Package Insert 36
Interesting facts and figures for customers and partners of mt-g.
February 2016
Tips from our specialists
Optimising source documents for translation – Part 3: Writing in a consistent way
To save time and money and at the same time receive consistent, high-quality translations. These are some of the reasons why our customers choose translations produced using CAT systems. However, many people forget that the quality of the source document is also a significant factor in determining the extent to which the benefits of a CAT system can be exploited. In this part of our series Optimising source documents for translation, you will find out how you can make the most of these benefits by presenting your original documents consistently.

Technical terms
Define frequently used technical terms and specify just one correct spelling for each. Differences in spelling (for example as one instead of two words, hyphenated or unhyphenated) lead to a complete sentence not being recognised as a 100% match. Just one word written differently means that the relevant sentence will be assigned to a more expensive price bracket (85-99% matches) and will be charged accordingly.

Compound words
Just as for technical terms, the same spelling should always be used for compound words: they should either be hyphenated or not.

Abbreviations should also always be used consistently. A universally applicable list of abbreviations helps to ensure that abbreviations are used consistently across the company. Ideally, this should be based on official abbreviations such as 'e.g.', 'i.e.' etc. Some CAT systems (e.g. Across or Trados Studio) only include and automatically recognise these forms.
If different abbreviations are used, the CAT system will not be able to classify them as such and will segment the text after the punctuation mark used. The sentences in question will then always be split after the full stop used in the abbreviation. This means that these sentences will be segmented into two parts, something which the translator has to edit manually. Of course, this costs time and money.

Number formats
Depending on the CAT system used and its settings, certain number formats are recognised automatically and displayed to the translator accordingly. This includes, for example, numbers in the thousands (e.g. 10,000) or dates (e.g. 01/01/2016). If these are used differently in one or more source documents and do not match the settings in the CAT system, certain number formats will not be recognised and checked as such. Once again, the result will be inconsistent translations of these segments, requiring manual editing, which costs the translator time and the customer money.

So, the more consistently the original document is presented, the higher the quality of the translation and, in the best case scenario, the more favourably priced it will be for the customer.
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