So you would you like to publish an academic article in a foreign language journal and have it professionally translated? Here are a few tips on how to prepare your manuscript for this kind of translation.
1. Write with precision in your mother tongue
No matter how well you can write in a foreign language, you will always express yourself more precisely in your mother tongue. We therefore recommend you write your article in your own language. It is then the translator’s job not only to translate the content accurately into the required language, but also to render your article in a form appropriate to the academic culture of the target readership.
We also recommend you put your article to one side for a few days and then read it through thoroughly one more time before sending it to be translated. The more clearly and unambiguously the content is articulated, the more precise the translated version of your paper will be.
2. Hand in a complete text
Incorporating subsequent changes into an existing translation can be arduous and easily lead to confusion. To guarantee the best possible quality, the translator should translate the complete text in one go – this means it will also come across as coherent. If at all possible, you should therefore send us the entire article all at once, and ideally not in several parts.
3. Provide terminological resources
Even though our translators already have a doctorate in one of the social sciences or humanities, every academic subdiscipline is a world of its own. So, if you have any to hand, please send us terminological resources for your specialist field, glossaries, articles on the same subject in the source or target language, or links to useful websites. This knowledge transfer will make our work and research significantly easier, which means you are bound to receive fewer queries from us.
4. Give us information on your readership or audience
Tell us whether your text is to be published in a academic volume or as popular science literature. Perhaps you actually need it for a talk? It is important to have this information when translating. This is because the translator must adapt the text linguistically and culturally, for example, by coming up with suitable anecdotes or jokes that will work in a presentation given in the country of the target language, or by drastically shortening sentences.
5. Send editable graphics
If your article contains diagrams or tables, these should be sent in an editable format. The translator must either (for complicated representations) translate diagrams and tables in image format underneath as unformatted text or (for simple representations) recreate them altogether. Ultimately, this means more work for you. If the graphics are accessible, we can translate directly into them.
6. Define the citation format
The citation format depends on both the language area and the publisher’s guidelines. Should “Bourdieu 1997” be inserted directly into the text or as a footnote? Should the title of the quoted book then be cited in full? Moreover, what should the bibliography look like? Give us concrete examples, provide us with the publisher’s specifications, or simply tell us whether APA or MLA guidelines should be followed. If you do so, you will save yourself subsequent corrections.
7. Allow time for queries
You should not set the translation deadline for the eve of your own submission deadline, as the translator will have queries for you both during and on completion of his/her work. This process can be relatively time-consuming and should on no account be neglected.
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