In our globalized economy, your content marketing strategy may start to encompass different world markets and languages. Over the years, more and more of my clients are starting to translate their product and marketing materials into Spanish in order to expand their services to the Hispanic market, both within and outside of the United States. The process can be hard to navigate at first, especially when trying to choose the right translator.

Good translators are hard to find. It’s not an easy skill. In fact, translation can be really difficult. Languages are not an exact science, and there’s no secret code that magically puts all the words, sentences and paragraphs into place perfectly to create a smooth read. Direct translations often sound choppy and forced, so good translators must finesse a text to read as though it were originally written in Spanish. Translations take some time and skill, and that’s why it’s important to choose the right translator for your project.

Choose Certified Translators

One of the most common mistakes that companies make is hiring native Spanish speakers without formal written or translation training. The truth is that just because someone can have conversations in Spanish doesn’t mean that they have been trained to write or translate professional materials. Don’t assume that a person’s verbal Spanish ability will also apply to their written ability.

The art of translation is so difficult that many translators go to extra schooling in order to become certified, especially if the subject matter is technical. Those certified translators are your best bet.
If certified translators are too expensive for your budget, search for the next best thing with experienced translators, even if they aren’t certified. Ask for a sample of their work and/or references from past clients. (If no one in your company can speak or read Spanish, hire a copy editor like me to give feedback!)

Know Your Reader

Think about American vs. British English. We both speak the same language, but there are often different idioms, spellings and even vocabulary. (Fun fact: Aubergine is one of my favorite British words!)

Spanish is the same way. While there is arguably a professional standard way to write, it would be helpful to know who your target readers are. If your Spanish-speaking audience comes mainly from a Mexican-influenced Spanish, consider choosing a translator and copy editor with experience with Mexican Spanish to better relate to the reader.

Copy Editors are Key

Two sets of eyes are always better than one. When you write customer-facing material in English, don’t you always get a second set of eyes to proofread? If your answer isn’t a solid yes, then let’s talk!

Proper grammar and spelling are crucial to your professional image. You want to create content that contributes to your brand reputation and doesn’t take away from it. The same is true for Spanish materials. Once a translator has finished a piece, find a quality copy editor to make sure there are no grammatical issues, the brand voice is clear and consistent, and it’s up to par with the quality marketing and communications that you always send out.

If you aren’t sure where to find a copy editor, look no further! I’d be happy to talk about your Spanish translation projects and make sure they all adhere to the highest standards that you deserve.