Tips to Ensure High Quality Translation

During this COVID-19 crisis, quality translation can be easily forgotten as there is a lot of moving parts and some pressure to get information out fast. Some have been tempted to just quickly run text through google translate or even skip translation altogether.

Even though the pressure to get information out is real, I would recommend taking a few extra steps that will help ensure that your meaning, tone, and message is conveyed regardless of the language. I’ll indicate (just my opinion/experience) what I believe the quality score is for each process.

  • Translation, Revision, Proofreading

    quality score: good-excellent

    Ideally, every document is assigned to professional translator to convert it to the target language. It always pays to have a second translator review their work as a second pair of eyes. Even the best, most experienced linguist can miss a word or meaning. It helps to work in a bilingual format for the first two steps of this process. It helps to divide the document up and focus on the language.

    Download a FREE bilingual translation template here.

    Once the translation/review has been completed, you can format the new document using the target text. You will need a linguist to proofread the text in the final format.

    This method is our standard for every project. The level of quality depends on the linguists, the subject matter, etc. So, it can vary somewhat. For most content this is a great way to get solid translations that meet the source.

  • Back Translation

    quality score: excellent

    If you want to be more involved in the process, asking for a “back translation” might be the way to go. Back Translation includes a step where a translator will translate the target text BACK into English. Then, an English speaker can compare the source English file and the back translated file to look for any tone, meaning, mistranslated text.

  • Parallel translation

    quality score: it better be awesome

    Another option for extra quality steps would be to have two professional translators provide the source text in parallel. Then have a third linguist ‘reconcile’ the translation. This can help alleviate human errors in handling the text. This is useful for sensitive topics like health care.

  • Can’t wait? Try Post Editing

    quality score: pretty good

    Sometimes we want to provide high quality, but we’re limited by time and budget. But, like Theodore Roosevelt said “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

    Depending on the target language, technology is improving all the time to help! Machine translation (like google translate) can work in a pinch. Especially if you just need the “jist” of the message to come across.

    I highly recommend adding a post editing step where a linguist will review and make changes to the text. This way it can still sound human.

    If you have a pretty straightforward document, you can Try Automatic Translation for Free!

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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