Whenever we buy a product or hire any type of service, we look for the best quality and, if not that, the best value for our money.
However, many clients ask us what we mean by ‘quality’ when we talk about a translation and how they can see whether it’s a quality translation or not. It is true that quality in this case can be subjective, but there are some objective criteria during the process that help to ensure the best quality. These main criteria are:
- The content of the translated text (or target text) should be identical to the original text, without additions or omissions.
- The translated text should have perfect spelling and grammar, which strictly adheres to spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax rules.
- The terminology should be the same jargon used in each profession and sector.
- The translation must transfer the style and tone of the original text into the target language.
- Names, dates, and numbers should be the same in both versions.
- The translation must maintain the message and aim of the original text.
- The format, graphics, images and diagrams should be correctly laid out. To achieve this, the layout designer has to work closely with the translator, and the translator should review the translation again to avoid any typos which may have sneaked in during the layout process.
- A reviewer (someone who is specialized in the subject matter in the case of technical translations) should look over the translation.
- Queries and questions should be answered promptly, and there should be adaptability and availability for said queries.
- The translation should meet the specific client requirements.
- The stated deadline should be met.
As you can see, this is not a simple literal translation that could possibly be handled by machine translation software. A number of criteria come into play that vary according to the type of text and the client.
Is quality important in translation?
The answer is obvious: of course, and even more so if it will be put to professional use. When a negotiation involving billions of euros depends on a translation, the entrepreneur in question needs to ensure that the translation accurately translates every comma of its content into the target language.
How can the quality of a translation be checked?
This aspect may seem complicated at first glance. However, it is not as much as one might expect. If the text is translated into your native language, it will be easy to check the accuracy of the translation. If the target language is not your native language, it is best to send the text to the person – client, user, etc. – it is meant for and ask for their opinion (terminology, objective, etc.).
At blarlo, we guarantee the quality of our translations at all times. What’s more, if in spite of all our quality controls, you are not satisfied, we will make sure that the translation is to your liking (of course, at no additional cost).
For more information, we share other links that may be of interest to you:
- Translation Quality Guide
- On the European quality standard for translation services
- Quality and Translation (Part One)