Friday, 18 March 2016

How do you know you've received a top notch translation?

Your translation has just arrived back on your desk.

Can you assess it?

The big problem with many translations is that the finished product will be in a language you don't understand. How do you know if it's good or bad?

  • Trust: if you've chosen your translator carefully or used a translator who was recommended to you, perhaps you can simply trust the translator to do a good job? 
  • Four eyes many translators will work in pairs, with a second translator checking the work of the first. This will be an additional cost but is highly recommended. Even great translators can make the odd typo or misunderstand something.
  • In house review: maybe you could have a native speaker in your company check the translation? 


Suspect your translation is simply not up to scratch? 

What not to do
  • Don't ask a non-native speaker who 'speaks' or 'understands' the language of the translation to review your document. They will often be looking for exact equivalents in both documents and good translation is not about word-for-word replacement. This is especially important with creative texts where the finished article can be quite different but still convey the same message. 
So what do you do?
  • Perhaps you could ask an in-house native speaker of the language to review the translation? If you do this, don't let them simply cover it in red pen. Ask for specific examples. And remember that your native speaker may be out of touch with their own language if they have been living abroad for many years. 
  • Contact the translator to express your concerns. Be constructive, provide concrete examples and ask them to respond. If justified, a good translator will take the comments on board and help you find a solution.
  • Request or arrange an independent third party review. How this happens will vary with each individual case.                                                                      

Prevention is better than cure

As I said in my previous post, the best way to avoid any problems occurring in the first place is to:
  • take the time to select the best translator for your job,
  • plan ahead to avoid a last minute rush job,
  • involve the translator as early as possible in the process,
  • provide as much relevant information as you can...
Better still, use a translator who has been recommended to you. 

Contact me and I'll do my utmost to find you a suitable translator.

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