Translations: Step By Step


So, you’ve finished working on your project and you are ready to translate. But where do you start?  Translation can be an overwhelming topic to research and decide what to do.  So here at Lionbridge onDemand, we’ve made a step-by-step guide to help you cross the language translation bridge.

Step 1: Define your project type.

Different projects require different types of people and software to handle them, so the first thing you have to do is figure out what type of project you need translated.  Your project probably falls into one of these categories:

  • Document: These are basic text files, PowerPoint slides, and scanned documents.
  • Web and App: Websites, apps for Android and iOS, and emails are covered under this.
  • Video: This includes voice-overs, subtitles, or transcriptions for videos and videogames.
  • DTP files: This includes advertisements, banners, web graphics and other graphic files.

Step 2: Pick your languages.

Once you’ve defined your project type, you need to determine your audience, including their location and what language(s) they speak.  It is important to research your audience and find out their dialect and customs.  There are over twenty languages spoken in India alone, and various dialects within those languages.  Lionbridge has over 250 languages ready to translate, but there are thousands of languages across the globe.  If there is a language you need that we don’t offer, Lionbridge can find and source a linguist for you.

It is imperative that you know the location of your audience as well in order to properly localize.  If you are translating into English, but your main audience is in Australia, the translation is going to be different than an English speaking audience in the UK or the US.

Step 3: Who and How Much?

Now that you know the basics of your project, it’s time to figure out how much it’s going to cost and how much you are willing to spend.  Most services charge by word (or minute, for videos), so you can estimate the cost easily - just check the word count for you document, and multiply that by the cost of the service.  Lionbridge makes this step easy with our instant quote option.  You can just upload your documents into our online portal, choose your languages and let the system do the rest.

This step is also about determining who you want to do the translations.  There are various kinds of translators out there, and they all have different pricing, so it’s important to know what you are paying for.  Here are some of your options:

  • Translation Company: these companies have professional translators on staff and at the ready who can communicate with you throughout the process.  This option might be more costly, but you will have content translated and proofread by native speakers, so there will be no mistakes when it gets to your audience.
  • Crowdsourcing: This is a translation service where your materials are uploaded to a pool of translators (both profession and non-professional) who translate the document and send it to a reviewer.  If you have sensitive or confidential materials, this service is not for you, as it can be accessed by hundreds of people.  Also, your translators will not be in contact with you if you have any questions or changes.
  • Bilingual staff or friend: You might have a friend or colleague that speaks the language that you are translating to, and you might think this is a great idea.  While this is one of the least expensive options, there are many dangers when it comes to this service.  Bilingual people are not professional translators.  Just as you would not expect your veterinarian to help you with your taxes, your bilingual friend is not a professional.  They are also, most likely, removed from the target audience.  Even if they are fluent in German, they may not have lived in Germany for the past few years.  Languages and slang can change quickly, and your friend might not be as fluent as they think.
  • Machine Translation: This is the cheapest option you will find, both in price and quality.  You can find a number of free machine translation services online, including Google and Bing.  Although this may seem like a fast, easy solution to your translation needs, keep in mind the dangers of machine translation.

Step 4: Tech Help

Once you’ve figured out what, where, who, and how much, you’re all set to go.  But before you do, can we offer one more thing to help?  One thing that many translation companies provide is the help of technology.  Easy portals, platforms, and software can keep you in touch with your translator and make it easier to access your materials.  Lionbridge offers services like Transifex, a localization automation service that makes it easier to localize your content.  This kind of technology can be a great addition to the services you’ve already chosen, and if you plan on continuing translating materials, these could save you money in the long run.

Here at Lionbridge, we want to help you with all your translation needs.  So come on over to our website and find out if we are the perfect fit for you.