Getting your organization’s content translated into a target language can be a challenge. Then you must determine if the translations are effective.
The easiest way for a nonprofit manager to test the translation effectiveness is by asking a simple question: Does the translation sound like a translation?
If it does, the translation is generally considered ineffective. Why? Because a text that leaves traces of its original is very distracting to a reader and detracts from the goal of your content.
You can prevent issues by hiring a translation professional or agency with a proven track record. But you will still want to ensure your translated documents are in line with your goals. You’ll need to look at how the translation effectiveness relates to the context.
To ensure translation effectiveness, think about context, which for nonprofits generally involves information and persuasion.
Information: Giving instructions, explaining step-by-step procedures, or providing information about fees or benefits. When you translate to convey information, the information itself is more important than every detail about how the text is written. Ideally, the person who checks your information texts will be fully bilingual and have in-depth knowledge of your nonprofit’s inner workings to catch anything that is open to interpretation.
Persuasion: Raising awareness, getting people involved, or promoting a position or service by explaining benefits or engaging people’s emotions. When you translate to persuade an audience, style is more important than faithfulness to the original text, and your translation will likely need adaptation to be effective.
Even if a staff member took a year of Spanish in high school, this passing knowledge won’t be enough to check persuasive texts. Instead, ask a member of your target audience to read the translation and give you an opinion.
Once you develop a rapport with a translation team, you’ll feel more at ease assessing the translation effectiveness of your multilingual projects. They can help you determine your context and find the right person to check your texts. Then you’ll be well on your way to ensure your translations are supporting your nonprofit’s mission.
To learn more about translation effectiveness, contact Hook PR Group’s translation team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302.858.5055.