How To Prepare Documents for Translation?

By 2023, the translation industry is expected to reach $70 billion. There is a high demand for translation services around the world as more and more businesses are going global. Translation allows businesses to better connect with their customers by communicating with them in their native language. 

Preparing the document for the translation is very important because it doesn’t just save a lot of time but also ensures optimal outcomes. No matter if you are hiring an individual translator or a translation agency, document preparation is imperative in all cases. There are many things you have to consider while preparing a translation document. 

For managing your translation projects, you have to work with LSPs, so you better know the professional way of handling things. For example, if you are going to launch a new ad campaign for your product in different regions, you have to perform some key steps to prepare the documents. It wouldn’t look professional when you hand over all unsorted document files to your service provider.

Read this article till the end to know about the basic steps and rules you should be following to get your document ready for the translations. 

Why Would We Need to Prepare Documents for Translation?

If you want your LSP to fully understand your goals and expectations, and deliver desirable results, then your translation documents have to be clear and concise. Professionally prepared documents make it easier for the translators, editors, and proofreaders to manage your translation project more effectively. Creating your translation documents considering all rules and guidelines would allow your LSP to efficiently perform their translation tasks using the instructions provided in the documents. 

If you are going to prepare your translation documents, you have to first identify the objectives of translation that you want to achieve. Moreover, it is also important to be aware of the potential problems that are likely to occur during the translation process. Make sure you are providing your service provider with accurate information to avoid any sort of issues. 

The person who will be preparing the translation document should have detailed knowledge of the project and must know the scope of the project. Some companies would hire someone to do the document preparation, but the best scenario will be to do it yourself following the professional guidelines. 

Things To Consider for Preparing Translation Documents

1. Consider Your Project Scope 

Start with keeping the scope of your translation project in mind. You must be aware of the goals, objectives, potential problems, and other requirements of your project from the beginning. Before planning your translation project, you must know how much content needs to be translated and what are the deadlines for the completion of tasks. Knowing the scope of your project would allow you to clearly document all the project requirements and guidelines to complete the project without making any costly mistakes. 

2. Get Your Reference Material Prepared 

The purpose of preparing the documents is to support and assist the translation team in managing your translation project. Make sure your source files are professionally written in their original language. In most cases, English is used as a source language, so you have to make sure that your document is precisely written in English and the information provided is accurate and clear.

 Keep the sentences short, complex sentences can confuse the translators’ team, and they may lose the track of your project. Make sure there are no idioms, symbols, and other cultural references that may not cross cultural barriersout of touched Text in Images.

All the content that you want to be translated should be live, it will keep the translation process smoother and hassle-free. In case there is text embedded in the graphics, you must extract it manually. Otherwise, it will get hard for the translation team to capture the content for translation. Manual extraction of emended text would take a lot of time, that’s why you should avoid this mistake in the first place. 

3. Text Can Shrink or Expand

Some languages take more space than others. For example, German script may take up to 35% more space than English language script. So, you have to shrink or expand the designs based on the number of spaces translations would take. You have to keep your graphics and artwork in content documents flexible, so they are easily adjustable to different texts/translations. 

4. Use More Illustrations 

For any user, it is easier to comprehend illustrations and graphics as compared to written text. In your translation documents, you must use graphics along with text to make it more understandable for the LSP. Moreover, long passages of textual content would not just make your document look boring, but the user will be less likely to remember the instructions and guidelines you have provided in the document.

It can also save you money because most translators would charge based on words, using graphics reduce your word count and you have to pay a lesser fee to your service provider. 

5. Provide Source Files 

You must provide your translation team with editable source files along with other translation material. Make sure you are not using any complex file formats because not all translators are used to working with these. You should use common file formats; otherwise, it will become very time-consuming. Moreover, whenever you would need any changes, the editing process will be even slower. 

6. Link Graphics 

Rather than embedding the graphics, you should better link them in the documents. By doing this, it would get easier to replace the graphics for localization or update the document in the future. The best thing is, linking graphics would reduce the size of images that would further make the file transfer more convenient.  

7. Product Publishing Details

Your LSP should know your publication requirements, and how you want to distribute your content. You want it in PDF format, make it downloadable, or publish it on the website. In each type of publication, the requirements would be different. 

LSP always takes your project further keeping in mind the publication requirements, so there are chances that they ask you questions about it, or require you to create a separate file to mention all of your publication requirements. This will allow you to get your LSP on track and they will stay focused on your project scope, goals, and never miss the deadlines. 

8. Provide Guidelines 

You must provide your translators with all necessary guidelines, including your project scope, reference material, source files, expected outcomes, and deadlines. All the information should be precisely delivered to the teams, so they can deliver you desired results. Make sure you are skipping nothing, even the little details like style guides and output format should not be ignored.

9. Communicate Your Expectations 

The way you communicate with your LSP has a huge impact on your translation project deliverables. Even after providing all the necessary stuff to the translation team, you must not stay out-of-touch. Communication is the key to your project success and its on-time completion. Collaboration with your service provider would allow you to get feedback from them on a regular basis.  

You have to discuss your project guidelines, goals, and communication expectations with your service partner. For content and style guidelines, you will create a clear and precise translation document. Objectives and goals will be discussed orally with LSP and also provided in written form with reference material for the project. You have to clearly express your communication expectation to your service provider, whether they prefer phone calls, emails, or online meetings? Doing this will keep things sorted between you and your service provider from the beginning. 

10. Add Glossary 

As we know that the glossary contains the terminologies’ definition and style guide that assists the translators in keeping the content culture-friendly. You can create a glossary and send it to your translation team as a guiding tool. The best thing about having the glossary is that it keeps all the translators and localization teams on the same page. Having a glossary would also allow you to maintain brand consistency throughout your targeted regions. 

The excessively used term’s definition in the glossary will enhance the content clarity, and the intent of the message will stay intact. So, no matter how many languages you are translating your content to, the original messages of your brand will stay alive. 

11. Assemble File Submissions

Double-check your files before submitting them to the LSP. Make sure all the files are relevant and editable. Try not to add any extra or useless files. While you are reviewing the file content, validate that all the graphics and fonts, included in the files, are linked. Organize your finalized files into a folder, it will keep the things in one place to eliminate confusion for the translation team. 

12. Share Your Deadlines

The deadlines should be mentioned with all the translation tasks to avoid any delays. Once you have sent the guidelines to the LSP, they will tell you the time required to finish a task and what will be the expected date for the finished task. However, you must also inform your service provider about your preferred deadlines keeping in mind the product launch date, publication timing, etc. You can negotiate with your LSP on deadlines to come on a common ground feasible for both you and your service provider. 

You should keep inquiring your translation partner about your project’s progress, making sure they will not surpass the deadlines. 


Summing up the discussion, it can be said that preparing the document for your translation project is significant to keep things sorted and support your LSP to bring out the best outcomes you expected from the translation project. This article discussed guidelines and tips to effectively prepare the source files, reference materials, and other requirements. Having clear, precise, and accurate requirement information and translation documents in place will reduce the complications and your translation team is less likely to make any mistakes.


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Ismail November 15, 2021 0 Comments