By Lee Wennerberg, www.EbookDecoded.com
Your digital product is selling well in the English language and you’re ready to have it transformed for the foreign language market. Before handing the text over to the translator, however, consider these potential mistakes to avoid refund-inducing bloopers.
1) Not pre-checking jargon. Jargon, those specific words which may accurately describe your product and/or its processes, can be difficult to translate correctly. Keep a list of yours in mind and be ready to explain them to a translator if necessary.
2) Not pre-checking slang. Slang is words and phrases that may spice up your writing but almost always does not translate successfully into a foreign language. Even the best translators might not be in the know of the latest slang, so run through your text first to try to catch any slang that might be confusing, and be ready to supply simple explanations for them.
3) Not pre-checking availability of topic-related materials. Does the reader need to buy things that might not be readily available in his part of the world? If your product requires buying and/or acquiring specific items, see if these are actually available in the target-language market. If they are not, consider including options in your text that are. (Some examples are foodstuffs, building materials, and nutritional supplements).
4) Product costs. If the reader will need to buy physical products, find out if they are available in the target country. Having to order them internationally and pay not only shipping charges but also customs duties may be a deterrent for the reader, who may then request a refund for his purchase of your product. Make sure the approximate prices of such materials are reflected in your text.
5) Text refers only to English-language cultures. When quoting studies, for example, try to include some that are from the target-language culture. This makes your material easier to identify with. If you only refer to, for example, studies done in the American market, depending on the subject, your reader may feel he is not being addressed and may be less likely to want to keep your product. This is a small psychological barrier that can be potentially dangerous for your sales.
6) Linking only to English-language websites within the text. Be aware that many readers won’t be able to read and understand English-language sites, which is frustrating for them especially if your text promises the site to provide valuable information.
7) Using photos or graphics that may be inappropriate. Check any photos or graphic materials in your product for culturally sensitive images, or ones that that don’t support your message in the target language culture. If your product is about building houses, for example, you might want to use pictures of houses from that culture. Portrayals of men and women in various stages of dress may not be acceptable to all cultures.
8) Videos within a digital product. If you use videos, these will have to be transcribed and the video either dubbed or re-filmed, using a speaker with a dialect (=pronunciation) that is acceptable to the majority of the foreign language readers. Dubbing over is the easier process but consider, where necessary, what the background of the video is and if there is potential for conflict (see point #7).
9) Conversion of measurements and monetary units. A good translator will do this but you need to make sure that those changes don’t affect your text/material in a way that you would have to re-calculate or re-write it.
Now you should be able to look at your digital product with fresh eyes. This will help you to adjust little things that you may never have thought of, in advance, before you even start to have it translated. The results will be well worth the extra effort because your foreign-language customers will feel much more “at home” with your product and much less likely to request a refund.