There is an important, yet uncomfortable question that surrounds your company’s efforts to translate important documents: How can you be sure that you are receiving high quality translations if you don’t speak the target language?
In order to reduce the probability of translation mistakes from the project start point, companies need to work closely with their translation vendor(s) to map out a process that leads to quality translation. This post covers tips that will help you to ensure your translation company has quality processes before you begin translations.
Work Closely With Your Vendor | Set Expectations
The most reliable method for ensuring consistent high quality translations is to work closely with your chosen translation vendor. Beforehand, you will want to ensure that your translation vendor has measurable experience within your industry and document type.
When you begin to work with your translation vendor, be sure to write up an explicitly clear description of your audience (unfortunately, a lot of companies neglect to pass this information to their translation vendors). Finally, remember that your partnership with a translation is a commitment to ongoing improvement. It will take time for your vendor to become accustomed to your company, brands, materials, and employees. Over a course of approximately 3-6 months, the translation vendor will begin to know your business better, and the quality will inevitably improve.
Look For Indicators Of Strict Industry Standards
In each industry, there are certain certifications and standards that a translation vendor can follow in order to prove that they have processes in place to provide high quality translations. For example, in the manufacturing industry, it is essential that your translation company is ISO certified.
Evaluate Translation Team Beforehand
The standard method to evaluate translators or interpreters is to give them a proficiency test. Certification may, on occasion, replace onsite testing, but most employers prefer to do their own, and most translators and interpreters, whether freelance or in-house, have to take such tests many times in their careers.
If you hire an interpreter or translator from a language services company (as opposed to hiring an independent freelancer), read what the company says about quality assurance. Find out in advance how well they screen their translators and interpreters. This tip will help you to prevent logistical headaches down the road.
Improve Your Source Text
Translators will not be able to improve upon your source text if it isn’t written well in the source language. The best and most simple method for improving translation quality is to improve your source text. It is not the translator’s responsibility to improve upon poorly written source text. However, there are some other tips that can help to improve your chances of receiving a high-quality translation. Once you’re sure that you’ve created strong source content, write a brief explanation to help the translators understand the goal of your text. Consider the purpose of the content as well as what you are trying to achieve. For translators to choose the best and most appropriate words, they will need to know who you are targeting. Providing basic information along with your source text will help immensely.
Be Clear With Your Translation Deadline
Translation can be a tedious process depending on the language and document, so if you need the project immediately, make sure that you have informed the translation company and that they have agreed to a set due date. If you have followed our second tip, it’s likely that you have hired a quality translation company, and you shouldn’t worry about project delivery. Regardless of the company that you hire, it’s important that you maintain an open line of communication. If you are explicitly clear about your project requirements and your expectations, you will likely get what you have asked for.
Is There A Tried Method For Speeding Up The Process?
It’s not easy to say this, but no, there isn’t a magic method for speeding up the translation process. As we’ve mentioned earlier, it is essential that you work to build a solid foundation of trust with your vendor. Take the time to communicate clearly, and help them prioritize, communicate expectations, and understand each project completely.
Avoid Online Translation Tools
With the increasing demand for quick-and-easy translation solutions, there is an abundance of free online translation services, which offer you instant document translation services. While these systems (think Google Translate) are useful if you are seeking a basic understanding of a foreign text, they are not reliable enough to depend on for your business documents. Online translation programs lack necessary cultural knowledge, and syntax command, leading to poorly translated content. To learn more about the differences between machine and human translation, check out this blog post.
Are They Experienced With Translation Memory?
A translation company should be able to detail their (or their independent contractor’s) ability to work with translation memory software. Translation memory software assists translators by recognizing phrases or repeated sentences that have previously been translated at one point, which helps save time for the translator. And, as you know, time is directly related to cost. Basically, translation memory can help translators determine matches in text so they don’t have to retranslate text matches. While this may not be a factor if you only need one document translated, if you plan on establishing a working relationship with a translation company for projects in the future, fluency with translation memory software is important.
iTi | Connecticut Translation Company
iTi’s dedicated and experienced team offers a wide range of multilingual solutions for domestic and global corporations in a variety of industries. With our expansive resources, you can take advantage of communication services on a global scale, creating, managing, and distributing your content in any format. You are welcome to contact us to request a quote for your language translation project.