When a business goes global, there is a risk of being not properly understood in other languages, or, even worse, misunderstood. That is why, when you are going to expand your business, your success can depend on the person who translates your website, documentation, ads and so on.
Don’t insist on translating your text word-by-word or sentence-by-sentence. Contrary to the popular belief, the translation won’t be more accurate this way. Just the opposite is true: a translator who translates word-by-word is a BAD translator, or a mediocre one — at the most.
A MEDIOCRE translator will diligently substitute words, word-combinations and idioms of one language for those of another language. He searches piles of dictionaries for various lexical units. He will be really proud of the result. Don’t blame him — he probably is conscientious and hard-working. The only drawback is that his translation won’t work.
A GOOD translator will care for the MESSAGE of your text. He realizes that good translation isn’t just finding right words. He will try to find right linguistic means to convey your message; what’s more, he will leave your style intact. He will be proud of the result, too — and he has the reason to think so. Your message will be conveyed — in every respect. Will it work? That’s another question.
The difference between a GOOD and an EXCELLENT translator is the following: an EXCELLENT translator will care for the GOAL of your message. Before he stats the work, an excellent translator asks himself simple questions: does your message fit into this particular culture? Will the audience accept it? If the answer is “no”, he will always warn you about it.
Will you appreciate his advice? You’d better do. It might be not too pleasant for you to learn that your text is not perfect (especially if you thought it was). Of course, you can put this smart Aleck down. You are the Client, so you’re always right. He will translate the text he is given the way you want. As a result, you will get what you ordered — a MEDIOCRE translation.
That is why it is reasonable to listen to an expert (an excellent translator will always serve you as an expert on the culture of your target audience — even if you haven’t asked for it and are not going to pay extras for such a consultation.) Sometimes these advice might seem a bit odd to you; that’s because such a translator is able to think like a person who will be visiting your website.
Be prepared to throw some expressions, phrases, or whole paragraphs away or re-write them – working perfectly in one language, they won’t do in another. Be ready to change photos and illustrations, sometimes redo the graphics and alter the whole style of your website if necessary.
Cooperate with your translator — it pays. Do this work now and you’ll be rewarded with success of your business in a foreign country.