The ATA Chronicle - September/October 2020 - 24

PREPARING DOCUMENTS FOR TRANSLATION continued
■	

■	

■	

■	

Be aware of the client's personality,
linguistic understanding (if any), and/
or potential stressful issues about this
particular project.

Gather final version(s) of the
document(s) on which you will be
working and reference material.

Have a basic understanding of
the client's line of work and
full knowledge of the project
specifications that were agreed upon.

Read and "survey" the
document(s). Ask yourself these
basic questions.
■	 What type of document is it?
■	 Who wrote it?
■	 What is the quality required?
■	 What is the target audience?
■	 What are the deliverables?
■	 What is the turnaround time?

Write down questions/concerns ahead
of time. Always be diplomatic and
polite. Questions should not contain
judgments or criticisms.
Make the meeting short and to
the point.

If delivered in a timely manner,
complete and accurate
information about a project might
help avoid costly mistakes.

Write and provide guidelines for
team members. All jobs should
include basic information about the
project (see questions under Number
2 above). The prepper must be able
to determine whether or not a project
requires additional instructions. These
may range from none to minimal or
lengthy and complex. No instructions
or excessive instructions can both lead
to confusion, interminable requests
for clarification, or, even worse, grave
mistakes. Guidelines should include
the following:

5

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The ATA Chronicle | September/October 2020

❏

❏

Research the problems and
find solutions.
■	 Start with the reference
material.
■	 Ask for clarification.

❏

Write the project specifications
and provide them to the
team members.

❏

Ask for feedback.

❏

Additional instructions (if necessary):
a.	Specific issues grouped under
categories (e.g., terminology,
target-language mechanics,
formatting, etc.).

a.	A short description of the type/
purpose of the project, word
count, and desired quality.
Example: A 4,000-word adultinformed consent for the clinical
trial of medication XYZ for
publication purposes.

24

❏

Identify potential problems in:
■	 Terminology
■	 Measurements
■	 Formatting
■	 Target-language mechanics
■	 Alphabetized lists or indices
■	 Modifier strings

Basic information:

b.	Project information such as source
and target language, deliverables,
target audience, tone, start date,
and turnaround time for each
team member.

example, is there anything they don't
understand or need to clarify?

CHECKLIST FOR PREPPERS

PREPARATION SHOULD NOT BE
AN AFTERTHOUGHT
Preparing documents for translation
should never become a luxury we
cannot afford or a casualty of tight
deadlines or budgets. A big-picture
approach suggests that most clients
would be happy to extend a deadline
by an hour, a day, or even a week to
ensure they receive the quality (however
the client defines it) they require. So,
save yourself some stress, extra work,
and possibly losing a client by getting it
right the first time!
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
1.	
For more information on the "surveying"
technique of the "survey-question-readrecite-review" reading strategy (otherwise
known as SQ3R), see: Carter, Carol, Joyce
Bishop, and Sarah L. Kravits. Keys to
Success: Building Analytical, Creative,
and Practical Skills (Pearson Prentice
Hall, 2009), http://bit.ly/keys-success.
2.	

Ramsey, Fowler, and Jane E. Aaron. The
Little, Brown Handbook (Pearson Prentice
Hall, 2012), http://bit.ly/brown-handbook.

Itzaris Weyman, CT is a
freelance translation editor
specializing in quality assurance
for large-volume projects,
third-party review, and linguistic
analysis. She also serves as
a translation production consultant for small- to
mid-size translation companies. She is an ATAcertified English>Spanish translator. In addition
to ATA, she is a member of the Association of
Translators and Interpreters of Florida. Contact:
itzarisweyman@americaslanguagebridge.com.

b.	Style guidelines are common for
large-volume clients and must
be easily searchable and cover
all client preferences applicable
to the project. It's important
to provide specific and
comprehensive examples.
Ask the team for feedback.
Encourage team members to
ask questions and give feedback. For

6

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The ATA Chronicle - September/October 2020

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