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TranslationLoft | Source Language Management Source Language Management

Creating the perfect source text

If there are flaws and inconsistencies in the source text, the likelihood is that these flaws and inconsistencies will be reproduced in the translated versions also. By anticipating, highlighting, and resolving issues prior to translation, we can help you avoid costly problems, queries, and errors during translation, and significantly improve the quality and impact of both your source and target text as a result.

We provide a suite of services that have been specifically designed to audit, assess, and resolve issues in the source text that are likely to have a costly impact on localization down the line.

We help you to get it right, first time.

Source Scrubbing

Source scrubbing involves an in-depth review of your original English content. The goal is to ensure that it is free from errors that could make the content difficult to understand or cause confusion for the reader or end user. Ambiguity in the source text will almost always be exacerbated in the translated text and result in even greater confusion for potential clients in your target markets. At TranslationLoft, our source scrubbing service focuses on the following key areas:
Language structure
An important aspect of source scrubbing is an analysis of the content in terms of language structure. Our approach here is guided by the rules of Standard Technical English, which focuses on conveying the crux of the information in a way that is clear, concise, and comprehensible. Text that is easy to understand is easy to translate. By eliminating inconsistent, redundant, and unnecessarily lengthy text, word counts are reduced and language structures are standardized. This allows better leverage from translation memories and, when combined with lower word counts, results in tangible savings in translation.

Synonyms, acronyms, and abbreviations cause confusion. If multiple terms are used for the same concept, translators will assume there is a difference in meaning and translate accordingly, thus perpetuating the confusion in the target language. Part of our source scrubbing service involves identifying and defining a list of key terms that should be used consistently by developers, technical writers, and translators. For more information about the importance of terminology, see Terminology Management.

When translating software, another benefit of source scrubbing is the opportunity it provides to identify and remove redundant or legacy text. Software strings that are no longer used (because the feature has been updated, for example) can be identified and deleted from the translatable text, thus reducing word counts and translation costs.

Grammar, punctuation, syntax
We also check for and resolve errors in grammar, punctuation, and syntax. This not only makes the text easier to translate, but also results in a cleaner source text that better reflects the professional image of your company.

Source Annotation

Whereas source scrubbing involves editing the source text directly, source annotation involves incorporating non-translatable comments into the source text in order to provide invaluable context and guidance for the translator.

Our customers find source annotation especially useful for the areas of software localization and transcreation:
Source annotation for software localization
When it comes to localizing software, the purpose of source annotation is to provide important “in-string” context for the translator, particularly in cases where editing the source text is not an option.

Typical headings under which in-string comments would be added include:

  • Context: “This string is referring to the Security Settings function”
  • Character restrictions: “Translation must not exceed 12 characters”
  • Part of speech: “Here, 'call' is used as a verb”
  • Non-translatable text: “Do not translate this product name”
  • Placeholder: “This placeholder stands for a date”
  • Dependencies: “This is referring to the option translated in string ID xxx”
  • Truncated string pairs: “Part of a truncated string, the corresponding substring is…”
Source annotation for transcreation
Transcreation is commonly used for highly visible marketing content in which key aspects of an organization’s brand identity need to be conveyed accurately, consistently, and in a way that resonates with the target market.

To get it right, translators need to have a crystal-clear understanding of the source text. When annotating for transcreation, we incorporate explanatory comments into the source text in order to inform, guide, and crystallize the translators' understanding of the content. Apart from flagging references to key brand values, comments are added in order to highlight and explain stylistic devices, colloquial phrasing, and cultural references.

Take the example “From the top of the pops to the grimiest drum ‘n’ bass, there’s everything you need”, from an online advertising campaign for a leading music app. Here, the translators were guided on the fact that “Top of the Pops” is the name of a very famous British music show where bands in the charts performed their songs live on stage. Rather than opt for a word-for-word translation, the team was encouraged to come up with an equivalent that produced the same impact in their own language.