Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to handle a translation project on behalf of your organisation.
If you’re like most people, it’s probably landed on your desk with not much warning, a tight deadline and a limited budget. Most likely, managing translation is not even in your job description.
There are over fifty language services providers in Australia. From one-man operators to government departments, the translation industry is diverse and unregulated. Quality in translation is difficult to measure. But engaging translation buyers in a conversation about it is the real challenge. If your hand is still up, you won’t be surprised to learn that what matters to most organisations is the cost: many simply choose the lowest quote and tick the relevant box. It’s only when things go wrong that the hard questions arise and the quality of the translation is discussed.
So how do you approach this complex task? How do you select the right translation company? How can you tell that your translations are of good quality? How do you know you are getting value for money? But most importantly, how can you ensure your translated materials will help you communicate with your target audiences?
Over the years, at Polaron, we have developed a philosophy and a process around translation aimed at Australian multicultural audiences. We believe that having the relevant communities involved at every step of the way will not only improve the quality of the translated collateral, but it also informs the communities about your services and programs. We believe in only working with Australia-based, NAATI accredited translators. And our translations are always checked by a second language professional, as well as an ethno-specific community organisation. It is a consultative, structured process that assures the quality of the translations we deliver.
Here are some tips on how to manage a translation project. No matter which translation service provider you use, the steps to excellent translation are the same:
1. Preparation of the source text
The translation process should always begin with your original English document. Is the content written in simple, clear language? Is it relevant and culturally appropriate to the communities you’d like to reach? What are their literacy and educational levels? How is the translation going to be distributed? Is written translation the best course of action? There are many alternatives available to make sure your key message is delivered, including podcasts and videos. All these issues should be taken into account and discussed with your translation company at this point. Your translation company should also be able to help you with a selection of languages to be translated into.
For each language and each community, the second step in the process begins through consultations with an ethno-specific community organisation. We look at the aims and goals you’d like to achieve through your translation and make sure the right information and message is being produced in a culturally appropriate manner. Some messaging or imagery may not be relevant to some communities so here, the source text is modified to take their communication and cultural needs into account. In other words, the content of a brochure about quitting smoking will necessarily be different for the Chinese-speaking community compared to the Arabic-speaking community. This consultative process will also provide you with more clues about the needs of your target group and engage community leaders into a conversation about your service or information you’re wanting to promote.
Once your text has been reviewed by the community organisation and amended in consultation with you for each language, it is ready to be translated. An experienced, NAATI accredited translator works on your text, also producing a glossary of terms and other reference materials. The translation is then checked by a NAATI-accredited interpreter or community leader. The accuracy of the terminology used and readability of the translation is assessed for the target audience and feedback is provided. Proposed changed are reviewed by the project management team and sent to the translator for implementation.
Once finalised, the translation is then submitted back to the ethno-specific community organisation. This part of the process provides a holistic perspective, ensuring the translated content is clear and the key messages are appropriate in the target language. Feedback received from the community organisation is reviewed and applied to the translation by the translator.
Your project manager then collates all the feedback and glossaries and prepares the files for delivery. With Polaron, you will receive a Certificate of Community Approval™ and Traceability Reports™ with your finalised translation. Names of all the translators, interpreters, community leaders and community organisations are included.
For more information about Community Approved Translations, email us at email@example.com or call us on 1300 88 55 61.