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Barbara Jungwirth of reliable translations llc writes about language and the business of translation.

Upselling Translation Services

In a recent post on her blog Words on the Page Lori Widmer lists ways in which writers can sell additional services to existing clients (The Upsell). This had me thinking about the services technical translators could “upsell”.

  1. Editing source documents for internationalization*, so they can be more easily translated
  2. Localizing* target text for a specific country
  3. Proofreading translations for accuracy, spelling and grammar
  4. Writing original documents in Global English* based on information provided by the client
  5. Formatting the final document to match the source text formatting and fit into the allotted space (despite text expansion*)

Translators who offer 1. or 4. need to be familiar with Global English guidelines, as well as the internationalization – translation – localization process. Translators who provide 5. must own (and know how to use) the necessary desktop-publishing (DTP) software, such as InDesign. Item 2. is best performed by translators who live in the country for which they are localizing (i.e., their target language), while 3. can probably be handled by most detail-oriented professional translators.

Many translators may have one or the other of the skills I outlined, but these are often not reflected in their resume or marketing materials. While I list my presentations on writing for global audiences on my website, I don’t specifically state that I will write text in Global English. Similarly, visitors can surmise from my language combination and contact information that I live in my target language country, but this is not spelled out anywhere. And my previous career as an art director and layout person for newsletters is not mentioned at all. This is something I will correct soon, starting with my company page on LinkedIn.

* This list includes some terminology that may be unfamiliar:

  • Internationalization (i18n): removing local references in the original text
  • Localization (l10n): adapting a translation to a specific country
  • Global English: guidelines about vocabulary and grammar to be avoided
  • Text expansion: most translations will be longer than the original text

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