What You Need To Know Before Translating Your Technical Document To Spanish

Chances are that you landed on this page because you are considering or have decided to translate your technical documents to Spanish. You may have several reasons why you need to translate to Spanish, but you now have to make even more critical decisions regarding how to do it best.

Technical translation is one of the most underrated localization projects. No matter how time consuming and challenging it might be, it counts when it comes to connecting with the end-users. So, if you are looking to translate your content to Spanish, we are here to help you connect to a global audience. We will highlight fundamental steps to executing the project correctly, including exploring foundational options for developing multilingual content.

BUT FIRST, IS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO TRANSLATE TO SPANISH?

By Statista estimate, there are about six billion people who can’t speak or read English. It is safe to say that if your content is in English, you only have a chance to get your message to less than 25% of the market. Even those clients who might speak English may prefer their natural language. Put it another way, more than three-quarters of the global market prefers companies that communicate with them in their native language. So, if you want to compete in a global marketplace, your organization needs to demonstrate proficiency in more than just one language.

According to the 2020 Web Globalization Report card leading brands have made their content available in more languages. On average, these organizations have made their content available in 61 languages. Do not jump into conclusion, though. Before you decide on the number of languages, you have to understand your market. After all, more than 85% of the online population speaks only 10 languages. Some languages have much greater reach than others, Spanish being one of them.

If you are not convinced yet, here are three other reasons why translating to Spanish can strengthen your brand and increase sales:

  1. Keep Your Future Consumers in Mind

In modern times, you have to speak to your customers in their language. This means that your content should connect with them in every way possible, be it online, manuals, or sales material. It is always a simple task when you are dealing with only one language or region. (Things get more complicated however when it comes to two or more languages.) You have to consider the culture that correlates to a particular audience.

For example, trying to communicate your message to a customer in Spain and simultaneously trying to reach out to a customer in Mexico is a tough job. It might take time and effort to determine which context and words from your original document will translate to fit a specific audience. A qualified technical translation will be able to take the words and context of the original documents and translate them into something that connects to the targeted personas.

  1. Expand to New Horizons

You already have stellar content that connects to and attracts new English-speaking customers, but there are still more territories to cover. Besides English, Spanish is a widely spoken language in the US. The Spanish-speaking audience is also the third largest in the world. To be specific, over 450 million people in the world speak Spanish as their native language.

Document translation is integral to international business success. For this reason, you need to work with the professional translators with subject matter expertise to translate to Spanish. If you have the resources to get your product to a multi-lingual public, there is a tremendous growth potential to tap into. One thing we know for sure is that the global market is now more reachable than before due to the ever-increasing accessibility of business on the internet.

  1. Build Trust and Brand Recognition

If you are a technical writer, you will agree that it takes time to craft content that connects with your consumers in a credible and trustworthy manner. So, if you are looking to build that kind of relationship with a specific Spanish speaking audience, you have to take into consideration the various vernaculars and cultures associated with the Spanish language.

Generally, a majority of customers feel more comfortable engaging with companies that have taken their time to address to them in their languages. And the best way to display this is through your content. If you leave them to do all the work to try and understand you, they will be less likely to use your product, be it software, mobile app, gadget, or maintenance service you are offering.

OPTIONS FOR TRANSLATING YOUR CONTENT TO SPANISH

There is more than one way to translate to Spanish, which means it is crucial to understand all these foundational options.

  1. Machine Translation

For basic tasks, you might consider using automated software or services like Google Translate to translate source content to Spanish. While Google often translates basic text with reasonable quality, it might not be able to translate your technical documentation effectively. Due to the sensitivity and complexity of some documents like engineering manuals, the meaning of the original content may be lost in the translation, putting your audience at a risk.

You may be wondering that it is 2020, why aren’t MT tools more efficient yet? Well, most MT tools do not understand or even account for context, the changing social lexicon of a specific region, or even subtleties in culture and meaning in colloquialisms.

  1. Human Translation 

One of the most defining characteristics of Spanish human translation is the concept of context. In most cases, the context in a language is often implied rather than explicitly stated. So, without an understanding of the context, a translator will not be able to get out the message in the most effective way. A qualified human translator is in a better position to understand cultural norms, idioms, and most importantly, the overall purpose of the content.

If the original document needs adjustments before translation, a human translator is able to put it in the right format. For instance, sometimes we handle manuals that were complied using different chunks of texts and graphics from different documents. In this case, we have to sort out the overlaps to simplify for the end user before we even translate to Spanish. Basically, this is how we can simplify and deliver your technical message to your Spanish audience.

If your content needs to be the most nuanced and accurate, then the effort and cost of engaging professionals to translate to Spanish are highly justified. Some people may prefer using a machine to translate to Spanish, then use post-editing, where a human translator will review and improve the machine-translated output. But remember that sometimes the message might need to be restructured to fit an audience. So rather than trying to translate an engineering manual by yourself, which could end in disaster, it is always smart to engage professional translators for the task.

Professionally trained native Spanish linguistics with years of experience handling technical documentation will make sure that you are understood. They can be your trusted resource on your way to international success.

WHERE LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY AND TECHNICAL LANGUAGE MEET

If you are a brand that sells products in new territories, then technical documentation is key to the user experience. The problem is getting texts from one language to another is not as straightforward as it might appear. As you learned earlier, word for word translation is ineffective.

The solution is to hire a professional language service provider that understands not only the nuances in the language but also the technical language. We work with organizations from a wide range of industries to translate their operation manuals, technical training materials, software support documentations, machinery manuals, engineering manuals, and more to Spanish.

TRANSLATION QUALITY ASSURANCE PROCESS

Before you start the translation and localization process, consider putting together a set of translation instructions that would be very valuable for your translation provider and help them better understand your expectations. The instructions should specify the terminology, use of symbols (™, ®), the tone of voice, and include glossaries and reference materials. Here is the rest of the process:

  • Content Scrutiny

Before translation, your document has to go through an English quality check. This process will clean out unnecessary material and mistakes so as not to replicate them during the translation.

  • Translation

Now that we have a clean English version, the translator who is a native Spanish speaker and lives and works in the country of your target audience, and who is experienced in the field will go through the document and then translate it to Spanish.

  • Editing

As soon as the first draft comes out, the editor will counter-check the document to assess its quality. The task involves comparing the translation to the source to ensure accuracy of translation, confirming word choice, consistency of terminology, etc.

  • Proofing

Checking the translation to correcting minor spelling errors, typos, checking overall formatting, and making recommendations, among other things.

  • Finalizing

The translation will now be finalized by the translator and the Translation Memory and Glossary will be updated for future use.

Read more about Art One’s QA Procedures.

CLOSING REMARKS

Regardless of whether you want a simple translation of your content to Spanish or a complex and comprehensive localization for your technical documents, you have to get it right from the start. Quality Spanish translation is a product of linguistic skills, subject matter expertise, experience, and AI-powered translation technology. Professional translation to Spanish may be your key to communicating on a global level. Contact us to discuss your translation project or upload your files to request a quote.

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