How to Ensure Document Translation Quality

There is a direct correlation between the amount of money you pay and the quality of your translation. But how can you ensure high quality communications from your company, when you don’t speak Chinese? Or Pashto?  This article will help you lower your overall costs by learning to recognize a language service provider (LSP) who consistently delivers high-quality translation services and therefore effectively represents your company abroad.

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1.)    Don’t be afraid of questions. A quality language services provider will ask you questions to learn about the intricacies of your project. Who is the audience you’re speaking to? What is their age or educational background? The intended audience and purpose is critical – it helps the linguist establish the appropriate tone, style, and register for the target language. An LSP might also ask you to provide a glossary of terms, brands, and slogans and how you might like to have these translated.


2.)    Linguist qualifications. Most linguists need not only a degree or certification providing them with specific skill sets in translation, but also advanced degrees in an area of specialization such as Immunology, Microfinance, Government Relations, etc. The linguist should also have native language fluency, specific dialect requirements, subject matter expertise and cultural knowledge. Make sure your language service provider has the capabilities to complete your project.


3.)    Second-cycle review. Once a document has been translated by a qualified linguist, the document should then go through a second-cycle of revision by an editor, ensuring a higher quality final project. The editor has specific skills needed to fine-tune and review a translation. In addition, your LSP should also be following industry standards, such as the ASTM Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation.


4.)    Post-editing phase. A review of all linguistic changes and formatting adaptation is essential, as is the review regarding consistency of fonts, graphs and tables, and other graphic elements. Service providers who skip this step will see a frustrated end client. This crucial post-editing phase is essential for streamlining effective communication, cutting cost and time for the client.


5.)    Project management. When working with an LSP, you should always consider the personal relationship with the project or account manager and the added benefits of having a single point of contact who meets your company’s needs. Your product or service will be intimately known by the language service provider, who will be able to create a specially trained linguistic team consistent with the messaging of your company.


By checking on these simple guidelines, your company will be able to use the linguistic feedback to streamline your own operations and communications, ultimately saving money.