Just like cars that roll off the production line are released to customers only after they’ve been thoroughly inspected and have passed quality-control checks, translations are subjected to a range of checks and other processes to ensure the quality translation is of the required standard.
Not all translations are created equal, though. Take online translation tools, for instance. The likes of Google Translate do a great job of quickly processing large volumes of text, but they are far from accurate. Tests, like those carried out by Douglas Hofstadter, a professor of cognitive science and comparative literature at Indiana University at Bloomington, show that online translators can’t understand context, which is crucial for accurate translations.
If accuracy is important for your translations, how do you ensure you get the best results from your translation partner? Read on to find out the ins and outs of translation accuracy and what to look for in high quality translation services.
Translation quality control (QC) is the foundation of ensuring that the output meets expectations. It involves the output being checked to analyse whether it meets specifications. The key objective of applying QC checks is to identify defects so they can be rectified before the finished product is sent to the client.
While QC is important to maintain high standards and ensure that work is consistently of the required quality—the QC process identifies where a translation falls short—it doesn’t improve the translation process before a work is complete. This is where quality assurance comes in.
This is the next level up of making sure the whole translation process produces the best possible output. Translation quality assurance involves planning the translation process, documenting the steps of the process and creating a set of guidelines and rules. The QA procedure results in a quality plan, the intention of which is to prevent mistakes occurring in the first place. Because a QA plan clearly lays out the steps for ensuring quality, it can increase the quality of work and save money and time.
The QA process has three parts:
This stage sees expert translators and editors agree on the scope of the project, the tech tools needed, glossaries to use, and style guides.
This is when the transaction takes place. The translator will follow the guidelines set in the planning stage. They will check their work, often using technology, ready for the next phase.
During this stage, the translation is reviewed, by an editor and/or a proofreader, who check for grammar and spelling, mistakes in terms of the terminology used, and syntax and punctuation errors.
ISO 17100 are the international standards for high quality translation services. They specify requirements for translation processes, translator qualifications and tech resources to ensure the work is high quality. These guidelines include four key clauses that demonstrate why ISO 17100 compliant technical translation services can be trusted to produce high-quality translations. The guidelines:
- Ensure the people selected to perform translations are appropriately qualified.
- Ensure suitable processes are in place to handle and analyse client enquiries, determine project feasibility, prepare quotations, and entering into agreements with clients.
- Ensure compliance with the client agreement from the moment it is confirmed to the end of the project.
- Ensure processes are in place to handle client feedback, assess client satisfaction and take corrective action, if needed.
Quality Translation process
Weaving quality checks across the whole translation process maximises quality and reduces the chance of mistakes occurring in the first place. Here’s what that process looks like:
- Desktop publishing
- Final checks
If all translation agencies online follow this process and conduct quality checks throughout the whole process, mistakes are more easily spotted and corrected. Following is a list of common errors:
- Spelling errors
- Grammar mistakes
- Terminology issues
- Formatting errors
- Contextualisation mishaps
Tips for getting the most accurate translations
Find expert business translation services
You should find an expert translation and localization provider who works in a related field. This applies both to the subject area and the geographic location. For example, if you’re localizing a marketing campaign, the translator should have experience working with similar products and in the market you’re targeting.
Check if the translator is a native speaker
Accepted industry practice is for the translator to be a native speaker in the language they are translating into. If you translate from Chinese to Japanese, a native Japanese speaker would be best-placed to produce the most accurate translation.
Avoid online translation tools
If accuracy is a key criteria of success, then don’t go with an online translation tool. These are good options for processing large volumes of text quickly when accuracy isn’t important. For accurate high quality translation services, stick with a human or at least have a human check it through after (machine translation post editing – MTPE).
Seek verified translations
Content that’s translated by an expert translator will be checked by an editor and/or proofreader. This verification process minimises mistakes and ensures the translated content is fit for purpose.
Though online translator tools don’t pass muster when it comes to ensuring accuracy, there is a range of tech tools that professional human translators use to check their work. As well as manually checking their work, translators use platforms like automatic quality checkers that recognise patterns and computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. Using these can increase efficiency as well as accuracy, resulting in a superior result.
The goal of translation is fairly simple: conveying information given in one language into another language. But doing it expertly and accurately is a highly complex task.
Whether you’re looking for multimedia localisation services, dubbing and subtitling services, academic translation services or a legal document translation agency, the information above will help guide your translation efforts so you get the best results each and every time and avoid paying for a wrong translation.
Get in touch with Into23’s team of highly skilled experts today to learn more about accurate and quality translation solutions.