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  • Kati Peltomäki

5 steps to a successful translation project

Rush to finish writing your product descriptions, send the lot in for translation as you’re shutting down your computer for the week, and feel relaxed that you have a whole weekend off before coming back to start publishing the translations on Monday morning. Sound familiar?


In an ideal situation this is how it works, absolutely. More often than not, though, a translation project needs some effort to succeed.


1.  Sufficient time

Freelance translators can work from anywhere in the world. Some choose to work the occasional weekend, and sometimes different time zones can help in our efforts to meet super tight deadlines. But since our translators are human, they, too, need rest and have family movie nights and a social life. As such, translating 5k words of legal text will likely take a bit longer than 24 hours, and product descriptions might require more time than a weekend.

Realistic time expectations can vary greatly depending on the style and field of the text. When in doubt, ask the translation experts.

2.  Voice your wishes

Even though the translators at Transfluent are solid professionals, they have not yet fully mastered the art of reading minds. (Disappointing, I know!)

While our translators work on honing that skill, it’s worth noting that adding instructions, reference materials and preferred terminology to go with your translation order will work wonders. It will help us deliver precisely the kind of text you want.

3.  Quality source text

The old maxim You get out what you put in is also true in translation: it is much easier to produce a quality translation when the source text is comprehensible and coherent. If the source text is raw (unedited) machine translation, the final translation quality is unlikely to be perfect and ready for publishing.

In a less drastic example, if your source text is written by someone not native in that language, you might consider having the source text proofread by a professional before it gets translated. An extra pair of eyes always helps!

4.  Q&A contact

You will always be more knowledgeable about your product than the translator. Good instructions and reference materials are often enough to produce solid translations. Even then, however, there may be some ambiguities or context-related questions that need clarification. It’s always preferable to have a contact person, one who is able and available to answer any questions the translator might have about the content.

5.  Feedback

Whether you love or hate the end product, we want to hear about it! If an incorrect term has been used, please do correct us. The way the translation memory of the translation software works, it’s likely that the same term will be incorrect in the future as well unless we instruct the software otherwise. Pointing out the error will allow us to learn and do better for you next time. Similarly, if you receive a translation in which the style and terminology are spot on, chances are that you’d be just as happy with our translators’ work next time, and we will certainly do our best to make that happen.

Understandably, you don’t always have time to give feedback, or don’t know the target language well enough to be able to give feedback even if you wanted to. That’s fine too – but we’re always grateful if you can share opinions when you have them.



Keeping the above five points in mind should make for excellent collaboration and successful translation projects. Now enjoy that relaxing weekend, you’ve earned it!


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