A quick internet search will reveal a host of translation fails. Everything from road signs to menus, through to high-end pieces of content like adverts and movie subtitles, have fallen victim to translation faux pas, quickly becoming a laughing stock of the internet.
Although mostly harmless, it makes you wonder how some of these errors could occur in the first place.
Running a smooth translation project isn’t easy. If you want to avoid errors creeping their way into your own translation projects, there are a number of steps you can take. As our series so far has explored, you need to set the right SLAs, build relationships and have the best quality source content possible. Then you need to kick off your project on the right note, providing good reference materials to help your translation team avoid mistakes. In our next blog, we’ll look and the role you – as the client – should play when it comes to reviewing your translations – and how by taking the time to understand your role, you can limit the potential for blunders.
Understand the client review role
This is one of the most important collaborative processes in a translation project. Only on rare occasions will the translator get everything absolutely right and to your complete satisfaction, so your feedback is essential for continuous improvement. After all, if you don't tell them, how will they improve in the next iteration or project? It's not just about flagging mistakes. It's about getting your translation partner to understand your preferences - however subtle they may be.
First of all, it is crucially important that you select the right reviewers. They should be well-versed in the subject and the language. Do they have much experience? Are they well-spoken? Do they write well in their day-to-day activities (emails, reports)? All of this counts.
It is also important to understand the nature of the review your subject matter experts (SMEs) will do. They are not expected to perform a linguistic role and correct grammar – although they can if they notice an error. Rather, their role is akin to Quality Assurance (QA). They should read the translation as their intended reader would and note places where the reading flow is interrupted, be it due to a single word or a whole sentence. Their main contribution is their deep knowledge of your voice and industry-specific or technical terminology.
Make sure your feedback is constructive and doesn’t make your trusted translators feel disrespected or unappreciated. You should expect the same behavior from your translators; they must consider every single piece of feedback and respond to it with solid arguments if they disagree. Also, consult your SLA to find out if preferential change implementation is included. If it isn’t, you might incur additional costs.
Queries are part of every project and should be encouraged to ensure accuracy. Learn how to establish an efficient query process in our final blog installment. And if you can't wait until then, click here to learn more about SDL's language services.
Published on December 4, 2019 in Language Services