How to Impress Clients with Document Translations

In Blog by Rafael Morel

When you work in the document translations business, it’s easy just to do the bare minimum, but why? Don’t you want to go the extra mile for your clients? Here at Lighthouse Translations, we always believe in doing the very best to serve our clients. Here are a few ways that you can go above and beyond and really impress clients with your document translations.

Cultural Adaptation

This is a critical part of the translation process, because cultural quips don’t often translate from one language to another. In fact, translating various idioms and sayings into another language is going to sound downright nonsensical when translated into another language. Thus, it’s imperative to go the extra mile and find out the meaning of various cultural phrases so that you can find the best way to translate them. It’ll take some extra work, but just think about saying something as simple as, “I’m hungry enough to eat a horse” and someone not understanding what it means; then you’ll understand how important it is make sure cultural references are translated properly. Plus, your client will be thrilled and impressed that you managed to get it right.

Recognize the Client’s Vision

When performing a document translation, don’t get too caught up in the words; remember to think about the client. The client will have a vision and a purpose for needing the document translated, and it’s important to always keep that in mind. Is it something persuasive? Is it a factual document? Is the client trying to tell a story? Think about the client’s vision for the document and make sure that it translates, and not just the words. Remember that with any written document, intent matters, so make sure the translated version reads with the purpose intended by the client.

Learn the Background of the Document

Before you even start the translation process, do research on the document itself. Where does it come from? Where is it going? Who wrote it? Who’s going to read it? These are all important questions that you need to answer, as they will guide you during the translation process. If you understand the background of the document, you will know what parts of it are the most important and what parts need extra emphasis. If you know the history of the document, it won’t just be words on a page, you’ll treat it like a living, breathing document, and that will show up in your translation and impress both the client and anyone who ends up reading it.

Give the Translation a Voice

Simply translating word-for-word is too easy, not to mention boring, and it won’t create the kind of results the client wants. Every written document has a voice, and you have to make sure that voice translates correctly just as much as all the words translate correctly. If you don’t find the writer’s voice and point of view, the translation won’t come across as intended. Before translating, make sure you understand where the author is coming from and try to emulate their style and voice. If you can do that, the words will jump off the page more so than the average document translation, and the final product will far exceed the client’s expectations.