7 effective ways to write your queries

Hi everyone and sorry for the lack of posts so far.
As we all know, it happens that we can’t decipher an acronym or what that mysterious software options refers to, even when we are translating something in our specialty areas. It’s time to contact the clients with some queries and here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Use a template
This will make it easier for your clients (especially direct ones) to familiarise with your workflow and advise you accordingly. Tiny tip: if you add your logo, you can also turn it into a marketing tool!

2) *.xls tables are your friends, *.doc tables are not
If you organise your queries in a table, try to avoid using *.doc/*.docx documents, as their tables are not as customizable and searchable as *xls/*xlsx ones.

3) Define your query structure
Below a screenshot of a basic query sheet:


Date: The day you sent your queries

File Name: The name of the file you are translating. If you renamed the file during the translation process, make sure you insert its original name.

Segment(Page): If you have been given a file already segmented, list the segment. If not, list the page.

Source Text: List the whole sentence and, if relevant, highlight those obscure.

Target Text: Your (provisional) solution.

Question/Comment: Say what the issue is.

Answer: The cell were your client will (hopefully!) enlighten you 😉

4) Don’t waffle
People are busy, so be concise and to the point.

5) Be a problem solver
Try to offer a solution. It will show your client that you have done your research

6) Follow your client’s brief
If they already have their template, make sure to use it.

7) If in doubt about an issue that will have a significant impact, act now!
If you are translating a user manual whose software has been localised, but you can’t find any software options in the TM, contact your clients straight away and you will both save time.

And how do you deal with queries, dear readers? Please share your thoughts!

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About Chiara Vecchi

A blogging translator working from English and German into Italian. You are more than welcome to visit my blog https://squirreltranslations.wordpress.com!
This entry was posted in CAT Tools, Translation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to 7 effective ways to write your queries

  1. nadjabatdorf says:

    This is very useful! I loved the post!

  2. Thanks for the tips. I especially like the one with the .xls table. I usually write an email with all queries, but using a .xls file would make the entire process much easier and less time consuming, both for me and for the client. Will definitely use one in the future.

    • Hi Veronica and thanks a lot for sharing your opinions! If both you and your client are happy with the email system, maybe you can stick to it, especially if you usually only have 2-3 obscure points. However, let me know how it goes with the *.xls table, I’m happy if I’ve saved you some time!

  3. My preferred method is simply to add my queries to the source file (assuming it’s in Word) as Word comments. That way, there’s no need for me to specify context or file names, etc. (so it’s quick for me), and the client can view my queries in context by simply scrolling through them using the “next comment” button (so it’s quick for them, too).
    Offering default solutions is absolutely the way to go, partly because it presents you in a positive light, and partly because it makes it easy for the client to rubber stamp your idea if it’s a good one.

  4. Pingback: 7 effective ways to write your queries | Professional Translation | Scoop.it

  5. Pingback: 7 effective ways to write your queries | Translation & Interpreting | Scoop.it

  6. Pingback: 7 effective ways to write your queries | l10n | Scoop.it

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