Imagine you are a language translator with an instruction manual or legal contract to translate. Unfortunately, the document is badly written. Significant parts are incomprehensible, and you fear you won’t provide an accurate translation of the author’s intended meaning, particularly since you can’t make sense of much of the text. What should you do?
Confusing sentences, poor sentence structure, too many words, the misuse of terminology, dangling modifiers and bad word order—this is a recipe for disaster when providing language translations. Even when a translator provides an exact translation of the document, the only thing that can be assured is that the intended audience will be upset, along with the original client.
Preventing Bad Translations
You can take specific steps to ensure a quality translation. Long before you send your content to a translation services company, before you begin writing, devote considerable time thinking about the purpose of your document and your audience’s needs. Some questions that you should consider include:
- What is your goal for the document?
- Have you communicated an adequate amount of information to reach your goal?
- Are you targeting the right audience, how much does that audience already know, and what needs does the audience have?
- Will the intended receiver understand and respond to your message?
- What important details need to be communicated?