Frequently Asked Questions on a website are a great way of addressing any potential doubts without the need for any time-consuming back and forth.
But, in my years working as a freelance translator, I’ve found that just as or maybe even more important than the questions that my clients ask me, are the questions that I ask them before I start work on a translation.
To make the process more efficient for everyone involved and ensure that the cogs in my freelance translation business turn smoothly, over the years I’ve come up with a translation brief that I send to new clients with every quote.
If my clients fill it in as best they can before I get started on their translation, they get all of my questions out of the way in one fell swoop at the beginning.
It’s a win-win situation. I have all the information I need to work efficiently, and they don’t have to worry about being available to answer emails from me with queries.
Let me share just a few of the FAQs I include in the brief so you can get a good idea of the kind of information a translator needs to provide you with the best possible end result.
Where, when and how will the translation be used?
You would never write a piece of content without knowing the target audience and the content in which it will be used, so translation should be no different.
If a text is going to have the same intended impact on its audience in the target language as it would in the source language, I need all the relevant information that can be provided.
How do you want readers to react when reading the translated text? Tone of voice and style?
My choice of words and language will hinge on the information you give me about what you want the text to achieve. I need to know whether the tone of voice should be playful, serious, or anything in between.
Should we use the formal or the informal way of addressing the reader?
On that note, in Portuguese and in many other languages in the world there is a distinction between informal and formal ways of address, and using them can completely change the feel of the text, so it’s very important for me to know which to use from the outset.
Should product/brand names be translated?If you have existing translations for them, please provide them.
Some companies choose to translate product and brand names, but in some cases, it isn’t necessary. This is a decision that should be made before any translations are done, for the sake of consistency.
Translating your product or brand names for the first time is a different service to straightforward translation as it will involve careful research and consultation with you.
Should measurements and/or currencies be converted, if applicable?
These are details that people don’t generally consider when they’re new to the world of translation, and will all depend on the purpose of the finished product.
Knowing whether the client requires these adapted from the beginning saves either them or me a lot of time trawling back through the file to edit them later on.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
There’s an extra space at the end of my brief for you to add in any extra details you think are relevant.
Don’t be shy – the more information I have, the better the final result will be, so include absolutely anything you think it might help me to know that hasn’t been covered by the other questions in the brief.