3 Helpful Translation Tips for Businesses

You have a vision to globalize your business and extend your services in Vietnam but the one thing that stands in the way is the translation.

Good translation services don’t come cheap. Yes, you may find online translators, but their quality is nowhere close to what experienced translators offer. Investing in translation and localization will be worthwhile for your business, but it is best to follow a few tips that will make your translation experience cost-effective and stress free. 

Make Your Words Count

One of the factors that cause high translation costs are the number of words in your video content, website pages, and documents. The higher the number of words, the more the translator will charge. So, editing the content should be your first task, before it is handed off to a translation service. Apart from just reducing word count for the total cost, you should be strategic towards what you want to translate. Choose your words carefully and be sure that your message is clear, and can be easily understood. This offers the added benefit that a Vietnamese translator would be better able to translate your content if it’s precise. 

Avoid Regional Phrases

It rarely translates well. The same goes for slang terms, inside jokes, or metaphors. For example, many Americans use the phrase, “knocked it out of the park” meaning to complete a task very successfully. This phrase is referencing a “home run” in the popular American sport, baseball. If you are an American and interested in sports, you will understand this phrase, but chances are that many Vietnamese people are oblivious when it comes to American sports phrases. These types of expressions are not always universally understood or appreciated—they just don’t translate well.

Make Sure It Fits

According to Lionbridge, English text is often shorter than other languages, which means sufficient space is needed for the added length (it can be up to 35%!). This is particularly important for software interfaces and graphics. Differences exist not only in sentence length, but also in individual word length. However, when it comes to Vietnamese translations, most words are actually very short. Studies have shown that the average word length in Vietnamese is among the shortest in the world. For example, compare the word đẹp to the English beautiful. It is very important to consider that your text will look different and may be located in a slightly different place in your graphic once translated. 

Cross-cultural communication requires study and lots of practice to master. It all begins with preparing content for international readers and making sure that your message is easy to translate. Once the stage is set for translation, you can further refine the content to suit your specific audience in Vietnam. Writing translation-ready materials will save you time as well as money—and it’ll increase the quality and readability of your target translations.

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