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Translation Resources


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This document will take you through the steps to create a successful translatable voice-over narration.

This document will take you through the steps to create a successful translatable voice-over narration.

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  • 1. T R A N S L AT I O N R E S O U R C E S
  • 2. TRANSLATION RESOURCES Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates 11639 E. Wethersfield Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85259 USA Phone: 480-614-8440 Toll-free: 877-614-8440 Fax: 480-614-2775 Copyright © 2008 Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates. All rights reserved.2Page
  • 3. TRANSLATION RESOURCESA S U C C E S S F U L V O I C E - O V E R N A R R AT I O N I S T H ER E S U LT O F S E V E R A L D I S T I N C T S T E P S : 1. The English narrative must be written for translation. 2. The English narrative must be translated into the target language. 3. The voice-over must be created in a studio. 4. The voice-over must be integrated into the training software.To evaluate and price the services you need, you can: 1. Secure a Non-disclosure Agreement from the translation vendors you wish consider. 2. Request a Proof of Concept (one or two pages) of your sample narrative. 3. Send a word count and ask for pricing. If the company is quoting pounds or other non-USA currency, ensure you have a clear understanding of the exchange rate. You may even lock in an exchange rate. 4. Send a brief RFP to learn about potential vendors’ processes, pricing, experience in the work you desire to be completed and in your industry and typical turnaround time. List the languages you will use. In spoken languages, more than in written, there tend to be dialect differences. For example, the Spanish of Spain is different from the Spanish of the Americas. Ensure you are specific as to the target dialect or countries you are targeting for the communication. 5. Complete an agreement of services so that neither you nor the vendor is surprised by the services expected and fulfilled. 3 Page
  • 4. TRANSLATION RESOURCES The following is a short list of translation vendors currently Translation of Narrative available. There are many translation companies, and the industry is constantly in flux. Typically, a translation company will Interpro Translation have a few in-house translators and rely on a variety of contractors that are often paid around $15-20 an hour. Solutions The same contractors may be tested and under contract with several translation vendors. The range of cost per word of translation is typically 20 to 40 cents a word for first time translation, 12 cents a word for “fuzzy matches” (text that has been translated before but has somewhat changed) and 7 cents a word for repeat words. Lionbridge If you edit a document that has already been translated, using Track Changes or otherwise marking the changes Oxford Conversis Ltd. in the document will help minimize the cost of the next translation. Larger companies have greater overhead and may charge more. However, they may be able to more quickly turn Prisma projects around. Smaller companies may have a lower cost but may not meet your needs in other ways. Transware, Inc. If your organization has ongoing translation requirements, it can be cost saving to build a translation memory in a software product like Trados. This way, the text that has already been translated is not translated a second time. The software identifies the changed text for translation. The vendor will supply this third party product, and your organization will be free to move from one translation organization to another. Make sure your agreement with the translation vendor includes who owns your translation memory. You can save cost by providing the translation TTC Creative Translation vendor with a list of commonly used industry terms and their meanings, known unusual spellings or phrases and other text that may be difficult to translate. Translation companies may want you to use their in-house proprietary software memory; but, you are then tied to that translation company for some time. It is best to have flexibility and independence from a translation vendor. However, it is cost effective to use one or two vendors to realize savings in cost negotiations and have a repeatable process in place.4Page
  • 5. TRANSLATION RESOURCESThe following is a short list of voiceover vendors currently available. Creation of Voice-Over Voices 10,000 talents in over 100 If the translation vendor you choose does not do the voice-over studio work, you will need to secure a vendor for languages with 75,000 the voice-over. Vendors may have Web sites where you can listen to talent to choose the voice that will best clients worldwide. Post a represent your organization. You can post jobs, select the voice and handle QA. Voices ( has an informative video explaining how these organizations work. job, select the talent, leave a deposit and pay when you are done.Solutions Procommss Listen to voices from all over the world. Have experience in Flash, PowerPoint and related voice-overs. Voice123 Select from existing voices or post a project for pricing. Many languages. 5 Page
  • 6. TRANSLATION RESOURCES Writing for Translation Guidelines Even if there are not translation plans for your document, it is impossible to say today what might be translated tomorrow, or into what language it might be translated. Whenever you write, assume that a non-native speaker is going to have to read, understand, and translate it into another language. Follow good writing practices • Write clearly. Use simple sentence structures. • Limit the number of nouns that qualify a noun. • Repeat nouns instead of using backward-pointing pronouns like “it,” “they,” “this” or “these.” • Put phrases as close as possible to the nouns that they modify. • Avoid an informal style, such as slang or clichés. • Avoid contractions, such as: we’ll, havent, wont, arent, we’d, it’s, she’s, he’ll, etc. • Avoid long strings of nouns. Reorganize sentences to include articles and prepositions that make the meaning clearer. • Avoid gerunds (nouns derived from progressive verb forms) in sentences; it can be unclear whether to translate them as nouns or verbs. • Avoid use of auxiliary verbs such as "shall be", "may be", "may have", and "should be." • Be careful when using adverbs such as "when", "while", and "where", because they can have many meanings, some of which are contradictory and can lead to incorrect translations. • Ensure spelling and grammar is correct.6Page
  • 7. TRANSLATION RESOURCESPay attention to dates and numbers • Use the standard American format of commas as the thousands separator and periods as the decimal separator. The translator can localize the number. • When translating numbers, be alert to potential differences in meaning. The word "billion" means "one thousand million" in the United States, but in other countries can mean what Americans refer to as a "trillion." • Avoid using the short forms of dates. The order in which the date is given varies from country to country and could be interpreted incorrectly. The date "1/2/2001", for example, could be translated as January 2nd or February 1st. Spell out the month (abbreviating if necessary) and place it first. Do not use ordinal numbers (January 2nd); use cardinal numbers instead (January 2).Optimize translation output • Do not use telegraphic writing: Telegraphic writing is a terse form of English in which articles, prepositions, and other small words are omitted in order to reduce word count. Omitting these words makes the translation process more difficult. For example, the phrase "Empty file" could be interpreted as "This file is empty", "Empty the file", or "An empty file." • Use consistent language: Pick a single word to describe a single concept, and use that word every time, even if it seems monotonous. • Use an article or a descriptor to clarify the part of speech of a word. • Include relative pronouns even when they are not required. • Write list items as complete clauses or complete sentences. • Include the article in lists of nouns or noun phrases. • Minimize ambiguity. Avoid homographs. • Use words with their primary dictionary meaning. 7 Page
  • 8. TRANSLATION RESOURCES Be aware of differences in written graphics and metaphors • There are cultural differences in graphics and metaphors. For example "wizards" are called "assistants" in some countries. A mailbox icon used to represent e-mail might not make sense to readers in a region where mailboxes look different from the ones the author had in mind. • Scenarios used as examples must be globally understood. Using a gourmet food company as a scenario for a demonstration, for example, would seem very strange in countries where luxury goods are not common.8Page
  • 9. TRANSLATION RESOURCESUse recommended punctuation and formatting • Always use commas correctly in coordinate phrases and clauses. • Add two spaces after a full stop or a colon. Add one space after a comma or semicolon. • Use a combination of punctuation, capitalization and font to identify a name such as an object name or a function. • Do not use a dash as a punctuation mark. • Avoid using a slash (/) for alternate values. • Separate subordinate phrases and clauses from the main clause with commas. • Hyphenate word phrases that modify or qualify other words. • In cases where the absence of a hyphen could lead to confusion, one should be included. • Use parentheses sparingly, and only when the enclosed material is independent of the meaning for the sentence. • Do not break up heading or introductory sentences over table boundaries or into lists, as these may require significant rewriting by the translators when the structure of the sentence changes in another language.Exploit product features • Tag text that should not be translated. 9 Page
  • 10. TRANSLATION RESOURCES Review Form Please rate each vendor on a scale of 1 to 5: Proof of Concept Reviewer Form Unacceptable If you send several pages for a Proof of Concept to translation or voice-over vendors, use this review form to summarize the Adequate results. In-house or third party multi-lingual staff is typically Average used to review a Proof of Concept. Excellent Outstanding Company Content Grammar Punctuation Localization Formatting Notes accuracy10Page
  • 11. TRANSLATION RESOURCESNarration Scripting GuidelinesThere are many styles of voice scripts. The bias in this document, however, is toward corporate presentations, technical narration, promotional videos,and instructional / interactive tutorials.Document FormatDeliver scripts for voice talent electronically using a standardWindows program like Microsoft Word. If using a database or otherword processing program, convert to a Windows .TXT file. Use thefollowing standards: • Font Size - 14 or 18 point • Font Style - Arial or Helvetica • Sentence case 11 Page
  • 12. TRANSLATION RESOURCES Character Descriptions Actors When describing actors, remember the big three characteristics: gender, age and ethnicity and/or nationality. It is not prejudice to mention these items in the script; it is just the opposite. By identifying the characters in this way, the writer can insure an equitable and fair mix of those three characteristics. Dialog/Narration Dialog is a script written to be performed by a character in a production (for example, a conversation between two employees or a customer talking to the camera). Narration is a script written to be performed by a narrator. Usually the narrator is just a friendly voice welcoming, explaining and directing the user. A narrator whose likeness actually appears in the program is called a host, presenter or stand-up. When writing a script containing dialog and narration, it is important to make clear who is speaking. Ambiguous statements like "someone at the table" slow down the production and should not be used. In a long-form linear presentation, start each line of script with the speakers name and leave a blank line between each different speaker. For example: (Mary) Where is Bob? (Jim) He is not here yet. (Mary) Oh, there he is now! (Bob) Hi everyone! (Narrator) Do not be late like Bob.12Page
  • 13. TRANSLATION RESOURCESQuotes are not necessary in the storyboard type format. When the only speaker in a production is the narrator, it is not necessary to include the wordnarrator at all. Additionally, interactive or segmented productions may require a different file for each line of script or for a grouping. Always precedethe script with the file name. The file name should appear on a line by itself without any punctuation or special treatment other than possibly bolding. Itis not necessary to leave a space between the file name and the first line of the script. For example: 1013 (Mary) Where is Bob? (Jim) He is not here yet. 1015 (Mary) Oh, there he is now! (Bob) Hi everyone! 1020 (Narrator) Do not be late like Bob. The most important thing to remember about scripting dialog and narration is to remember that you are writing something that will be heard by the user not read. It is not as important to spell things properly as it is to spell things in a way that makes the pronunciation very clear for the narrator. 13 Page
  • 14. TRANSLATION RESOURCES Punctuation and Pronunciation Identify how acronyms should be pronounced in the audio script. For example: UNICEF is pronounced “you-neh-sef” as opposed to spelled out as U-N-I-C-E-F. Identify how names, terms or company-specific terminology should be pronounced in the audio script. Use tools such as the Merriam-Webster online dictionary to provide audio examples of how a term should be pronounced. For example, click the red audio icon next to the term Linoleic Acid: Punctuation Use proper punctuation. This is important since it can change the meaning of a sentence. Military-Speak The military loves to leave out words in their technical manuals. A phrase like “Open the battery compartment” becomes “Open battery compartment.” When writing narration while extracting information from manuals it’s very easy to fall into that style. It does not, however, sound good when spoken out loud by a narrator. Narrators typically try to speak in a friendly, but knowledgeable manner. The military and government also love acronyms. Abbreviations frequently become words. The Antisubmarine Warfare Command School might appear in narration as ASWCS. In reality it is pronounced “as wicks,” so “as- wicks” should be substituted for ASWCS or put in parentheses immediately after ASWCS. Remember, you are writing for the narrator; you are not writing a document to be read by the user. It is not necessary to put the actual correct appearing acronym in the text, only the correct pronunciation.14Page
  • 15. TRANSLATION RESOURCESOther Conventions • Parentheses should only be used for character identification and notes to the narrator on pronunciation. Unlike text the narrator does not read out loud, both the word and pronunciation. So the phrase “…the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)...” should be written “…the Department of Motor Vehicles or D>M>V….” • Abbreviations: Separating characters are used to indicate letter and number pronunciation. The DMV should be spelled D>M>V. • Never use the abbreviation “i.e.”, instead write out the sentence another way or use the phrase “for example.” • Never use the trailing “(s)” to indicate singular or plural (for example, “consult the necessary manual(s)…”). Instead write it a different way or write “manual or manuals”. Remember you are writing words that someone has to say out loud not just comprehend in their mind. • The pronunciation of unusual words or words that are unique to the program should be written in simplified or phonetic form in place of the actual word or in parentheses immediately after the word. Special pronunciation marks are difficult to use in word processing programs and are easily mispronounced. For example, “…liquid oxygen is held in a cryo (cry-oh) tank…” • Numbers are very tricky. 1040 could be one thousand and forty, one thousand forty, ten forty, or even one zero four zero or one oh four oh. So the phrase “ten forty” should be written 10-40. Please do not write numbers out (for example, twelve thousand twenty one hundred seventeen). The former number could easily be written out in the script as 12000-21-hundred-17 or 12,000-20-100-17.Lists • Etc: People don’t generally say “etcetera” when they talk, so avoid “etc.” in your Do this… Not this… scripts as well. • Lists: If including a list in your narration, do not include list numbers unless you The forward hatch, 1. The Forward Hatch want the narrator to read them. Don’t forget the word “and,” and include it at the 2. The Flight Deck beginning of the last item rather than on the end of the next to last item. The flight deck, 3. The Cargo Bay And the cargo bay. 15 Page
  • 16. TRANSLATION RESOURCES Remember, even if there are no current translation plans for your documents, it is impossible to say today what might be translated tomorrow, or into what language it might be translated. Whenever you write, assume that a non-native speaker is going to have to read, understand, and translate it into another language. Is your organization in need of assistance with audio narration or translation for a current or upcoming project? Our team of expert consultants is here to help you sift through the many translation vendors, evaluate and price the services you need, and ensure a successful voice-over narration outcome. Michaels & Associates – this is where the learning starts to get awesome. toll-free: 877-614-844016Page