Good practice for translating documents

Prepare your English document well

Translations are most successful when the English document is written well. Please amend the English document, taking into account the following considerations before sending it to us.

Make sure your English version is written well

User feedback emphasises that the quality of the translation is heavily-dependent on the quality of the English version. Some words and phrases are commonplace but assume an understanding of British processes or services. An example of a term which need explaining or which could be re-written with plain-English equivalent is 'Early Education Entitlement' which could be rewritten as 'nursery money vouchers'. Other words or phrases such as 'academy' or 'single adult discount' might require a glossary explanation.

Avoid jargon wherever possible, or provide a glossary

Many words in English cannot be translated into other languages as there isn't a service or language equivalent, especially when they are words or jargon used by a specific service. Translators will 'transliterate', the word which means offering a word for word translation so the client can recognise the word but this won't create an understanding of the service. Therefore we recommend such terms are explained. For example 'early years' would need to be explained as 'services for children aged 4 and under'.

We can't ask our translators to devise their own explanations as they are not experts on the service – you are.

Layout and formatting considerations

We provide plain-text translation and limited formatting – we do not print or publish documents.

Use appropriate illustrations

  • Give positive images of women, minority ethnic groups, disabled people, LGBT and older people – do not reinforce stereotypes.
  • Avoid images heavily associated with European culture.

Contact information

Translation and Interpreting Service

Opening Hours

Email: TIS@bristol.gov.uk

Tel: 0117 903 6400