There are no shortcuts in translation: changing a few words here and there in your original text does not mean that the translator will only have a few words to change – far from it! The whole sentence or even paragraph will have to be reviewed. However, there are ways you can help to make the process easier, faster and cheaper.
After the content of your website is initially translated, it’s a good idea to retain the source and target texts in Word (or Excel) for future updates. It’s important to understand that a key aspect of translation is context (out of context, a word can have several meanings and therefore be translated in many different ways), so the more information you give us – within reason, the better. This is why you should not send the updated paragraphs or sections alone. The link to your website will help, of course, as the pictures or visual context may shed light and answer some of the questions we may have, but it is not enough. (And the time we spend looking for the corresponding part on your website will be charged for.)
At the update stage, your translator will ask for the full texts in an editable document, as they will have done when your website was first translated (see previous post). Along with the new text, it would be very helpful if you could also provide the previous translation and its source (original language) version as references (the translation alone will be of little help to make comparisons and check how certain terms were translated previously), highlighting in your new copy which sections have been revised. This will save your linguist time (and you money) as they will be able to immediately see what needs changing, as well as enable them to ensure consistency as the updates need to match the terminology, style, spelling, etc. and fit seamlessly with the whole. (For best results, hire the same translator as before whenever possible as they will be familiar with your products or services and consistency won’t be an issue.)
By making your translator’s life easier, you help them to work more quickly and efficiently for you.