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What Is a Back Translation? | Blarlo.com

What Is a Back Translation? |
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Why back translations are so useful and their use in professional translations.

Back translation can be defined as the translation of a document that has already been translated back to its original language. For example, let’s remember our time as high school students in Spanish class. First, we translated a sentence into Spanish, and then we translated it back into our native language, English, to check and see if the meaning was correct.

And so, the purpose of this back translation is to ensure that the meaning of the translated text is the most appropriate and accurate with respect to the original. This is a widespread method in exact sciences, like marketing, medicine or biology, since the precise meaning of many words used in these branches can’t be translated into any language, and great detail is needed for expressions to mean what the writer wishes to convey.

Many companies in Spain, and even individuals, look for a translation agency that can use this method correctly to check their essays or official texts. It’s a way to ensure that your work has been translated with no mistakes, and that anyone will be able to understand what all concepts refer to. This is an essential component in medical translations, as many concepts are translated from Spanish into English incorrectly.

What Is a Back Translation? |

Let’s look at an example of a medical term, Enema Opaco, an X-ray diagnostic imaging test that allows doctors to view the lower gastrointestinal tract. If we enter this term into Google Translate or any other machine translation tool, we may see that it translates it to “Opaque Enema”. This is inaccurate because the correct name for this procedure is “Barium Enema”; only a professional with experience in the field and someone who has mastered both languages, both the original and the target language, would be able to notice a detail like this.

So it is advisable that before delivering any important work, and even more so in these fields with such delicate words, you should contact a professional who is able to fix your mistakes.

Another very good use of back translation is when you misplace the original document, but you still have the translation, and this is the only way you have left to recover the original. We should bear in mind that it is not always possible to fully recover the original document, in other words, what the author of the original meant. Sometimes, information is lost in the translation or is not correctly interpreted.

Therefore, you will have to be a very good translator and master the two languages perfectly, to such an extent that one or both must be your native languages, which will allow you to know when a translation is as accurate as possible. If you don’t think you have enough knowledge, you can always hire a translation agency, who can guarantee that the back translation is the closest thing to the missing document, not to mention perhaps even identical.


This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Français (French) Nederlands (Dutch)