6 steps to an effective translation

  1. Take time to consider which languages to select for translations.

Consider which community group will most benefit from your resource, and which communities have a low rate of English proficiency.

To find out information on new arrivals in the last five years, visit: Australian Government: Settlement Reporting

For information about Victoria’s population visit: Victorian Multicultural Commission. Or visit id. population experts, build your own community profiles.

  1. Think about the best format and dissemination method for your translations.

This could be a printed flyer, an audio file or a video. The best format and dissemination will vary with each community or language group. Consider dissemination and format methods in your community consultation and factor this in.

  1. Develop a budget, time and process for your translations.

Undertaking translation is a process and should be considered a project with a budget and timelines. Discuss your needs with the translation agency first and plan your timeline by working backwards from the time it takes for a translation to be completed.

  1. Check your resource you want to translate is written in ‘plain English’’.

If you use any special terminology, explain it in the text.  Avoid figures of speech and metaphors. Use the active voice not passive voice.

  1. Find a – translator

You can find translators on the NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) and the AUSIT (Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators) websites. If you don’t find one…especially for newly-arrived communities may be harder to find a NAATI (refer to HTD website)

Using a translations agency can be useful. They can work directly with the translators, help you input the translated language into a design (known as ‘typesetting’) as well as assist with the community checking.

  1. Test your translated resource with the community

To ensure that your translation is accurate and clear, ask a sample of the target audience to check it. This can be done through a community focus group or on an individual basis.

If you need assistance with your translation, please contact us.

Related Information

Using Teach-Back via an interpreter

Not sure where to start when translating materials? This 6-step guide provides you with easy steps, which will help you produce a translated resource that is accurate and culturally appropriate.

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