Translation Service Guideline for Clients

For a text to reach its readers, it is essential for writers in a multilingual environment to keep the translator in mind.Translation is not done in a vacuum: you and the translator can help each other. Remember, your common goal is to get your message across.

PLAN YOUR DOCUMENT. CONSIDER WHO IS GOING TO READ YOUR TEXT AND HOW IT WILL BE USED
  • Give information about your subject and any useful terminology. Indicate where the translator can find other documents on the subject.
  • Plan your writing to allow the translator enough time to do a good job. Translating is skilled work that takes time.
  • Please don’t provide too many versions of the same text. If you must do so, remember to indicate which is the most recent version and mark any changes clearly in the text. The yellow highlight is particularly effective, because the changed text remains visible when printed.
EMPHASIZE WHAT IS IMPORTANT

Use summaries: Summaries the most important aspects of the text and place the summary first. All readers are pressed for time. The majority only have time to read the summary. The translator too benefits from having the most important aspects summarized in one place. It gives him or her over-view of what the text is about.

MAKE SENTENCE STRUCTURE UNAMBIGUOUS

Check if any sentence structure is ambiguous.

AVOID LONG SENTENCES WITH A COMPLICATED STRUCTURE

Vary the sentence length

ALWAYS USE THE SAME TERM FOR THE SAME CONCEPT

If you decide to vary the text by using different terms or expressions for the same concept, for example area support and area payments, the translator may think that you mean different things and struggle to bring two concepts (instead of one) into the translation. Consider the effect of the terms guidance, guideline, guidance document, note for guidance, all real examples found in a single text, where the author meant the same thing in each case. Since the translator seldom has any personal contact with the author, it is usually impossible to check what is intended.

AVOID EXPRESSIONS WHICH ARE SPECIFIC TO YOUR OWN CULTURE

Beware of expressions which are closely connected to your own culture. Consider carefully if you have to use such expressions or if you can explain what they mean instead. Likewise, you should avoid metaphors which are not used internationally, for example a red herring, a level playing field.

EXPLAIN ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TEXT

It is often impossible for readers and translators to decipher acronyms, and sometimes they even stand for something different in another language. Thus, the first time you use an acronym in your text, you write out the name in full and then give the acronym in brackets.

(Source: http://cdt.europa.eu)

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