3 reasons why text editing makes your translated content better

Best Practices

2020-04-27-Text-Editing

You have a good product or service. You have effective writers and skilled marketers, and you always use a professional translation agency to convert your marketing content into other languages.

Even so, if you’re not editing your text properly, you may not be getting your message through well enough. Here are our three favorite reasons why text editing makes your content better.

1. TRANSLATORS AREN’T EDITORS

Translators have a hard job. They have to accurately convey the meaning of the source text in the target language, making sure that it is grammatically correct and all the terminology is accurate. It requires great skill in both languages, and it doesn’t offer much room to maneuver – translators can only translate the text they’re given; they don’t have much leeway to rewrite it.

A well-translated text is precise and accurate, and written well in the target language – but that doesn’t mean it will be perfect in all cases. Ask any translation agency and they will tell you that cultural and linguistic differences mean that what works in one language may not be best choice in the target language or for the target audience – especially for marketing content or web content.

2. LANGUAGES ARE DIFFERENT

Languages are different. Take the Finnish language, for example. Finnish relies heavily on nouns and uses the passive voice liberally, while English makes more use of verbs and shuns the passive wherever possible.

In Finnish, writers build towards their main point, encouraging you to reach the same conclusion they did. In English, writers get to the point right away, leading you by the hand through the explanation.

A general translation of a text from Finnish to English – that has not been edited – can sound dull, tedious and passive to an English ear.

"You could have the best product on the market, but if your marketing content is dull and your competitors can get their message through more effectively, you’re going to lose out."

For web content, your audience has a shorter attention span and are reading from a screen. You need to grab their attention right away. If your text is boring and awkward, your readers won’t stay to the end – there’s a whole internet out there.

This is all tricky stuff for a writer, and it’s outside the translator’s field. How do we deal with these issues? Well, our translation service uses native reviewers to ensure that the work of our translators adheres to our standards. And some customers give us instructions or guidance on what the "tone" of the translation should be, especially for texts that will be used for promotional purposes.

Large companies also sometimes have their own style guides, similar to the ones used by newspapers, for the translator to follow. However, all of these only help to improve the translated text – they do nothing to improve the source text.


Looking for other ways to improve the quality of your translated texts, while saving money at the same time? Check out our free guide to find out how!

Download our free eBook:  "5 steps to save money"


3. EDITING POLISHES YOUR CONTENT

That’s where writing and editing services come into play.

When copy-editing, a skilled speaker of the target language looks at your text after it’s been translated, rewriting and restructuring it for the language and audience – making it really say what you want it to say.

  • They replace repetition with variety.
  • They clip and trim the text, making it more effective.
  • They make your voice more dynamic.
  • They may even rearrange the structure to get your message through better.
  • In short, they polish your content until it shines.

Here’s an example:

“The implementation of the system went as planned, and we were told by the customer that the machine was started up at the proposed time and without problems.”

This is a dull and noun-heavy sentence that uses the passive voice too much.

Copy-editing might mean rewriting the sentence like this:

“We implemented the system as planned, and the customer told us that the machine started on time and without any issues.”

What do you think? Can you see why editing the text can make a difference? Now the sentence is:

  • shorter – it uses only 21 words to say the same thing as the original's 28 words
  • more active - the original sentence has a 2:1 ratio of nouns to verbs, whereas the edited sentence has a much better ratio of 1:1
  • about who, not what - we implemented, the customer told us, and the machine started

After a copy-editor has refined the translated text, it becomes much easier for your readers to understand what you are saying. The text is more dynamic, and it grabs your readers’ attention.

In a tough global marketplace, it pays to make sure your content gets your message through effectively – and writing and editing services from a professional translation agency are a sound investment.

You can read more about our translation, proofreading, and writing and editing services from our website!

Read more about our translation service