A bad translation is easy to describe. It’s when someone misunderstands the original material or misinterprets it. While it’s true that something inevitably gets lost in translation, if the original message is lost, then that’s a failed attempt. If your business is employing translation services to expand your consumer base or provide support for markets that you want to start catering to, then you’ll need to partner up with the right firm. But finding a team of good English to Spanish translators isn’t easy. You’ll need to make the right hiring decisions. If you want to ensure the best possible results for your business, then here are five tips for successful translation work.
Beware of the Numbers
In English, numbers just mean counting from one to ten. You only need to insert a comma between each number. However, it’s not so straight-forward with Spanish since you write the numbers without any commas like this: 1 000 000. However, what makes this confusing is when the number is smaller than 10,000, then the spaces between those numbers will disappear, so you’ll end up with something like 1300, which would be rendered as 1,300 in English. That makes it a little more confusing. To make the situation even more confusing, you’ll need to apply the same practice when you write page numbers, years, street numbers, along with verses, postcodes, and even numbers of legal articles, decrees, laws, and P.O. boxes. Also, in Spanish, you use commas instead of decimal points.
Check Out the Alphabet and Punctuation
The Spanish alphabet has 27 letters, the extra one being ñ, and it comes after n. As for the punctuation, you’ll need to factor in the accents in Spanish. There’s a way to write the vowels to indicate the stress as well as the emphasis on the occasions. In addition, the question or exclamation points are not just added to the end of the sentence but must also be added to the beginning of each sentence in an inverted form. If you have a rhetorical question, though, then you’ll start with an inverted question mark and then end with an exclamation point. This is a tricky bit of business, though. That’s why it pays to hire pros who know the language inside and out. A translation firm that employs locals or trained experts will have no trouble using the punctuation and alphabet the right way.
You need to keep your target audience in mind. Given that there are multiple kinds of English and Spanish, you need to make sure you address the needs of the right audience or consumer base. Spanish is different for those in South America, for instance, from the European Spanish used in Mexico. There’s also the Peruvian Spanish, which is something you’ll also need to wrap your mind around. With the assistance of a qualified and professional translation service, one that knows the language inside and out, you won’t need to worry about any mistakes that could doom the chances of your promotions and campaigns in your target country. You won’t need to lose sleep, thinking that your target market will end up confused.
Determine the Length of the Text
Spanish translations are typically about 30 percent longer than the source text in English. That’s why the translation takes up more pages than you’d expect. You’ll need to keep this in mind and make the necessary adjustments to your site or pages when you work with Spanish translations. Expect that you’ll need to set aside more space or more papers than the English version. Aside from the longer translations, you’ll need to consider the breath pattern too, as reading in Spanish takes longer, given its longer sentence structures. For instance, ‘love song’ in Spanish is written out as ‘cancion de amor.’ That’s already one word more than the source material in English. A good translator, though, will know what words to use to try and cut down the sentence structure into bite-sized pieces, so that it would be more aligned with the English version.
Watch Out for Cultural Nuances
Spanish has, like some other languages, a formal and informal use of the pronoun ‘you.’ If you are in a business setting, you’ll need to use usted. But if you are referring to someone you are close with, then the informal tu is a better option for you. If you need someone to translate your documents, then that person needs to know those cultural nuances and differences. Knowledge of formal and informal language registers is a given when you hire pros from a reputable translation service. That’s just another of the many reasons why it’s essential that you pick the right one. A professional translator will not only know which register to use but will also have the ability to preserve the tone of the language so that the level of formality or informality stays present throughout the text.