The Right Voice-Over Narrator for Audiobooks
02/08/2022

How to Find the Right Voice-Over Narrator for Audiobooks

Anyone who likes to hit the treadmill or who frequently gets stuck in bumper to bumper traffic is probably familiar with the ease and convenience of audiobooks. Listening to books is a great way to squeeze in a little recreation time while folding laundry or wrapping up mindless work tasks. 

It’s easy to see why audiobooks have grown so much in popularity in recent years. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, audiobook sales rose by 28.8% and in 2016, 24% of Americans listened to at least one audiobook, which was an increase from the 22% of people who reported doing so in 2015. 

With so much interest in audiobooks growing over the years, this leaves a lot of room for authors and publishing houses to benefit from this trend. Almost any book has the potential to become an audiobook, but for it to be effective, it has to be done well. There’s a lot more to making a good audiobook than just reading it out loud. The voice-over narrator in particular plays a key role in the success of an audiobook. 

Skills Audiobook Narrators Need

The bulk of the audiobook experience for the reader centers around the narrator, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced narrator who is up to the task. These are some of the skills you should look for when hiring an audiobook narrator. 

  • Acting ability. A good narrator doesn’t simply read text, they act it out. When someone narrates an audiobook, they need to embody different characters and be able to authentically relay their stories. Having a background in acting can make accomplishing this task much easier. 
  • Voice abilities. To differentiate between characters, the narrator will need to alter their voice, to make it clear which character is speaking. They may even need to adapt accents or speak in different dialects. While no listener expects one narrator to completely change their voice for each character, they won’t be able to follow the story if the narrator doesn’t use a variety of voices. 
  • Stamina. Narration is a tiring task and one that requires stamina and a decent amount of breath control. Recording days can be long and tiring, so you’ll want to work with a narrator who is experienced working on these types of projects and who knows what to expect during a day of recording. 
  • Research. A narrator who is also a good researcher will be most effective at their job. The whole process will go a lot smoother if the narrator does some leg work and reviews the text in advance to confirm they know how to pronounce all the words. That way, they won’t stumble through the narration any time a new name or place they haven’t heard of before comes up in the text. 

How to Find the Right Narrator

To find the right narrator for an audio project, it’s important to compare work samples of any narrators you’re considering for the job. Here’s a few things you should pay attention to when reviewing those audio samples. 

  • Their voice. This seems like a no-brainer, but the narrator has to have the right voice for the project. No matter how good they are at their job, sometimes they may sound too young or too old for a role. They may have a flair for the dramatic or pronounce words in a specific way that doesn’t work for the tone of the book. Pay close attention to their voice to get a gauge if they can help your specific text come to life.
  • Their speed. How fast do they speak? Do they speak too fast for anyone to understand? Or too slow to keep the audience’s attention?
  • Their equipment and surroundings. If your narrator will be recording the audiobook using their own equipment in their own recording space, make sure you pay close attention to background sounds, echos, and other factors that can be influenced by their location or technology. 

Every book (or audiobook) is unique, which is why it’s only logical to be in doubt about what narrator to choose. If you’re about to embark on a project like this one, feel free to reach out to the Terra team and get advice and suggestions for your specific project. The last thing you want is for a great story to fall flat because the narrator wasn’t the right fit!

Why-is-it-important-that-the-translator-has-a-translation-degree-or-certification
12/07/2022

Why is it important that the translator has a translation degree or certification?

The translation industry is made up of talented translators that hail from a variety of backgrounds. While some translators have earned a translation degree or certification, many other translators haven’t pursued a formal translation education. This begs the question, why isn’t there a set education standard in the translation industry? And is it important for translators to have a translation degree or certification? Let’s investigate.

Global Standards Vary

The translation industry is a global industry and one of the reasons that translators can have differing educational experiences is because every country has their own unique set of academic standards. In some countries you can attend a university and earn your translation degree after four or five years of study. In other countries, the universities may not offer an equivalent degree, but you may be able to take short translation courses focused on specific fields . Some countries only have translation associations that offer certifications like ATA. Point being, the education opportunities and therefore the hiring standards to become a translator, can vary greatly depending on where a translator lives. 

Why Do Translation Degrees and Certifications Have Value?

A translation degree or certification illustrates that a translator has the knowledge necessary to do translation work and do it well. This is especially helpful for those who are new in their career without much work experience under their belt. While some translators learn the necessary skills to do this job on their own through a lot of practice, not having credentials to account for what they know can create a roadblock for them. 

Pursuing a translation degree or certification plays an important role in learning how to work as a translator and how to create a linguistically and culturally accurate message. Some people believe being bilingual is enough to become a translator, but in reality being bilingual does not ensure that you have the skills necessary to be an accurate translator who can tackle all the important aspects of communication in both languages. 

The Benefits of Extending Education

Translators tend to be curious creatures, or at least in an ideal situation, they should be. A good translator must always be learning about new tools and reading about the latest developments in their fields of expertise. Some translators, after obtaining their degree in translation, go on to earn a degree in finance, the arts, history, or another subject relevant to their expertise. This desire to continue their education shows how committed a professional translator can be to delivering a top quality service.

What Employers and Clients Need to Know

To be on the safe side, always work with people who have become experts in the translation of specific language combinations through extensive studies. We know that literally everything can be translated, but not every translation has the same impact. There are fields that are very sensitive, such as those that have anything to do with health, security, and law. When it comes to the legal industry, some documents require a certified translation and having credentials is a requirement not an option. Certain industries allow no room for error, so working with a professional with vast linguistic and subject matter knowledge and experience is always your best bet. It’s worth noting that for some language combinations, there are no official certifications or academic programs available, so it’s important to do your research before hiring to be aware of what standards your candidate can realistically meet.


What is proofreading and why is it necessary in translation?
26/04/2022

What is proofreading and why is it a necessary step in translation?

Every translator and translation team has their own process in place for delivering what they feel is top quality work. While some translators follow a two-part process that involves translation and proofreading, at Terra Translations we suggest a three step process that includes editing. At first glance, editing and proofreading may seem somewhat redundant, so let’s look at why that isn’t the case, how these steps vary, and why proofreading is such a necessary step in the translation process. 

The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading

The point of undergoing both editing and proofreading is to ensure accuracy and create a quality translation, so it’s not surprising that many people use these terms interchangeably. However, there is a difference between editing and proofreading, and they should be treated as separate activities. 

Editing is when you execute changes to the translation and make suggestions to improve the overall quality of the product. Ideally, editing will lead to the translation becoming more consistent, sharper, and error free. An editor typically takes on the following responsibilities: 

  • Doing a bilingual review between the original text and the translated version
  • Identifying and correcting any translation errors
  • Pointing out inconsistencies and adjusting to better suit market and audience needs
  • Ensuring the correct use of language
  • Confirming that the translated message is conveyed correctly in regards to both language and culture
  • Double check that the style is correct and make suggestions to improve it

Proofreading focuses on correcting any superficial errors in the translated content, such as spelling or grammar errors, formatting, punctuation, or syntax. The proofreading process begins once you have a potential “final” version of the content to work with. As this is the final step of the process, the proofreader should read the text and try to make sense of it as if they themselves were the target audience. This is especially helpful as they are the final pair of eyes on the content before submission to the client or publication.

The Importance of Proofreading

Proofreading is such an important step because during translation and editing, your original text can undergo many variations as it is reworded into a different language. When translating, the goal is not to translate word by word but to think how the same message would be said in the target language. During this process, translators may copy structures seen in the source language unintentionally and when the editor is fixing issues like this, they may introduce unintentional mistakes such as typos, double spaces, a missing word, repeated articles, and misplaced commas. These are the type of mistakes that ideally a proofreader will spot and fix.

Proofreading is a valuable step in the translation process and helps lead to an error-free translation product that illustrates how carefully translated the work is and what high quality work the translator does. 

When Should You Proofread?

The proofreading step should be the last part of your quality assurance process. You won’t dive as deep during proofreading as you did during editing. Proofreading gives you a fresh opportunity to catch any mistakes not found in the editing stage and as you’re more focused on looking for superficial errors than making massive changes to the language and expression, it can be easier to catch small errors such as grammatical or spelling ones. 

Ideally, you’ll have a second translator carry out the editing and a third translator take care of the proofreading process, as a fresh set of eyes can more easily spot errors that the first translator and editor may have overlooked. Proofreading is a challenging task and it can be tempting to make changes relating to personal preference, but at that stage the translator should focus on just fixing mistakes and syntax issues.

Should you hire a freelance translator or translation company?
09/02/2022

Should You Hire a Freelance Translator or a Translation Company?

If you find yourself needing a translator, you may be wondering if you should work with a freelance translator or a translation company. There is no clear-cut answer to this question, because both options have some really amazing benefits for you to consider. That being said, there are reasons why one option may be better for you than the other. Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like to work with freelancers or a translation company so you can make the right call for your business. 

Working with Freelancers

Freelance translators can be very helpful and valuable when translation services are required. If you need the translation of a very technical or specialized subject matter, it makes sense to go to the expert. Chances are, there’s a great freelancer out there who can fit your language, culture, and industry needs, no matter how niche they are. 

Freelancers are known for putting in a lot of effort to keep their clients happy and don’t shy away from hard work. For example, if you need a certified translation of a legal document, when you work with a freelance translator who specializes in legal documents, they will work very closely with you to make sure the documents that require translation (birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic certificates, etc.) are not an obstacle towards getting a scholarship or your dream job abroad.

Despite the many benefits of working with a freelance translator, sometimes you might need more than they can provide. You may have a project on your hands that is on the more complex side and that requires many steps that would be better handled by a translation company

Here are some examples of when a workload may be too much for a single freelancer to handle. A brochure may require a DTP step at the end. Marketing campaign materials could require a back translation performed by a different linguist. If the materials are for publication, then you probably need a translation, editing, and proofreading workflow (aka the TEP process). It may also be the case that you need materials translated into several languages. 

All of these are examples of tasks that require the expertise of several different professionals. In other words, a project may require a dedicated team that can help you complete it from start to finish. The last thing you want to do is have to hire and manage multiple freelancers who will work separate from each other. A translation company will fill your project management needs and make sure the work is cohesive throughout the project. 

Working with Translation Companies

As previously noted, translation companies are experts at managing large translation projects. They can handle the whole project management process from start to finish. From the first scope analysis, to establishing the right workflow, to creating timelines, to selecting the right team of linguists, to making sure everything gets done in time.

Translation companies also employ in-house teams which ensures staff availability even when there’s a high volume project. These teams are dedicated to you and will be there for you long term. You won’t need to worry about inconsistency or new translators not knowing the specific needs or requirements of your projects.

Because of the organized processes translation companies have in place to ensure quality (such as ISO, which is a top industry standard) and the professionals they work with, they can achieve the highest quality for their customers.

Which is Right For You

We can’t make this call for you, your translation solution totally depends on your company’s needs and the specific requirements of the project. Choose carefully to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible and that you’re happy with the end product!

In-House-Translators-vs.-Freelance-Translators
01/12/2021

Pros & Cons: In-House Translators vs. Freelance Translators

Whether you crave the stability of a nine to five or like to hit the road and let the world be your office, you may find working as a linguist or translator suits your needs. While some benefit more strongly from being in-house or working as a freelancer, there are some pretty solid pros for translators considering either option. Of course, there are a few downsides we’ll cover too, but let’s try to keep things positive!

In-House Translators

Working as an in-house translator is probably a bit easier to picture for most as many have held full-time in-house positions before. 

Pros

  • Fixed income. One of the main perks of working in-house is the income stability it provides. You know exactly how much money you’re going to earn each year and have consistent paychecks coming in. You’ll also qualify for unemployment in the event you do lose your job, which can be trickier for freelancers to obtain. 
  • Benefits. In-house employees typically have access to benefits that freelancers don’t such as healthcare, retirement, paid vacation, and more. 
  • Convenience. When you work in-house, there is no need to worry about the logistics of running a freelance business. There are other employees that will handle things like accounting, marketing, and looking for new clients.
  • Teamwork. You can rely on a team of peers to help you complete big projects. There’s no need to wear all the hats, which freelancers often have to do. When you need to take time off, ideally there will be someone there to cover your workload. And if you need help with a tricky project, you should have teammates you can lean on. You can learn from each other and grow together. 
  • Professional development. Typically in-house employees receive valuable training from those who are further along in their careers. Many companies invest in employee professional development on an ongoing basis. The company may offer to send you to conferences, to pay for educational resources, and to train you in new skillsets.

Cons

  • Less flexibility. Some in-house employees may have to work in a specific office each day at an agreed upon schedule. Not to mention, there are dress codes and other office rules to worry about. That being said, while most in-house translators used to work in a company office, nowadays it’s very common for them to work from home.
  • Cap on earnings. While working in-house provides stability, in many ways you have less control over your earnings. Freelancers have lows, but they can also have major highs. 
  • Less autonomy. When in-house, you typically have to do as you’re told. You may have little control over what types of projects you work on and might have to follow company protocols.

Freelance Translators

If you haven’t worked as a freelancer before, it can be hard to picture what that career path looks like. There are some major benefits of freelancing worth considering, but there are also some downsides that not everyone is ready to handle. 

Pros

  • Ultimate flexibility. Want to work by the seaside today and in a mountain cabin tomorrow? No problem. Are you a night owl who does your best work when everyone else is asleep? Good for you. Don’t like a client or aren’t interested in certain types of projects? Send them packing. As a freelancer you’ll be able to decide when and where you work, who you work with, and what your vacation schedule looks like. 
  • You’re the boss. Freelancing is essentially running a very small business of one. You’re a business owner, even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside, which means you get to do things your way. 
  • Earning potential. Freelancers get a bad rap as being “underemployed” at times, but many freelancers can tell you that when you’re retaining the whole profit from a project (and your company isn’t taking a cut) that your income can soar. You get to set your rates and can choose to only take on projects that work for your budget. 

Cons

  • Stability not guaranteed. Working as a freelancer provides a lot of excitement and the wins can feel really big since they’re all your own, but a stable income is not guaranteed. This can be challenging for people on a tight budget or who have a family to support. 
  • No benefits. You’ll have to purchase your own benefits and accept that there is no such things as a paid vacation anymore. It’s important to remember to aim to make more than you would in-house in order to pay for benefits yourself. 
  • Loneliness. Working as a freelancer can be lonely at times. If no one else in your household works from home or if you live alone, you may find you have a lot of solitude on your hands. The lack of teamwork can also feel very isolating. 
  • Out of pocket expenses. Office supplies, computers, and professional development will all have to come out of your pocket which can sting a bit.

The Takeaway

There is no “better” option here. Both in-house and freelance translators have some major perks to look forward to. At Terra, we employ in-house linguists as well as collaborate with freelancers. So whatever your preferences are, we can work together. The key is to find which is the best fit for your goals, personality, and lifestyle!

Native Translators vs Non-Native Translators
20/01/2021

Native Translators vs Non-Native Translators

While both native translators and non-native translators have valuable skill sets, native translators often have the upper hand on non-native translators thanks to their organic understanding of the target language and culture. A native translator translates source text into their mother tongue. They have extensive knowledge of a secondary language from which they translate into their first language. A non-native translator is one that translates from their mother language into a secondary language, which they have extensive knowledge of.

Keep reading to learn about the key differences between working with native translators and non-native translators. 

Writing Skills 

While reading the source copy, a native translator will be able to infer the meaning easily enough and will know when they need to do research to complete their understanding of the text. If you flip the table though and expect them to translate content from their native language to a secondary language, this is where they may fall behind a native translator of the target language. 

For example, if a German translator is translating Russian text (their secondary language) into German (their first language), they can understand the text easily enough because of their extensive knowledge of the second language and can do more research as necessary. If, in turn, they needed to translate text from German to Russian, their job would become a lot more difficult. They could fall behind a translator who is Russian and a native translator of the target language.

A native translator will be less likely to make grammar mistakes or overly complicate their grammar use in their native language. Proper sentence flow comes so much more naturally in your native tongue, which is what you’ll want the reader to experience. In addition, native translators can create more complex written content and will have more opportunities to use the best possible word choices. It’s important to note that some non-native linguists have years of experience gained from living many years in another country using the second language and can have a proficient use of the second language. 

Cultural Knowledge

Knowledge of culture plays an important role in both translation and transcreation. Especially when it comes to forms of content that rely heavily on cultural references such as entertainment subtitles or marketing campaigns. When conveying or adapting cultural elements in translation, once again, native translators have an advantage as they can cater to the target audience with their organic knowledge. References relating to politics, movies, current events, and common jokes are all useful cultural aspects available to native speakers. This is especially true when it comes to dialect choices.

Because a language can have various dialects often associated with physical locations, a native translator will usually be aware of relevant dialect choices that a fluent, but non-native translator won’t be privy to. A simple example of how dialect can vary is seen in the United States where the use of English is modified by region. For example, Midwestern residents refer to “soda” as “pop”, whereas someone on the West or East Coast would never call a soda a pop. A literal translation while technically correct may not be as accurately expressive as a non-literal translation by someone with regional expertise.

Creative Potential

For both translation and transcreation, creativity is often necessary to do the job most effectively. A native translator can often assist with translating humor and cultural references that would fall flat if translated literally. Marketing materials are a prime example of where creativity can shine. When trying to sell a product to a new culture, a native translator will be more aware of what could potentially offend that culture, what they will find funny, or what they will relate to. Not to mention language devices like rhyming, idioms, and alliteration will be much more attainable by a native translator, leaving the native translator with more creative opportunities. 
At Terra Translation, our translators are native speakers of the target language. We follow the standards, set by ISO 17100 in which we have certification. This standard, for translation services requirements, states that translation work should be completed by a professional translator translating source text into their native language.

06/10/2020

How to Choose the Best Translator for your Project

Many industries and businesses across the world use translators every day to break down borders and expand their reach. If you find that you too need to hire a translator for a project, there are a few considerations you’ll want to take first. Keep reading for our expert breakdown on how to choose the best translator for your project. By prioritizing these qualities and strategies, you’ll find yourself the perfect translator in no time. 

Choose the Right Native Speaker

What do we mean by choosing the right native speaker? Well, it’s important that the translator you work with is a native speaker specifically in the language you are translating into. As they have an organic understanding of the language they are translating for, their translations will sound more natural. It is possible for translators to achieve fluency in languages that aren’t their native tongue, but you’ll generally find that native speakers do the best work. 

It is worth nothing, though, that if the language you’re working in varies between countries (such as how Spanish in Mexico differs from Spanish spoken in other Latin American countries), you’ll want to not only use a native speaker, but a translator that has country specific expertise. 

Typically when you translate from non-native language to native language, you are more likely to have accurate text as it’s easier for translators to understand ideas that are written in a foreign language and in turn express that meaning in their native language.

Training and Experience is a Must

To start, your translator should have a translation degree or certification. Although there are plenty of translators without formal translation degrees who can do a good job, choosing to work with a professional who has formal training and job experience is your safest option. You can expect them to do a better job and have industry expertise that can help you avoid mistakes, such as knowing if your translation needs to be certified or not. 

Similar to how you want to work with a native speaker, you’ll want to work with a translator who specializes in your specific topic, such as medical translation or video game localization. Doing so will mean that the translator is aware of complex industry terms and knows the best way to tackle your project. 

Make Sure They Have a Large Tool Kit 

Translation software offers many benefits such as saving time and minimizing mistakes. Your translator should be familiar with using a variety of software localization or translation tools. While it would be ideal if they have experience with your tools of choice, it is not necessary if they already have a general familiarity with these types of tools and are willing to learn to use a new platform.

Be Realistic with Your Deadlines

If you want your translator to do the best job possible, don’t expect them to meet unrealistic deadlines. If you don’t give them ample time to research, review important references, or make room for questions to help bring clarity, then their work will suffer. If a translator offers an unreasonably quick turnaround, you may want to get a second opinion on how long the project should take. It is best to choose a translator who is honest about how much time your project will take to execute properly.

In-House Review Team
24/09/2019

3 Reasons to Work with an In-House Team of Reviewers

We live in a world of options. Thanks to technology, you can employ almost anyone from around the world to help your business succeed. Between freelancers, consultants, and services firms, your options are nearly unlimited. The global appeal is obvious when you need translation services, but you should carefully evaluate your options. Working with freelance translators and reviewers may seem cost effective, however, a few considerations should be made in order to prevent further costs down the line. On the other hand, if you choose to work with a language service provider like Terra, you can benefit from an in-house team of reviewers. They can maintain consistency and guarantee the highest quality throughout all your projects. Here are three reasons to consider an in-house team of reviewers:

1. Maintain a consistent voice, tone, and style

An in-house team of reviewers can ensure that your brand’s voice, tone, and style always remain consistent. Having reviewers in house can improve quality assurance and can work towards maintaining the brand’s voice in a consistent way. If multiple linguists tackle a large-volume project, in-house reviewers can properly relay a brand’s voice and style. 

One way you can assist your in-house reviewers and outside translators maintain brand standards is to utilize a style guide. Before the first translation project with a client begins, a project manager will ask the client for their style preference. This can include things like capitalization, date format, number formats, etc. An in-house team of reviewers can help create and maintain a style guide. 

The style guide should outline grammar, spelling, punctuation, and tone. Plus, any other style elements or rules necessary to maintain a brand’s image and quality. A style guide can lessen mistakes and inconsistencies, as well as speed up the translation process. Certain industries may want a style guide that includes rules about ethics or compliance. Terms that are labeled DNT (do not translate) or terms that can’t be used in translation due to legal consequences may also be included. They may also provide a language glossary or termbase

2. Manage your industry-specific terminology

Every industry has important jargon that requires some level of expert knowledge to understand and master. When you work with an in-house team of reviewers, you can ensure that all terms are translated the same way. Terms such as product names, slogans, parts, ingredients, and medications, and any words that appear frequently on things such as labels or user interfaces. Consistency helps avoid mistakes and confusions. Which is key in providing value to your consumers. Not to mention, this ability to master terminology can save time and stress associated with fixing mistakes. 

An in-house team of reviewers will work to create glossaries and termbases that will manage industry-specific terminology. They will also implement these terms consistently. Being able to reference a glossary or termbase allows translators to work faster. They can verify their work quicker when having a trustworthy source for terminology to reference. 

3. Build Trust

Working with an in-house team of reviewers improves consistency not only on a translation level, but in your workflow process. Because you’re working with the same team consistently, the linguists won’t vary from project to project. The in-house team of linguists will be able to maintain alignment with your preferences and can become true partners. 

Often, clients work with different vendors in order to meet a tight deadline or satisfy demand. Using different linguists to do so can not only damage the quality of translations, but your credibility in the eyes of the consumer. Clients who work with an in-house team of reviewers, such as Terra’s, are able to develop a close collaborative relationship. Essentially, you’ll receive the benefit of having your own in-house team of translators and reviewers, without the cost. Terra guarantees that all of our clients will work with the same team, to maintain both quality and trust.