Working with uncommon languages can present various challenges. Here are our tips for success in your rare language translation project:
First: Make sure you have the right language
Some languages have dialect variations among regions or communities, there can be different names for the same language, and there can be different languages with the same name. Some languages also use various writing systems or have no official standards for their written version.
Therefore, confirm that you have selected the accurate language. The Avantpage team can help you if you are unsure. Remember, the target community for rare languages tends to be small, and confusion could lead to choosing an incorrect language.
- Tonga is an African language whereas Tongan is a Polynesian language.
- Jamaican patois exists mostly as a spoken language, there is no standardized written version.
- Kirundi/Rundi are different names for the same language.
- Azerbaijani uses Latin script in Azerbaijan, Perso-Arabic script in Iran, Cyrillic script in Russian, and Georgian script in Georgia.
Second: Identity what type of language you’re dealing with
Once you have the accurate language, find out everything you can about it.
Make sure you know what the language looks like (using Google or Omniglot), if it runs right-to-left, if the characters require a particular font, and any other relevant characteristics of the target community. With this information, you can categorize your language:
- Category A: Uncommon, but easy languages – These are rare languages that don’t have font compatibility issues and can be handled easily by your language service provider. For example: Albanian, Somali
- Category B: More common, yet problematic languages – These languages are less rare, so more resources are readily available. However, they might have issues with font compatibility, difficulties for DTP or proofing, or unreliable resources. For example: Burmese, Khmer
- Category C: Both uncommon and problematic languages – These languages are both rare and prone to issues. For example: Kosraean, Karen
Third: Secure reliable resources
Before we proceed with the project, our project manager (PM) will work on confirming linguists’ availability and giving you the best possible turn-around-time (TAT)
Note that resources for rare languages are sometimes limited, and linguists might not work with our usual computer assisted translation (CAT) tools. This might mean that some additional time may be required for the translation to be ready. If no resources are available, our PM will unfortunately have to decline the project.
Fourth: Proceed with the project and receive your translated files
Projects with rare languages will likely need more supervision from our PM. Here is a sneak peek at what’s going on from the Avantpage side:
- Our PM will make sure to communicate clear instructions so that the linguists know your expectations.
- A capable proofer will be assigned solely for your project. Our PM will also double-check their proofing before sending the file back to the linguist, to avoid unnecessary delays.
- If the project includes Desktop Publishing (DTP) needs, we will make sure that the assigned specialist has all the tools and information they need to work with the language, such as the fonts or any relevant details.
- The project will be monitored constantly in order to catch any issues on time.
- The final file will be sent to the linguist for the last check before delivery. Some languages have special rules for line breaking, and some font corruption is difficult to catch. It’s always best to have a linguist check the final result before delivery.
Helene manages Avantpage’s marketing activities. She cares for the company’s brand, content creation, and customer-facing communication. With Empathy Beyond Words, Helene thrives to assist Avantpage with its mission: to help immigrant and LEP communities achieve their American Dream through translation services.