Content for Machine Translation – The volume of content generated worldwide is growing at a rapid rate, which has led to an increased demand for immediacy as users expect content to be readily available in their native language immediately. In that context, nowadays, with the expectation that exuberant amounts of content can be translated quickly within limited company budgets, it is more important than ever to have swift, high-quality, cost-efficient translations in multiple world languages.
Nevertheless, translating immense amounts of content can undoubtedly bring complications around quality, cost, and time to market. Luckily, technology is becoming increasingly commonplace within translation nowadays, as different tech-derived translation solutions are becoming an efficient remedy to some of the previously mentioned potential problems and issues.
These sophisticated translation technology solutions are slowly but surely changing the face of the translation industry. For instance, machine translation software helps companies translate vast amounts of content swiftly at a significantly reduced cost, all while maintaining the quality of the final content.
Nevertheless, while machine translation automatically translates content from one language to another deprived of any human input, it’s worth noting that this AI-powered solution brings the best results when it’s combined with some of the best CAT tools on the market, to streamline the entire process and deliver high-quality, accurate, and efficient results.
Make no mistake, though. To achieve the best results with machine translation, both in terms of cost and quality, it’s essential to prepare your content for the translation in a clear, concise, coherent, and structurally correct way. Here are six pieces of advice on how to prepare your content for machine translation.
Table of Contents
Spell Check is Important
First of all, even though this might sound like just a basic rule, remember that machine translation engines can’t precisely identify and translate a word if the word has been misspelled.
For that reason, always ensure you proofread your content before sending it for automated translation because if you fail to do so, it will only lead to longer turnaround times and unnecessary costs.
Recycle the Sentences and Always be Consistent
The best machine translation software can easily spot repeated phrases throughout your documents and accurately translate them. This is why it is important to try to use the same expressions multiple times throughout your content, which will help you save on costs associated with post-translation editing. Put differently, you should always use the exact phrases within several sections of the same text document.
Bad example: It’s essential to remove any mistakes in an email. Proofreading is crucial because proofreading eliminates errors in an email.
Good example: It’s essential to eliminate any mistakes in an email. Proofreading is essential because proofreading eliminates mistakes in emails.
Keep Your Sentences Short and With a Rather Simple Grammatical Structure
Even though advanced machine translation technology can handle lengthy sentences, you should always try to communicate one idea in a single sentence. Therefore, depending on your content, try to break long sentences into two or three shorter ones when possible. In addition, keep your sentences between five and twenty-five words, as sentences of less than five or more than twenty-five words can prove problematic.
Also, don’t over-complicate the structure of your content’s sentences, and keep them within a relatively simple grammatical structure. Ensure that each phrase and sentence is complete, as they should begin with a capital letter, have one main clause, and have a punctuation symbol at the end.
Remove all Unnecessary Words from the Sentences
Remove all words that don’t genuinely contribute to the meaning of the sentences or words that over-complicate the structure.
Bad example: She is the person who works primarily on consulting projects in our office.
Good example: She works on consulting projects.
Use Active Voice and Avoid Ambiguity
The active voice is a particular style of writing that cuts out ambiguity and vagueness. Once more, if a human is unsure of the precise meaning of a phrase or sentence, then the machine translation software will struggle, particularly if the sentence comes with a double meaning.
Bad example: My first time eating a cheeseburger at McDonald’s will never be forgotten.
Good example: I will never forget my first time eating a cheeseburger at Mcdonald’s.
Avoid Idioms, Cliches, Slang, Colloquialisms, and Abbreviations
Last but not least, the machine translation software may not convey the right meaning of idiomatic or colloquial phrases, and the meaning may not make sense to international users.
Bad example: He is not going to school today as he’s feeling a bit under the weather.
Good example: He is not going to school today as he is not feeling well.
In the end, machine translation is here and here to stay. To get the best out of your next translation project, remember these tips when preparing and authoring your content, whether it be user guides or translating your company’s website. Doing so will mean you will enjoy improved consistency, shorter turnaround times, and lower costs with your translation project.