The Translation Method: Find out how prime-quality translations are produced using an 11-step process
Whenever we read a classic book or an article that we enjoy, we often forget to thank the writer for giving us a pleasurable read or for making us engage in a topic that interests us. If we were to wonder how the author was able to create such a marvelous piece of writing, we would find that the writer had to go through draining moments of creativity in order to accomplish it. Although the results seemed effortless, we know that is often not the case.
At Marco Diaz Translations we want to take away the pain from you and build texts that will accurately and engagingly convey what you have to say to your audience. Nevertheless, as we can agree that outstanding writing takes time, we encourage you to learn more about our translation method and how being familiar with it could help all of us obtain top-notch quality texts.
Here is our 11-step method:
1. Becoming familiar with the topic of your text*.
Using specialized resources, we consult similar texts and information in both English and Spanish for background on what your text is about.
2. Reading and understanding thoroughly your English text.
This is a crucial step in which we assess the subject matter, meaning, and purpose of your text. At this initial stage of the process, we discuss important aspects like who your audience is and what register would be appropriate for it.
3. More vocabulary and content research.
After thoroughly reading the text, we underline difficult terminology and problem areas. Then, using a variety of reference sources, we look up the information and list several alternatives. We seek information in both bilingual and monolingual dictionaries in order to double-check the meanings.
We create a list of words or expressions with their respective meanings and classify it according to the type of document, topic, job, or any other particular category. At this point we reach out to our client again to ensure the terminology meets the client's current or previous guidelines.
5. Oral sight translation.
This means that we begin to orally translate your text into Spanish as we read it for the purpose of becoming aware of the specific idiomatic challenges. It prepares us for the first draft because we already know what hurdles we need to jump through.
6. Writing the first draft.
It takes five critical steps until we finally get to do what we enjoy the most: writing! Regardless of the length of your document, we try to write this first draft in as few sittings as possible. Once we finish it, we let it distill for a while (we don't mean five minutes) before we come back to the reading and editing stage.
7. Reading and editing the first draft.
After letting it sit, we make all the necessary modifications for Spanish grammar. By using computer-assisted translation tools (CAT tools) we are capable of guaranteeing that nothing is left out from the original English document.
8. Writing the second draft.
We write a second draft in order to corroborate the accuracy and register of the translation and that the text reads with a natural idiomatic ring to it.
An experienced Spanish native speaker proofreads the second draft to spot any register or grammar inconsistencies. Subject-matter expertise is key here, as only a language expert would be able to identify these.
10. The final draft.
Our goal is to produce a text that reads as if it had originally been written in Spanish. We write a final draft doing a meticulous quality-control check of all the mechanics (punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc.) following standard writing or in-house style guides.
Depending on the non-disclosure protocols that need to be in place, your translation could either be safely stowed away for any future changes or updates or it could be properly disposed of to ensure thorough confidentiality. This is a reliable benefit that you obtain and it could save you significant amounts of money in your future English to Spanish translation needs.
We hope this gives you a better idea of what it takes to produce a high quality translation.
*By text we mean any document, brochure, web copy, contract, etc.
We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have or would love to hear your comments.