Translating large texts? Here's how to do it

Translating large texts? Here's how to do it


Some texts can rightly be labeled 'large'. Think of the online help system of a specialized application, the user manual for a complicated machine, or an expertly crafted contract. With a word count of twenty-, thirty-, forty-thousand words or even more, the costs can be substantial when you need a translation, even if you take advantage of a competitive rate. Translating a large text - how do you go about it without letting the cost get out of hand or settling for inferior quality?

Have your large and small texts translated by Scriptware Translations!

Even with large texts, you need to have an eye for detail. Fortunately, we have the right working methods and translation tools to translate large texts in no time. Request a non-binding quote now.

Example: translating a manual

Let's take a manual as an example. If you know in advance that your manual will have to be translated later, you can take this into account while writing it. First, by avoiding making the text unnecessarily long. Instruct the copywriter to formulate concisely (often the best option for technical texts) anyway. And is it really necessary to describe virtually identical procedures from a to z each time? Perhaps you could suffice with one complete description and then name only the deviating steps? Second, by ensuring that identical concepts and instructions are always worded identically. Repetitive text is quick to process in a translation editor with a translation memory. That's usually why you get a discount for it. It will be clear to you that it is an advantage if the copywriter is familiar with modern translation processes and always keeps them in mind.

Is the manual already written and you're still startled by the word count? Then examine the critically. Are all paragraphs and chapters relevant to the market in which you want to use the translation? Certain functionality of the device or application may not be available in all countries. So then you can gain by deleting. If you need the text in five, six or more languages, it may even be a good idea to have the manual adapted and shortened in its entirety. This is called "source optimization. You will more than recoup the extra cost for this later.

Quality of translation

Also ask yourself what quality you are aiming for. Tools for machine translation, such as Google Translate and DeepL, have long since passed the laugh-out-loud stage and generate translations of all but acceptable quality. Many reputable companies that regularly translate large texts now make widespread use of them, often in combination with post-editing. The translations are then reviewed and corrected by specially trained linguists. For texts in which stylistic sophistication is not important, but which must above all be usable and clear - such as manuals - this is nowadays an attractive alternative in terms of cost and time. The prerequisite is that your source text is well and unambiguously structured. (Probably needless to say, but for the translation of your debut novel, this is not the appropriate workflow.)

Speaking of time: translating a large text is not a matter of one or two days, whatever translation workflow you choose. So reserve enough lead time and don't make it an (expensive) "rush job. You also run the risk that your text will have to be handled by several translators, which is often not conducive to consistency.

Translating large texts by Scriptware Translations

So thinking ahead is the magic word, as is good planning. It is especially important to think about the translation of your text as early as possible, preferably before it has even been written. Smart choices can save you a lot of money, as can a clever translation schedule (for example, if you order a French, Spanish and Italian translationat the same time, you will definitely get a substantial discount). No experience yet with translating large texts? Then it can be very enlightening to spar with a specialist. At Scriptware Translations we are happy to think along with you and offer you a wide range of possibilities. For example, we specialize in the translation of books and the translation of complete websites.

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