The year comes to an end once more (as the years pass, it seems it is disturbingly faster, right?), and the time has come to update the yearly product catalog again. In all those languages it comes in, and hopefully, some more – since everyone wants to expand internationally. Your best choice is to entrust a professional language service provider, but even then there are things to watch to make sure the process will run smoothly.
If you keep just 3 things in mind this year, those multilingual updates won't turn into a nightmare. Read on and enjoy:
1. Have your translation resources revised before you reuse them. If you don't have any, you should get them created (see how to create translation memory here).
Translation resources consist mainly of translation memories and glossaries (translation memory explained in detail here). These are databases of already translated text, which significantly reduce translation cost and delivery times when applied in translation, mainly in case of repetitive content – which surely applies to product catalogs.
The translation resources, however, degenerate over time if not maintained and properly updated. They need to be checked from time to time because any errors detected in the resources will propagate into all future translations. Or in plain words: You don't want to have the same typos in a catalog 3 years in a row...
2. Ask for a price estimate including a pre-translation analysis. Don't pay for repetitive, or already translated content.
As explained above, having a good part of content already translated before and processed in form of translation resources logically reduces both translation time and translation cost. Your supplier shouldn't charge the same for repetitive or exact match content, and the price tag on your translation project needs to reflect this. Therefore always ask your translation supplier to provide you with a translation estimate that contains a detailed analysis of reused content and check how this affects the final price.
3. Always insist on having the translated content reviewed and proofread.
Humans make mistakes, and machines programmed by humans make mistakes too. Until the day comes when AI takes over translation, it's always a healthy idea to review translated documents before they are published. Especially with technical content, it can be critical not to overlook mistakes (e.g. a translator confusing "always push this button" with "never push this button") or else such mistakes can end up as very unpleasant lawsuits. For this reason, demand that your texts not only be translated, but also fully reviewed and edited by a second native translator, and then as a final step proofread by humans with computer-assisted checkers. By the way, it's also good to make sure your translation supplier holds indemnity insurance - just in case...
That's it. The issues are clear, the process is given, but if it sounds as too much to handle, just leave the job to us. We specialize in technical translation and we're experts on catalogs, manuals, and guidelines.