Tuesday, July 13, 2010

9 Tips for a Better Label Translation Project Flow

A few of PLG’s translation project coordinators came together and compiled a few guidelines for better managing larger-scale projects that involve multiple languages. While some of these guidelines are specific to label translation, many can be generally applied to any type of translation work.

As the client, you can refer to these guidelines when evaluating projects with any translation agency.

Source picture: Alto Paraíso de Goiás, Brazil. Jean Carneiro.

1. Clear and concise communication is a great start. During the initial request (whether by e-mail/phone/fax/etc), clients should identify a project name or job number, delivery date and all the languages to be translated or typeset. Any additional requirements should be requested early on in the job phase. Having all the necessary information at the outset can set the project into motion more quickly and the translation agency’s project managers are able to handle the job much more efficiently.

2.  Clarify all conversions and local settings. You may need to convert dimensions from U.S. standard to metric. Make sure you and your translation agency understand this. Also, your U.S. toll free number may not work abroad. Provide alternate information to your translation agency if necessary.

3. Specify a language dialect if necessary. Are your French labels going to be read by customers in Quebec rather than France? Or is your target market Taiwan rather than mainland China? Then you may want to indicate this to the translation agency. A good translation agency will assign a native speaker of the target language/country to the project so that your translations will not only be correct, but also culturally authentic.

4. Educate the translation agency about your products. You may want to provide other materials, including brochures/flyers, instruction manuals, previous translations and even videos to educate the translation agency about your products and services. With more context, translators are able to produce higher-quality, more specific translations.

5. Provide a glossary if you have one. Glossaries are beneficial when terms are particularly unique to your industry and you want to ensure that the translations are consistent within your own company or industry. If you have translated your labels before, your previous translator may have created a glossary of the most commonly translated terms that appear in your packaging. If not, you can request this from your translator/translation agency.

6. Choose a translation agency that utilizes translation memory (T.M.) There are times that a translation agency will use a different translator to translate your labels. This is fine, as translators are often working on a few projects at once and may not be available. If this case arises, a good translation agency will provide a translation memory file to the newly assigned translator working on your project. This ensures that you receive consistent translations every time.

7. Allow extra time if possible. Be wary of translation agencies that promise a quick delivery that would normally take longer, as a good translation agency will communicate to you if the deadline is not able to be met. A proficient translator takes time to research and proofread in order to avoid careless mistakes and produce quality translations. Some translation agencies may offer an expedited delivery, but do not choose this option if you don't necessarily have to. Prepare in advance to avoid rush projects.

8. Take advantage of in-house typesetting/DTP layout services. Placing language in an artwork file can be problematic if the person doing the layout is not familiar with the language or software. This is especially true with languages that use non-Latin characters. It may be easy to find a good language professional or a good typesetter, but it is rare to find someone who is proficient at both. A good translation agency often has staff that is familiar with both the language and the compatible desktop publishing software.

9. Be clear on the delivery time and method. If you followed the first step of effective communication, then delivery of your project will be a breeze. Perhaps you had instructed the translation agency to upload the final project to your FTP server by a certain date or time or maybe you need the finished project mailed to you on a CD-ROM. Provide this information early in order to avoid delays and a last-minute delivery.

We hope that you are able to apply these tips to your next label translation project.

Precision Language and Graphics is a multilingual translation agency that specializes in packaging translation. For more information about our label/packaging translation services, please visit http://plg-online.com/label_translation.html

PLG exceeds Holiday Packaging Translation Expectations

In one of their busiest seasons yet, Precision Language and Graphics and affiliated design agencies combined strength to produce more than 2,000 bilingual labels. Over the course of three months, they worked within tight deadlines to ensure that many of these products will be on store shelves in time for the upcoming holiday season.
Holiday Packaging Translation Highlights:
• Translation of more than 2,000 labels over the course of three months for seasonal items, in addition to non-holiday related products, for a wide range of US based retailers and manufacturers
• Product packaging includes labels for holiday décor, recipes and nutrition labels, kitchenware, tools and hardware, home furnishings and cosmetics
• Turnaround times between 2 and 48 hours
• Most popular languages include Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese
• Additional typesetting/DTP and layout services for certain items
• Post DTP Proofreading and Review
After a few months of hard work, PLG and its clients were satisfied with what they’d accomplished. Diana R., Senior Packaging Manager with Wal-Mart*, one of the customers of PLG’s, commended these efforts, saying that "PLG’s ability to deliver was put to the test and the results have been exceptional…We recognize that what was asked of you was beyond the norm and a simple thank you is not enough.”

For more information about PLG’s Label/Packaging Translation Services, please visit http://www.plg-online.com/label_translation.html

*Since 2007, PLG has been translating labels and packaging from English to Spanish and English to French as an approved translation vendor for 3700 Wal-Mart Stores in the U.S. and more than 300 stores in Canada. After a rigorous selection process, PLG was also selected to provide label translation services to Michaels Stores in 2008.

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup Round-Up: Language Stats

Though the final match between Spain and the Netherlands is over and the month long international soccer tournament has come to an end, World Cup spirit is still very much alive here at PLG. In this section, we've collected some interesting language related facts pertinent to the World Cup:

• South Africa, this Cup's host, has 11 official languages, including Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

• Spain, the World Cup winner, has four official languages: Castellano (Spanish), Euskera, Catalán and Gallego. Spanish is spoken nationally while the other three are spoken regionally. During Franco’s regime (1939-1975) the use of regional languages was highly discouraged but have since experienced a strong resurgence.

• Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands (the 2nd place finishers), with Frisian enjoying co-official status in the province of Friesland. Most Dutch citizens also speak English, as it is a mandatory part of secondary education, and many also speak German and/or French.

• Language ties with the Netherlands—Afrikaans, the native language of 13.3 % of South Africa’s population, is a language derived from the Dutch brought over by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century.

• The match between Argentina and Mexico on June 27 was televised in the U.S. on the network Univision and watched by a record-breaking 9.36 million people - making it the most watched Spanish-language program in the United States.

• Pharmacies in South Africa prepared for the arrival of thousands of tourists by setting their computers up to use Babel Fish, Yahoo’s online translation program.

• English proficiency is required for World Cup referees. Brazilian refs were quoted to have studied English swear words prior to June 12’s match between England and the United States (foul language is grounds for a player’s ejection from a game).

• Though England’s out, there’s still something to cheer about: English Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his family have ties to both teams in the World Cup final. Clegg’s mother is Dutch and his wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, is Spanish. The Deputy Prime minister cheered for the Oranje Elftal (Orange Eleven) while his wife and sons threw their support behind La Roja.

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