I work as a translator at an agency, and my project manager has just assigned me an 800 word document. So here’s me jumping in!

I begin by checking whether the client has provided any specific instructions, and he has: “This document will be used at our members’ annual seminar.” I already get an idea of what the document is about from the file name: training_XGTmachinery.doc. It appears to be a training document for some type of machinery. Let me open the file and see…

First line: yes, the title is definitely referring to training. I’ll get back to it later once I have the big picture.

The content is pretty specialized! I’ll need to research a lot of technical terms. Luckily, the client sent us a glossary with a previous project. Phew!

I’m a third of the way through the translation and I now know this training is for a workshop for farm equipment operators. I do my best to set the right tone for the target audience and use industry terminology.

Okay, now I’m halfway done. I’ve found almost all the technical terms relating to farming equipment in the client’s glossary and some reliable online sources, but I’m still uncertain about two terms and one sentence seems to be incomplete (I think a word is missing). I’ll need to contact the client, but to avoid bothering him with several messages, I’ll combine all my questions in a single email. That means I need to scan the rest of the document to see if there are other snags. Done! I didn’t find any other issues, so I send off my questions.

We have a few questions about the document we are currently translating…

I get back to work and, in the process, I’m learning how the machines in the document are operated. No doubt about it, translation is the perfect job for enquiring minds.

The client has replied to my email. That was fast! He’s answered my questions about the two terms and confirmed that a word is indeed missing from that sentence. Oh! And he’s asked me to use an updated version of his document, which he has attached to his email.

But since the changes aren’t clearly indicated, the two documents will need to be compared. My project manager gets on it right away and sends me the new document to be translated.

I pick up where I had left off. A few sentences have changed and others added. Our translation support tools make it really easy to see the changes.

Great! I’ve finished my translation. Only the title remains, but it’ll be a whole lot easier to translate now that I know exactly what the training is about. I’d even say I feel a bit like an expert in the subject!

Rereading my document is an essential step and I always leave time for it. First, I compare the source and target documents to make sure my translation is faithful to the original. Then I check the names, figures and dates. Next, I shift my focus solely to the style of my translation to make sure it flows as smoothly and naturally as possible in English.

Final step? I run the corrector. While it’s not a perfect tool (sometimes it even makes mistakes), it’s invaluable for detecting those pesky little errors that are easy to miss and helping me to polish my final draft.

I’m really fortunate to work with talented revisers, so my document will be reread and further improved by another language professional. Now that I’m satisfied with my translation, I pass it along to my colleague for that next step. But my day isn’t over yet; other projects are already popping up and piquing my curiosity. On to the next one!

Our translation company at a glance

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