Carrying out a multilingual content audit is a great way to check the quality of your existing translations. This process should be part of a continuing cycle of improvements and it can really help to increase the overall quality of your content and also help identify future issues before content is published.
We always recommend an audit of existent content translations to new clients whenever they want to translate a website from scratch. For example, if they have some existing marketing material they feel comes across well and in the tone they are looking for. This way we would not just be directly translating existing content that may not be up to scratch - "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig". This is also a very good exercise in order to get to know the client's business and also get to know the desired style with which they want to come across with to the outside world. The results also give the client a clear vision of their current multilingual content. Clients are often not really aware quite how good or bad their content is across the board as it's unusual for someone to speak all required languages and this content may have been passed from staff to staff depending on the age of the content.
1) Check the source. First of all, we always check the source language. The source language needs to be clear, concise and easy to understand. If the source text is not up to scratch there is not much chance of a satisfactory translation. We work with many native copywriters who are able to intervene on the source text before sending it for translation. You can also read our blog post on Preparing content for translation.
2) Verify the accuracy of the translation.
- This consists of checking the grammar, orthography and correct translation of terms. Are the acronyms being translated properly for example?
- Does the translation read well? Sometimes, a translation can be error free but it still sounds unnatural to a native speaker. Marketing translation for example requires a different approach. Learn more about Marketing translation in our recent blog post.
- Ensure the message is culturally appropriate to the audience or region (localization). There are many examples online of where something after translation becomes inappropriate or offensive. Always consider these factors carefully when targeting new markets.
3) Get feedback. We always like to ask about the current user experience with the translated content. This may be end clients or the staff of the company itself. For instance, if the in-country sales team is not comfortable with the translated material and is not really using it, re-creating their own for example then it is essential to have their feedback on why it's not currently working for them. It's important from a brand point of view that consistent content and wording is used when promoting a business via any medium so the staff should have faith in the agreed translated content.
In the next blog post, we'll focus on the next part: SEO!