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The Importance of Knowing Your Audience in the Translation Process

Last updated on May 18th, 2021 at 11:15 am

A key element for an excellent translation is to know and understand the target audience, the people who will read and use the translation. The translator needs this information to communicate effectively. With that in mind, the translation service provider has to ask many questions to understand completely and accurately each client’s unique needs and expectations for a translation project. For the project to be successful in the translation process, the client must clearly identify the audience and context.

Translating ideas from one language to another is a very sensitive matter; each project has its own set of goals, and every person involved in the translation process has to be clear about those goals and expectations. With the best information at hand, the client and the translation team will be on the same page and will have the same information to work with. The main goal is for the client to give complete information, providing the translator with the social, cultural and linguistic knowledge to select the appropriate words.

Important elements that are taken into consideration when starting a translation:

  • Age of the target audience
  • Gender
  • Academic level
  • Ethnic group
  • Social group
  • Country or geographical area
  • Purpose of the translated document

Each element provides different ingredients and characteristics, and will aid the translator in conveying the message in an appropriate and sensitive way. If your company has an in-country reviewer, with extensive knowledge of the product and its audience, the reviewer should be involved in the translation process from the beginning. This role is an important resource to support the project, especially during the initial phase of establishing the target audience.

Next time you have a translation in mind, you need to think that each project is as different as its recipients and that it is vital to describe the audience in detail. Give as much information as you can to your translation team and, if possible, provide previous translations. No matter how insignificant you think the information you have is, it will surely make a difference in the end result.

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.