Welcome back to the Language Inc blog. Last week saw the start of a discussion about common problems that translators face, as well as what clients can do to make their translator’s job just a little easier. We looked at the problems posed by cultural references, jokes and euphemisms, companies’ preferences and accuracy issues.
Part two continues along this line, discussing two more obstacles.
Limited character space
Translators are usually limited to a set number of character spaces when it gets to localization projects. Some languages are more descriptive in nature than others, and this needs to be realized by companies hiring translators. It’s important that clients aren’t unreasonably restrictive regarding length, but translators should also not be taking liberties in this regard, unnecessarily using precious space.
The solution? Focus on the main points of the source text. If you can, use official abbreviations for words, but don’t overdo it. The text still needs to be effectively translated, and easy to read by the target population.
Not only does a translator be professional in his linguistic abilities, but also have impeccable organizational skills. This can become particularly tricky, especially when juggling a few projects simultaneously. Translators should always try their best to keep to deadlines, as falling behind schedule could be bad for your reputation, and could jeopardize future commissions and payment. Communicate any issues with your project manager as soon as they arise – knowledge of the issue is key as a huge out-of-control crisis can then be averted.
On the other hand, companies also need to be mindful of the fact that things sometimes go askew on the translator’s side regarding deadlines, as translation is a very difficult and time consuming task.