Michael Meissner, Technical Director at Kreidezeit, had previously tried different ways to get his technical content translated: he’d tried friends of the company, contacted semi-professional translators who weren’t always available when he needed them, and finally contacted a local translation agency in Germany, but with disappointing results. In fact, in his own words, the agency provided the worst translations – although they were very costly, they read like something produced by Google Translate. In the end, Michael translated the company’s product information himself, feeling that, even though his own English wasn’t perfect, at least the translations would be accurate. But translating was very time-consuming and taking him away from his main responsibilities in the company, so it wasn’t a viable long-term solution. In the end, we were recommended to Michael by Mike Wye & Associates, Kreidezeit’s distributor in the UK. Michael was looking for translators who really understood and could accurately translate technical terms around the application of paints and plasters, their properties and the tools required to apply them. He wanted the translations to express the advantages of using natural paints and the company’s philosophy in an attractive, warm, honest and promotional way without being “too loud” but more with a “silent love”.
We decided to take a slightly unconventional approach for this project. Normally, both the translator and the proofreader for a given translation project will be native speakers of the target language (in this case English). However, due to the technical complexity of the product information, we decided to pair up an English native speaker with a German native speaker who had near-native English skills. We used the following process:
- The English translator carried out the translation step, undertaking the necessary research during the translation process
- The German translator then proofread the English translation, carefully checking it against the German source to ensure there were no mistranslations
- Finally, the English translator approved the changes made by the German proofreader
- Michael then reviewed the translations and provided feedback in a follow-up phone call.
“We are very proud to be working with a manufacturer that has such fantastic eco-credentials,” says Anja Jones, Managing Director at AJT. “Michael cares deeply about getting the translations just right for his customers, not just in terms of the technical details but also in terms of the tone of voice. It’s fantastic to be working directly with the person who actually created the content we translate, to have access to that kind of product knowledge. Every translation project is different and has its own particular challenges, and I feel that we have found the right approach for Kreidezeit with this four-step process.”