Archive for Ginette Smith

How Complicated Can It Be? Translation Steps

I get the opportunity to work with customers all day and many times I get the question, what steps go into translating this document?  Well, there are more steps to the process than one would imagine.

  • 4-Phase-Methodology_EPSPhase One (Evaluation): At this stage, we clarify technical and customization requirements, assess language and cultural needs, define project objectives, scope, organization and control procedures, plan the project workflow, and set up HIPAA PHI procedures if needed.
  • Phase Two (Planning): At this stage, we assign a dedicated Project Manager and all linguistic staff, finalize the project schedule and communication plan, implement any needed training and/or workflow setup, and configure Computer-Assisted Translation tools.
  • Phase Three (Execution of Translation Process): At this stage, we exchange source files (this can be handled using email, secure FTP, or VIA’s OLS web portal), ensure all linguists are properly trained using translation memory and glossaries and style guides, manage the translation/transcreation and proofreading steps, as well as any needed graphics engineering and desktop publishing or multimedia localization. Then we manage a customized Quality Assurance process, and work with you during your internal review cycle to deliver the final product.
  • Phase Four (Maintenance): At this post-project stage, we solicit customer feedback for continuous improvement, then update and maintain translation memory and glossaries.

Look to your Language Service Provider (LSP) for assistance to help you understand the steps and tasks that go into completing your project. Learn more about our methodology here.

What does it all mean? The A-Z of Translation Definitions

dictionaryIt is not unusual for me to get questions about what DTP means or for a customer to be confused between what a PDF is and a source file is. So, I thought a brief glossary of the terms frequently used in the translation industry would be helpful. Whether you need to communicate effectively with linguists or language service providers, you’ll find some of the answers here.

  • Source File – The original document to be translated.
  • Native File – The same as source file the original document to be translated
  • File Prep – All preparation work required to ready a document for translation. For example, converting a PDF document to an editable format
  • TEP – Translation, edit and proofreading.  The linguist translates the document into the requested target langauge. A second professional linguist will proofread and edit the document
  • DTPDesktop Publishing: Reformatting the document to produce the translated document identical to the source document; in most incidences English.
  • QA – Quality Assurance:  a professional will review the final document to ensure no errors were introduced in the DTP phase of the project
  • Source Word/Text – This is the language of the source content and the language that Translators translate from.
  • Target Word/Text – The translation of the source word or text.
  • Glossary – is a collection of preferred terms with translations, definitions
  • Style Guide – is a tool that organizations can leverage to measurably increase translation quality and consistency.
  • Braille – Braille is a system of communication for blind or partially sighted people.
  • Cultural Adaptation – Editing a text to fit in with the cultural aspects of the target language
  • Literal Translation – A translation that follows the source text very closely.
  • Localization – The process of editing a product for a specific (usually foreign) market in cultural and linguistic terms.
  • Native speaker – A person with native speaker competence in a language.
  • Machine Translation – Translation carried out by a software program without human intervention that requires extensive editing of terminology, meaning and grammar.
  • Translation Memory – A software program used to store translation segments or units in a database for future use.
  • Word Count – A word count is the number of words that a document or file contains

Look to your Language Service Provider (LSP) for assistance to help you understand the steps and tasks that go into completing your project.

Did you think of everything (when planning your translation project)?

Image courtesy of Elvis Santana.

Image courtesy of Elvis Santana.

Many think translating English documents is easy and takes no time; ok maybe a couple of days or a week based on the documents’ size. Guess what, that is so far from the truth! Translating documents has many steps and all of them need to be calculated into your timeline when planning to meet your critical deadline.

We recommend building your timeline by starting with your critical deadline and working backward. Make sure you give yourself extra time for those inevitable delays.

Here are some steps to consider including:

  1. Critical deadline: can be a website ‘go live’ date, CMS required posting or delivery dates, end of fiscal year, marketing campaign, and there are so many more
  2. Publishing/printing time frame
  3. Internal review
  4. Post translation tasks such as formatting, desk top publishing and quality assurance
  5. Actual translation time frame
  6. Pre-translation work such as preparing style guides and glossaries
  7. Project approval
  8. Evaluating scope of work and costs
  9. Approval of final native/source files

Don’t worry if you can’t think of everything. Your Language Service Provider (LSP) should be able to help you plan accordingly so you can get started on your way to successfully meeting your goals.

Learn about how VIA’s managed services can help you streamline your translation processes to provide the best return from your investment.

Is it time to consider a Centralized Translation Business Model?

For many healthcare organizations the fiscal year is coming to an end and this is when understanding your overall costs of translation is essential for next year’s budgetary request and approval. If you are juggling invoices from several language service providers, consolidating reports and trying to make heads or tails of what was spent on translations, then it may be time to consider a centralized approach.

By partnering with one translation provider and standardizing your process, your organization will benefit in many ways and reducing costs is just the beginning.

  1. Leveraging technology like translation memory can save you up to 15% or more when used across all written material.
  2. Savings also come from reduced internal costs. Your staff will spend less time managing the pre- and post-translation steps such as preparing documents for translation, managing terminology documents and formatting the material.
  3. You will save time by having greater budgetary control by utilizing technology like VIA’s 24×7 online language portal. The portal allows for a single record of all documents that have been translated and is easily exportable to Excel.
  4. No more fragmented or differing processes from one department to another. Standardizing the process will drive cost efficiencies across multiple languages.
  5. Your messaging and preferred terminology will be consistent across all material ─ whether it is marketing, educational or legal documents.
  6. Increased control over document management eliminates the headaches of multiple versions of documents living in multiple places at once, and is key to staying sane as your translation workload grows.

The list continues. If any of the above benefits speak to your specific needs then I think it might be time to contact VIA.

We will listen to your challenges and understand your overall goals to map out a centralization plan that will work for you.

Addressing Health Literacy When Developing Content

Continuing in the spirit of National Minority Health Month and expanding on Natalie’s blog last week, let us talk about ways to address health literacy when developing content in any language. Most of the tips are from Marketing 101, but others I have learned from working in the translation business. I hope they will help you develop easy-to-read materials for skilled readers as well as for those with reading and comprehension challenges.

Writing the Content – Goal: Make it easy to understand

  • Use familiar and simple vocabulary.
  • If you must use a difficult word, explain it to readers immediately after using it or provide a simpler alternative in parentheses.
  • Avoid acronyms, abbreviations and jargon.
  • Avoid bureaucratic language and legalese which is generally written at a high reading level and in an authoritarian tone.
  • Write clearly in an active voice.
  • Write one-topic paragraphs.
  • Write in short sentences and use bullet points and numbers when possible.
  • Test content for literacy/readability level with “Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level” aiming for 8th grade literacy level or lower.

Formatting the Content – Goal: Make it easy to read

  • Use clear headings.
  • Q&A formats work well.
  • Use simple or familiar fonts and keep the number of different fonts down. (I recommend no more than two different fonts in same document.)
  • Keep font size at 11 points or higher.
  • A generous amount of “white space” offers the reader visual relief and improves the readability of a document.
  • Take advantage of the power of pictures and graphics.

Want to know more? Check out our webinar titled “The Benefits of Health Literacy: Supporting Limited English Proficient Communities.”