can vary depending on the translator and the complexity of the subject.

Plan ahead 

Will you need accompanying text translated, such as invitations, cover letters or error messages? If all text can be sent at one time, this will help to ensure costs and timings are kept to a minimum and the process is as streamlined as possible.