Communicating with our ethnic communities and overseas audiences is a huge part of what we do at The Translation Service through the translation of brochures, leaflets and other publications. Of course, a lot of work and thought goes into the content and design of these publications before they reach us BUT that is only the start of it. It’s you – our translators – who have the challenging task of recreating the content to convey the information and marketing message in your languages, for your communities. It doesn’t end there either, we put the content you provide into the design files – another task with its own challenges and issues, and the client is provided with a final print or web ready version of the foreign language brochure.

Very often the publication is designed in English for English speakers and no thought is given as to how the content or design features translate in another language. Before starting the translation, it’s good to have a read of it and consider if the language, content, design features and photographs etc. are appropriate. If not, give us a call to let us know what you think. This gives us the opportunity to discuss it with the client and determine if it’s something that needs to be changed in the original English version, or if more flexibility simply needs to be given to the translator to adapt and make it more clear and meaningful in the target text.

A recent example of some helpful feedback we received was in a brochure about the use of child restraints. The brochure explained that you should not put a rear-facing infant restraint in a front seat if there is an active airbag, however it did not go on to explain the reason for that. In the target language the word “airbag” translated as “air pillow”. The translator worried that some people may not understand that although an airbag is a protecting device for adults, it can cause serious harm to your baby. In raising this issue the translator allowed us to go back to the client to discuss the possibility of adding an explanation into the text –which they were happy for us to do.

The project manager will do a final quality check before starting the design work to pick up on any inconsistencies or errors, but will not be able pick on these issues, nor will the client. This puts the translator and reviewer in the unique position of being the only people in the know, who can turn the end result from being a mechanical translation into a well-thought-out translation of a brochure and a publication in the target language in its own right!

Have you ever saved a publication from a translation or design blunder? If you have any examples that you would like to share, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.