Companies, institutions and professionals need to be ready to prepare a rich and up-to-date language resource kit to help translators work to the best of their ability..

Beyond excellent language skills, translation also calls for superb research skills, in-depth study, revision and many other activities: that’s why it’s so important to provide your translators with a wide range of language resources!

In this article, we will show you the 5 must-have language resources for a translator: all the essential tools to complete accurate translations, in a short time and at a reasonable price.

5 key language resources to optimize translation

1. Dictionaries

The first language resource which your translators will need to optimize their work is, of course, a dictionary. During the translation process, it is important to find the most fitting terms that reflect the source text: therefore, so that your translators can convey your message to the best of their ability, it is essential that they can access etymology, context, usage examples all wrapped up and ready to peruse by the page (or available online).

2. Tools for terminology management

Another unmissable tool in the translation trade is the terminology database: these are terminology management tools that you can develop with your language service provider to define terms and expressions that are used to achieve certain goals.

To best collaborate with your translator, it would be helpful to create specialized ad hoc glossaries to assist in maintaining consistency and cohesion with the terminology of your company or the institution you work for, particularly in large translation projects.

Integrating terminology databases among translation language resources saves the translator time otherwise spent researching and resolves any doubts that arise during the translation process,especially if the results are up-to-date and align with the field material (check Microsoft’s terminology database if you would like to see a corporate example;for an institutional example, we recommend IATE, the EU database).

3. Corpora

To optimize the process of translating your content, you also need to provide your translator with access to corpora. These are million-word collections of original texts that span various specialism fields (an example is the Sketch Engine, one of the most comprehensive tools with about 700 different corpora for over 100 languages).

This language resource helps your translators resolve issues that often regard very specific and highly specialized contents quickly and with accuracy, while also allowing them to compare the same results across several different languages. As a result, you end up with a smooth, efficient translation that meets your goals.

4. Translation memory

One of the language resources that cannot be gone without and must be made available for your translators is the translation memory. Used within a Computer-Assisted Translation tool, they pick up on translation units that are similar or equivalent to previously translated segments and suggest them to the translator, improving their productivity.

Translation memories are particularly useful when translating technical and repetitive texts, as they save time and improve quality in the translated text. That’s why we recommend that you give your translators translation memories: this will enable them to clearly and quickly communicate your message in line with your philosophy. If you don’t already have a translation memory, ask your provider to create you one using previously translated documents in the alignment tool.

5. Style guides

You will know better than us that each company or institution has their own vision and tone of voice that must be respected when translating: it’s no coincidence that among the language resources needed to optimize translation, style guides are a must-have to meet your every need.

Style guides are simply reference documents for translation: they lay out rules and conventions for the translator, enabling them to continue representing your identity in the translated text. Usually, they include a variety of instructions and rules from punctuation, to tone, to formatting, all to deliver texts that are consistent and quickly available so that you can achieve your goals in no time.

P.S.: if you read this article all the way through, you must be interested in discovering how you can optimize translating your content. In fact, some of the language resources that we have listed for you are part of the tools that companies, institutions and professionals must provide their translators with from the get-go of each project to ensure the utmost efficiency, time management and best value for money.

Not sure what to do? Don’t worry, your trustee language service provider will definitely know how to help you prepare all the language resources you need.

Rachael Chambers
Rachael Chambers

Rachael is a young but talented colleague, who specializes in translations from French and English into Italian. After graduating in the UK, she moved to Italy where she taught English as a foreign language to Italian students and where she learnt the real Italian she needs to fully understand the source texts and translate them into English. She has also worked as an intern at AlfaBeta’s office in Rome and is now one of our youngest freelancers.

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