Food label translation is one of our specialist areas of expertise. This year we did our largest ever food labelling project into Hungarian. This afternoon I’m busy preparing a template for a new client needing food label translations into 12 European languages.

Preparing for translation

Part of our process is what we term “pre-translation”. This is about preparing the source text, and agreeing it with the client. Textual or layout changes during the life of a project are always a pain to deal with. This is especially true in multi-language food label translation. The trick is to front load the work, getting the text as clear as possible. This minimises changes later on.

Changes during a project

Sometimes change during the life of a project is inevitable. For example imagine a large project with multiple multi-language SKUs. Checking the first sets of finished artwork, may identify format changes affecting subsequent files.

Clear instructions for artworkers

When preparing text for translation, its important to remember that artworkers are often not linguists. Even if they are, on a multi-lingual job, they aren’t going to have native level proficiency in all the languages. It is therefore really important that the layout is clear to follow. The correct sections of text need to be easy to identify.

Legalities of food labelling

Legalities are also an issue with food labels. Its important to remember that we are translating the source text. We seek to accurately reflect the source within the target languages. This means that if the product is mis-described in the source language, it will also be mis-described when translated. The process of multi-language food label translation, is therefore very much a partnership. It is a team effort between the translation project team, the client, and their artwork house.

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