How to Write a Translation Brief

How to Write a Translation Brief

Where to start

In many cases, particularly with high-importance translation projects, it can be useful to fill in a briefing template before embarking on a project.

The key function of a translation brief is to make sure nothing is left to chance – you have communicated all important aspects of the translation project.  This will help the translator understand the type of content you need translated and to gather information about the intended target audience.

This all leads to an accurate and for-purpose translation outcome.

It sounds fairly straightforward, but it’s important to provide as much information as you can.  The easier you make it for your translation agency, the more accurate your translation will be.

Or in other words:

Translation Brief

What to include in your brief


The Basics

It might seem a little obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to add this information.

  • Current date
  • Project title
  • Contact person and details
  • Document format and approximate word count or pages
  • Your budget

Information on the audience and project

It’s vital that the translator knows as much as possible about the intended audience – context is key.

  • Where and how the content will be used
  • What language combinations you need
  • Describe your target audience – age, location, gender, social group etc.
  • What is the purpose of the translation?
  • What is the intended response from the audience?

Reference material

To ensure that your document translation is of a high quality, with consistent use of terminology and style throughout, it’s important to provide as much relevant reference material as you can.

  • Existing website copy is good starting point for a translator
  • Provide any previous translating examples you have, if possible
  • Examples of where the translation will be presented
  • If possible, provide your translator with contact details for the original writer
  • Competitor examples can be used if you don’t have any other reference materials

Detail about the translation

Don’t forget to add the finer details, too – there’s no such thing as too much information when you’re creating a brief.

  • Provide tone of voice specifications, if you have them
  • List any legal or cultural restrictions that could affect the translation
  • Provide a reasonable deadline
  • Preferred   document styles or delivery formats
  • Let your agency know if you’ll need additional services such as desktop publishing, voiceover or localization in the future.

What next?

Well, if you’ve followed our steps correctly, that brief is too good not to share! If you need a quote, send it over to [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.