A simple guide for companies ready to start growing internationally

It’s time for your business to expand to new lands, cultures, and people. This is exciting! But it can also be overwhelming. It’s normal to wonder how to start with translation when “translation” was never in your job description.
So, you want to get it right. But where can you start? Here, we will walk you through all the steps of a successful translation. Then, we will recommend some valuable services to manage translation.


Realize that you need to translate professionally

You know it’s time for your business to go overseas, but you may wonder why you can’t just use a free machine translation like Google translate or leave your materials in your native language. There are a few reasons why you need to start translating, and you need to do it right:

  • In business, and especially in marketing, trust is vital. People will be far more inclined to do business with you if they feel your product is made for them. Putting your digital materials in their language is a great place to start. But even then, an awkward or slightly “off” translation (like the ones that come from free translating tools) will be enough to scare potential clients away.
  • Translations will be different depending on precisely what region you are selling in.
  • Translations will vary depending on what type of content you are working with. Translating a website is very different from translating a video.

Recognizing this need for translation is the first step, mainly because, with certain materials, you need to write simultaneously in various languages rather than translating after the document is finalized.


Choose what you need to translate

Depending on what you need to translate, the process will be different. Here is what the translation operation will look like depending on your materials.

Website Translation

It would be best if you were very careful about translating your website for a couple of reasons:

  • If Google detects a word-for-word translation between two web pages, it registers those pages as duplicates and can penalize your page in its search rankings.
  • If you want your page to be search engine optimized (SEO), you will need to repeat Keyword Research in your target languages.


Software translation and localization involve adapting a specific software to fit the user’s local language and cultural norms. Software localization often must happen in conjunction with the development of the product. Software translation and localization may occur while the product is still in the beta phase, which ensures simultaneous shipment of all language versions.


When translating a video, the translator will:

  • Transcribe the video
  • Translate the spoken content
  • Create .srt files, which, when added to the video, will create subtitles at the proper timestamps
  • If you don’t want subtitles, you could hire native-speaker voiceovers to dub the video or do a voiceover in the target language.


Figure out exactly where your target audience will be

Two different countries may speak the same language, but that does not mean they speak the same dialect. Something that could be a logical translation in one country could be strange or even downright offensive in another country. That’s why more than translation is needed; you must take it a step further to localization.

Localization vs Translation

“Translation” refers to simply translating literal meaning. A literal translation may sound robotic, and it does not take local norms into account. “Localization” includes translation, as meaning will be translated, but it also includes all the processes to adapt to the norms of a particular region.

People want to feel like your content understands them and was made for them. Especially in business, localization is vital.

But localization doesn’t stop with translating words to specific dialects. When you translate numbers and prices, some places use decimal points, and others use commas. This could lead to serious confusion with important numbers and prices. In the U.S., the date 12/5 means December fifth. In most other places, it means May twelfth. This could lead to confusion with deadlines, release dates, or travel dates. Localization also includes changing the currency, editing the length of the text, plus changing expressions and idioms.

Don’t use one generic translation for all regions of the same language. Hire a translator who lives in or is familiar with your target locale. Beyond that, only invest in translation software that takes localization into account. If you are considering purchasing translation software or a translation management system, ask how they ensure their translations are adequately localized.


Choose your Translation Management System

For setting up the best translation process, you will use a Translation Management System that real people manage. As you’re probably beginning to realize, the translation goes far beyond simply replacing some words with other words. Especially for big translation projects, there are a lot of files, due dates, locations, time zones, and more to consider. With one professional translation management system, you can efficiently manage the whole process from just one platform.


Create or use a glossary with terms specific to your niche

If your original content was written with authority and expertise on a subject, you don’t want the translation to sound like it was written by an amateur. But not all translators are experts in every niche. That is why you need the Terminology Manager feature that gives your translators access to all the most important words and phrases for your business.

Every niche, company, and even author uses a series of unique terms. To remain consistent, translators must create a glossary of those terms they can access and use quickly. The project or localization manager should then approve that glossary.

The Terminology Manager will ensure that your company’s translations are consistent and precise over time. It will also make it much easier for translators to find the terms you need to sound like an authority in your niche. It drastically improves efficiency and organization.

Terminology Manager is separate from your Translation Management System (TMS). The Terminology Manager is a glossary of all the words you and your brand need. That glossary will be included in your TMS. But it is just one tool among many others that your system contains.


What is Translation Memory (TM)?

Translation Memory is a database that stores not just individual words but phrases, sentences, headings, list items, etc., that have been translated previously.

Then, when the software creates the translation, it gives a few options for phrases that a human translator can then review and choose between.

Good TM will aid considerably with efficiency, accuracy, and cost.

At the end of this process, professional translators will read through the final drafts and choose the words and phrases that best fit to ensure your translation is accurate but also fluent and natural sounding.

If you need a professional translation system to aid you through all these steps, contact us at TextUnited.

If you have a first file for translation and you need it fast, start here.

We work with localization & project managers to speed up turnaround times and build an international audience most effectively and efficiently as possible. With TextUnited, all the translation elements mentioned in this paper are in one place and easy to manage.