How to Translate the Materials on Subjects in Which You Are Not an Expert
Nowadays the translators may be increasingly required to become a multi-tasking marvel who can translate the documents from a wide variety of fields: technical, financial, medical, legal, etc. More and more localization companies would like to establish a long-standing strategic partnership with prolific, talented and diversified translators both from a cost-saving and efficiency perspective.
However, translation is not an easy job and it should take into account all the elements that are important for good translation quality, including but not limited to style, consistency, accuracy and format.
When being asked to translate the materials that you are not familiar with, you may find yourself in dilemma, because you have to spend much more time and energy to accomplish it if you accept the task. Don’t worry! Here we will introduce some tips on how to translate the materials on subject with which you are not familiar in an effective and professional way.
1. Visit the client’s official website for reference.
A good translation requires a comprehensive knowledge of both source and target languages. In case that you are not familiar with the topic of the materials that you need to translate, a variety of resources are available to consult, of which, the client’s official website is the most important and effective one.
For example, if you are required to translate some user’s manuals for a manufacturer from English to Simplified Chinese, and the manufacturer happens to have established an official CS website, you can visit it for a quick reference to terminology, style and background knowledge.
You can create a glossary and style guide based on the website, which both will help you to ensure accurate and consistent translation. Meanwhile, the website content is able to shed some light on the subject matter and related industrial knowledge.
After getting acquainted with the industrial terminology and knowledge, you will find it is much easier to accomplish translation. Sometimes, you may luckily find the exactly same or similar content in the website as what you have to translate. If so, you can save much time and are free of worries about the quality.
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2. Visit the other websites with similar materials as what you translate.
If no official website in the source or target language of the said manufacturer is available, you can visit the websites of the other manufacturers of the same products for reference as well. From these websites, you can also get to know more information about the products that you need to translate, thus helping you to deliver a quick and accurate translation.
If you are not familiar with the topic of your translation, please always find some relevant websites or other information sources about the topic before translation, because they are always helpful to provide materials to you as background. Please remember an extensive reading of the materials related to your translation project in either source or target language is an effective and shortcut way to improve the quality and readability of the translation.
3. Work in a translation memory environment.
Using a translation memory which features the capacity to store the source and target segment together, you can reuse the translation, keep the terminological consistency, enhance the quality assurance, improve the translation productivity, and reduce the budget. Nowadays there are a wide range of CAT tools such as Trados, Wordfast, Idiom, Transit, Catalyst that can save the translation units in a database, i.e. the translation memory.
If you happen to have similar translation in the same language pair, you can build a translation memory from this material. In this way, you can maximize leverage from this existing bilingual asset and facilitate your translation. On the contrary, if you have no such bilingual assets, you can build such assets from now and benefit from them in the future.
4. Create a glossary.
A glossary refers to a bi or multi lingual terminology list. You can create a glossary as a terminology reference according to the said manufacturer’s official websites, similar websites, available translations or other information sources.
Before starting the translation, you can firstly create a glossary and send it to the client for confirmation. Upon receiving the client’s approval for the glossary, you can proceed confidently to the following translation without worrying about the accuracy of the terminology. With a glossary, you can make the entire translation more consistent, accurate and professional, even though you have little knowledge about the products that you will translate.
5. Make good use of the Internet search engines.
For anything you are not familiar with or not sure about, you can make an Internet search and find out what you want to know, from one term to the whole product description. Search engines allow users to search for information on the Internet based on the key words or phrases. By exploring the Internet, search engines will return a list of Web pages that are related to the entered key words or phrases. Therefore, don’t worry even if you are not familiar with the topic of the materials that you will translation, just make more Internet searches, and you will become an expert.
Now the popular search engines include Google, Bing, Baidu, etc. that all are an effective tool for translation. Just freely use them, and you will benefit!
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