Many people love to write, but one aspect of writing whether creative or technical is the editing process; rarely is a first draft ever good enough. Anyone who has worked as a copywriter understands the amount of tedious reviews their work needs to go through before it hits the press (or the web). But there’s many times when the quality of writing isn’t up to par for translation. A solid source document is the first and most important part of the translation process. The following three tips are ones that we live by at Translation Services International and serve as a great guide to cleaning up your copy.
What is the purpose of the document, letter, brochure, manual, video, advertisement, training program, etc.? Typically it depends on the company’s division requesting a quote. Are you selling a product or service, describing the function of a computer program, training someone how to operate and maintain a compressor, informing employees about company policy, etc.?
2. Who is writing?
It has come to our attention that quite often, writing assignments are handed off to employees who might not have proper training or experience. This will be illustrated in the continuation of this section. The Internet has many sources to help understand the basics of most writing assignments. For help writing business letters check out this guide from Purdue.
Here’s a helpful scriptwriting guide from Column Five Media. There are obstacles involved in video scripts that will be explained in a future article.
If the company you work for sells products or services and you are writing the advertising copy, here are 5 helpful tips for advertising copy.
It is not uncommon for the documents we receive to have major spelling or grammatical errors. We also see this on company websites, which in turn create a negative image of the company. If they don’t care enough to exhibit high quality writing, a reader might wonder if they care enough about the products and services they are selling. Some errors are simple typos wherein the wrong key is inadvertently typed, while others are basic misspellings. Words that are commonly misspelled are loose for lose, it’s for its, recieve for receive, seperate for separate, embarrased for embarrassed, — — you get the picture. If you feel that spelling is one of the areas where you need help, here is a link to the most common misspelled English words.
3. How to review and proofread a document
Writers need to put themselves in the position of readers. A writer may have a vast amount of knowledge in the material they want to communicate. But this can be both a boon and a bane when it comes to communicating their thoughts. Because what seems to be quite clear or easy for them to understand might be totally misunderstood by a reader. Writing coaches suggest the following:
When following these three tips, your copy will be primed and ready to pass of to our agency to commence the translation process. It will save you time, money and ultimately result in a greater experience with the reader.
Francis Semmens is the founder of TSI and author of all blog posts with a focus on translation for clients and translators alike.