Preparing for Translation

If you are an international marketing or sales professional, then the following information is important for you. The translation of product information and services, such as marketing materials, manuals, brochures, specification sheets, packaging copy, and contracts is an investment that when done right produces significant returns. So, make the translation of your product documents and materials an integral part of your project planning and allocate plenty of time for it. The following tips will make the process easier for you and for your translation services company:


Write your information for the world to understand.

Translation is not a word-by-word replacement into another language, but the articulation of original ideas and information into another language. For this reason, write your documents in an active voice that is clear and concise. Avoid the use of idioms and colloquialisms.


With the exception of the U.S. that still uses the English Imperial System of Units, all other countries use the metric system. So, inches, feet, gallons and Fahrenheit degrees will be converted into their metric equivalents.


Also, toll-free 8XX numbers are only toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, anywhere else international rates apply, so make sure to provide alternative contact information for international customer support.


Plan your formatting accordingly.

Remember to leave approximately 20-25 percent of additional text space in your originally formatted documents or brochures. The added space will accommodate the newly translated text and save you from having to reformat the documents.


If possible, disable the “hyphenation” option in the “Settings and Preferences” of the software you use to create your documents. Avoid the use of narrow columns that forces the awkward and problematic breaking of words or sentences in other languages.

Get the process started once your documents are ready for translation.

Legal contracts, employee and training manuals written in Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect can be used as they are to request a QUOTE from a translation company.

Marketing materials, manuals, brochures, specification sheets and packaging copy created using popular graphic software, will need the following:


PDF files of the documents you want translated – Ask your graphics department to provide you with low or medium resolution (also called Fast Web View) PDF files. Make sure to request that "Content Copying" be "Allowed" in the Security features of the PDF files when they are created. This PDF feature allows your translation company to find out quickly the amount of copy in order to estimate turnaround time and pricing.




Find a translation company with expertise.

Find a translation company with several years of experience, specializing in the type of manuals you need translated. Many companies specialize in specific industries, which allows them to provide their clients with high-quality translations. Check references and pay more attention to quality than price. Remember, translation is an investment.



Let them know what you need:

Let them know which languages you need and markets (countries or regions) you are trying to reach. For example, you may want to ask for Simplified Chinese for the People's Republic of China (Mainland China), Singapore and Malaysia or Traditional Chinese for the Republic of China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, and Macau; Spanish for Latin America or Spanish for Spain; French for Canada or French for Europe. If in doubt, ask your translation agency.


Let them know if you simply need the copy translated and delivered in a word processor file that can be used by your graphics department for reproductions. Or, perhaps you need high-resolution PDF files with the translation in place that you can ship with your products or post on your company’s website. For the latter option, you will need to provide copies of the original graphic files of your documents and all supporting files, such as fonts and picture files.

Let them know how soon you need your translations, or request an estimated turnaround time. Avoid rush jobs; they are expensive and can result in a greater risk of errors.


In addition, let them know:

The names of product and/or marketing terms you want to keep in English and which ones need to be translated. If you do not know this information, ask your international sales associates or distributors. Your translation agency can also give you some general guidelines.

Create a glossary of key terms or concepts that are either newly introduced, uncommon, or specialized in your products and/or marketing literature. Glossaries take little time to create and help reduce the translation turnaround time.


Provide them with the name, phone number and e-mail of a contact person that is knowledgeable about the products, services or documents and can answer questions quickly. Be wary of a translation service company that never has questions. It could be a sign that the company is not paying close attention to your copy or may be providing a literal translation that can include typos, contradictions and inaccurate use of idioms and colloquialisms.


Finally ask for a written QUOTE:
The quote should show the itemized work, prices, estimated turnaround time, and delivery details.



Get feedback on your translated documents.

Ask international sales associates or distributors to review your translated documents, checking key terminology used in your products, services or industry in the region. If there are any key terms they believe should be changed, ask them to provide a list of the terms and the replacements they suggest. Provide the list to your translation company, so it can update the translations and use this new terminology in future translations for your company. Politely discourage your sales associates or distributors from marking changes or corrections of style that are merely preferences.



Atlantic International Translators want to ensure your translated manuals become
an investment that increases sales and market share.


PDF files can be opened in any computer system and preserve the text formatting and illustrations in their original form. Thus, allowing translators to better understand the information that they are translating.

The name and version of the graphic software used to create your files – Inform the company of the software used, such as InDesign CS4, QuarkXPress 10, Illustrator CS4, PageMaker 7, etc. and the computer platform - Windows or Macintosh.

E-mail or use the Cloud to send your PDF files – You will need to send your files electronically to request a QUOTE and turnaround time. If you are sending large files or several small files, compress (.zip or .sit) your files.


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Preparing for Translation