6 Tips to Write an Effective Translation Brief

Personal & Professional Wisdom

Translation is a complex process that requires various, integral stages in order for the task to be completed successfully. When a person needs a document, text, or any type of written file to be translated, they must first  find a translation provider; this provider could be anything from a freelance translator to a translation agency! And, while you might think that all it takes is for you to send the file in question to the translation provider, you would be wrong to presume that it’s that simple. 

In order for the translation project to be a success, you need to provide a translation brief to the translation provider. The brief is a set of instructions and points of guidance that will ensure that the translator has all the information required to fulfill the needs of the client. So, if you want to learn more about writing an effective translation brief, just keep reading.

Here are 6 tips that will teach you everything you need to include in a translation brief.

1. Open With the Basic Project Information

Every project brief needs to have a well-organized introduction that will help the translator get the general idea of what is required in the incoming project.

This is why, in the beginning, you need to provide the basic information about the project in question. Here’s what you should include:

  • Client/company information
    Make sure to provide the contact information of the person responsible for hiring the translation provider. This includes their name, phone number, and email address.
  • Project name
    Every translation project should have a name to make sure everyone involved knows exactly how to refer to it. It could be as simple as “YourCompanyName Translation.”
  • Project Type
    Provide basic information about the type of project that you’re initiating. Let the translation provider know whether this is a legal document, marketing materials,an academic text, etc.

Once you share this basic information with the translation provider, you’re ready to dig a bit deeper into the translation brief.

2. State the Translation Purpose

The next section of your translation brief should describe the main intended use of the translation that you’re requesting. What will you be using it for?

You should describe this to ensure the translator understands your needs and adapts  the translation process to fulfill them. For example, it could be something like:

  • the translated document will be used to write a dissertation
  • you need to sign a legal contract with the person who speaks the target language
  • you need the text for your digital marketing efforts

Be specific about the purpose of the translation to make it easier for the translator to do a great job and convey all the right emotions, information, and effects.

3. Describe the Target Audience

When your translator is working on the translation, they’ll need to make sure they’re retaining  a specific style and tone in the target document.

This is why you should provide specific information about your target audience. In doing so, the translator will know how to choose the best vocabulary and write in a style that suits your needs and the needs of your target audience.

Ideally, you should describe the target audience  in terms of:

  • age
  • sex
  • level of education
  • job position
  • social status
  • relationship with you and your company
  • etc.

Once the translator realizes who your target audience is, they’ll find it easier to translate the source files to fit their sensibility.

4. Provide Target Language Information

A great and effective translation brief needs to include all the information about the target language. And, if you feel that there’s not a lot to say about French or German, you’re sadly mistaken!

As you know, there are numerous languages that are spoken in different parts of the world. This creates different variations of any given language and can cause confusion if one variant is used for the larger subset of speakers of that language.

This is why you need to specify:

  • what is the target language
  • what country are you aiming at specifically
  • what is the target region within that country

An experienced translator will know how to adjust their translation to the target country and region. They will consider factors such as dialects, vocabulary, local conventions, and habits, etc.

5. Add Reference Materials

A translation brief should help the translator produce an exemplary translation. This is why it’s always wise to include reference materials that could help to facilitate the translation process.

Reference materials could be anything you think is useful to the translator:

  • a glossary of technical terminology
  • previous issues of the content they’re translating
  • academic papers or articles 

Reference materials will help the translator hone in on the essence of your translation and complete the project with minimal complications.

6. Set Deadlines

Since you want to make sure that your translation provider will respect your arrangement, it’s best that you put it in writing on your translation brief.

This means that you should write down:

  • the final deadline for project completion
  • any project dynamics you’d like them to follow
  • the project priorities in case there are multiple tasks

Timelines are always sensitive, so it helps if you are as specific as possible from the outset of the project! This helps to ensure that the translation provider has all the information necessary to organize a prompt turnaround estimate before the launch of the project.

In case you need extra help with writing an effective translation brief, or creating a template, check out these reviews for paper writing services; they offer some great advice!

Final Thoughts

Writing a translation brief is the best way to ensure that you and your translation provider are on the same page. It will clear the air and minimize the possibility of misunderstandings.

If you have any doubts, please use the tips we’ve shared above to write an effective translation brief! Remember to apply these steps in order to establish solid communication with your translator (from day one!). Doing so will make sure that you’re happy once the project is finished!