The foundations of a good translation are already laid when the documents are drafted in their source language.
There is a wide range of in some cases very extensive publications on this subject, and specific systems for computer- or database-assisted authoring are available to professionals.
Below we present a few simple tips for you; taking these into account when drawing up your source texts can speed up translation processes, reduce costs and increase the reuse rate of existing translation units.
- Use open formats (e.g. not PDF)
- Use single-language translation source documents, or at least distinct single-language layers
- When embedding images, create callouts in such a way that they can be edited within the document
- Use strict paragraph formats
- Use table formats
- Avoid using manual formatting, especially for line breaks, tabs etc.
- Avoid using manual hyphenation
- Avoid using manual kerning settings
- Size text boxes generously (the same text may be significantly longer in the target language than in the source language)
- Use terminology consistently; introduce company-wide terminology management if possible
- Avoid using synonyms
- Use abbreviations consistently
A quick note on segmentation in translation memory systems:
- Translation memory systems break a text down into segments sentence by sentence; punctuation marks are used to detect where segments begin and end
- If a text is incorrectly segmented, the system cannot create coherent translation units
- Avoid unnecessary changes to previously translated original documents
- Even minimal alterations to formatting between two versions of a document will produce a less efficient result when analysing new text against existing translation memories.