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The difficulties of translating an Excel spreadsheet

como se debe traducir un documento de excel de forma eficiente
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If you work for a company that operates across borders, you have probably asked yourself a very legitimate question: How to translate an Excel spreadsheet correctly As we will see, there are different ways to go about it, and not all of them are equally as effective.

What different ways of translating an Excel spreadsheet are there?

You have three main choices at your disposal:

1. Microsoft’s machine translation

This is certainly the fastest of them all, although perhaps not the most advisable. There is a “Translate” button on the top part of your Excel spreadsheet displaying a list of languages to choose from. What is it for? Its main function is determining what language to translate all selected texts throughout the spreadsheet into. It may sound easy, but it has very obvious setbacks.

  • It won’t be a perfect translation. This translator is meant for just a few basic words. For more complex or technical phrases, it may end up hurting the accuracy of the translation, thus hindering the final result.
  • Many languages may be missing. While the translator may include English, French, and other common languages, it may leave many more lesser-known examples out of the equation. Even if they are there, the translations may not be exact.

Therefore, this option may be okay for personal use, but it should never be considered as a serious option on a business level.

2. Go to the free online machine translation engine.

Although there are also a lot of paid machine translators out there, their free counterparts are much more popular. But are they really reliable? Are they worth it? Let’s go over a few controversial points we need to think about.

  • The risks involved with technical vocabulary. An Excel spreadsheet is intended to address very specific business needs. In this context, mastering the vocabulary to be used is fundamental to delivering the best possible results at any given time. For this reason, machine translation may be insufficient.
  • The question of ambiguity in the text. If you make annotations, comments or other non-technical details in an Excel text, an automatic translator may not be able to convey them correctly. This can cause misunderstandings and, ultimately, a considerable waste of time.
  • Lack of professionality. Finally, you have to consider the brand image you project. To put it plainly, when compared to work carried out by a professional translator, machine translation yields low quality results, something that is easily picked up by potential customers. This reflects badly on your image.

While this option is better than Excel’s built-in translator, it definitely presents many shortcomings that are difficult to circumvent as well. If you intend to deliver an elegant, formal, professional result, this is not the answer either.

3. Hiring a professional translation agency

Relying on a professional agency offers you a much better chance of getting a good translation. Translations done on a professional level usually point to a company that is breaking through borders: an international company. This means that, more than ever, clear, quality communication is key.

That is why it is most advisable to rely on a professional team to help translate this type of document. Its professional members will be able to convey the right tone every step of the way, finding the most accurate terms to better relay your message in another language. In short, it is an effective way of approaching this type of translation and achieving unbeatable results, while maintaining a competent, professional image.

There is another very important factor to take into consideration: the text may lose its format. You know that Excel cells change shape when adding content to them. Well, one can’t simply copy and paste the new translated text. What’s important is to have a team of professionals to guide you through the job of keeping the end result in the same format as the original document.

Translating an Excel spreadsheet is certainly very important at a professional level. For all the above, hiring a team of experts is a guarantee of success. Get the expert translators you need at Blarlo. Contact us.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Français (French) Nederlands (Dutch) Deutsch (German)