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What are translation services?

By Neil Gauld, 

Although it might seem like a simple question, let’s start with a fundamental question; what actually is translation?

Simply put, translation is the process of converting one language into another. It sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. It takes a very skilled and knowledgeable translation services provider to successfully translate content in a way that considers cultural nuances, technical terms, purpose, audience and whatever else needs to be taken into consideration. 

With this in mind, we’re going to take you through the many types of translation and processes to provide you with a translation services definition. Hopefully, this will give you a deeper understanding of what it is that we do here at Brightlines!

Types of translation

This is where it can get a little complicated… There are many elements to translation, and not all translation involves the same process. It all depends on the type of content you’re translating and who you’re translating it for.

To help clear things up, here are a few of the different types of translation services that are available, all of which we offer here at Brightlines.

  • Standard translation

Standard translation is professional translation in its simplest form. The content is often translated to exactly reflect the original text. Any cultural differences between the texts or idioms in the text are not normally considered

This type of translation service is well suited for product descriptions, training documents and instructions. When it comes to this type of content, all you need is straight-down-the-line clarity.

  • Technical translation

In comparison to other types of translation, technical translation is highly specialised. A technical translator needs to have an in-depth working knowledge of the subject matter, and an understanding of the latest terminology and vocabulary used in the particular industry.

Ranging from science, software or engineering, right through to detailed medical data sheets and beyond, technical translation is more than just translating specialist language and key terminologies accurately. Our guide to technical translation has more information on the topic, so have a look to find out more.

  • Marketing translation

Marketing translation involves translating your marketing content to appeal to your target audience. This could be for your website, brochures or other marketing materials.

However, it’s not enough to make sure your copy is understandable in another language. Consumers are so spoilt for choice that standing out in the right way is essential. The key to achieving this lies in the way information is communicated and the language that’s used, taking cultural nuances and popular trends into consideration. Have a look at our ultimate guide to marketing translation for more information.

  • Machine translation

Machine translation (MT) software translates text from one source to another in a matter of seconds by building up a dictionary of grammatical rules or by using a range of real-life example translations.

In recent years, MT has progressed and can now recognise similarities between documents and build up a rich glossary of words. Its ability to produce cost-friendly translations on a large scale is incredibly attractive for businesses across the globe.

While human translators will always be the most effective method of translation, as their expertise of culture and language is invaluable, there is a time and a place for machine translation. However, MT alone is never enough for effective translation and shouldn’t be used on its own. Instead, it’s most useful alongside human translators to translate a bulk of text that can then be edited by a professional translator. You can learn more about this process by visiting our blog post about when machine translation should be used.

What about localisation and transcreation?

Localisation and transcreation are both part of the translation process. They ensure that the content is suitable for a specific culture, and that the tone and message of the brand isn’t lost in translation.

Localisation is the process of adapting the translated content for different cultures, considering cultural nuances and different consumer preferences. It can involve everything from changing colour and images on marketing material, to amending currencies and units of measurement, and even the hyperlink targets to link to a relevant page in the language of the translation.

Most documents will need both translation and localisation. The level of localisation necessary will vary from text to text. For example, some content – such as technical manuals and instructional documents – don’t need to be localised to the same level as a let’s say, a website.

Transcreation refers to the process of converting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. It is a distinct translation process that requires more than standard translation; instead, it is a creative writing and localisation process that is carried out by specialised mother-tongue translators and copywriters.

For global marketing, highly branded materials will often need the process of transcreation, such as product names, slogans and advertisement copy. Translation, or specialised translation, simply isn’t enough in this instance. It’s crucial that you carefully consider this when preparing your content for global campaigns.

What we do

Brightlines has been working in the translation services industry for over 20 years, providing an all-in-one translation service to businesses of all shapes and sizes. We collaboratively work with businesses to provide them with a translation service that is tailored to their requirements. Our team of over 4000 translators are on hand to provide you with accurate and precise translation into any language.

If you’d like to find out more about our translation services, why not get in touch today?

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