How to Ensure the Accuracy of Your Translation
The credentialing and certification terminology used in the professional translation industry can be confusing and sometimes misused. This article will clarify the most common terms and help you evaluate your specific project needs.
Reputable translation agencies comprehensively evaluate their professional translators prior to assigning them to a client project. It is important to ask about their recruitment process, minimum qualifications to be employed by the agency and the specific skills, experience, subject matter expertise of the proposed translation team working on your project.
Likewise, professional language service providers are accustomed to being asked for certification documentation for their final deliverable and hold professional indemnity insurance to protect both parties in the event of a mistranslation.
Evaluating a translator’s qualifications and professional affiliations
- Ensure your translator is a native speaker of the target language and fluent in the source content language, so they will be familiar with cultural and dialect nuances.
- Confirm your translator’s years of professional translating experience by asking for references.
- Enquire about your translator’s formal translation education learning translation best practices and translation technology tools.
- Make sure your translator is familiar enough with your content subject area to fully understand the original information’s key messages, tone and communication objective.
- Does your translator have current memberships in globally recognised professional translation associations?
- Please note that there is no formal certification, licences or verification processes for professional translators.
Requesting final translation documentation
Obtaining verifiable proof that the translation you received is authentic is required for some projects. The requirements and terms used may vary from country to country and by type of translation. In general, the terms certified translation, official translation, sworn translation, notarised translation or legal translation are referring to the same documentation provided by the translation service provider with the final product.
If your project requires the translation of legal, medical, educational or government documents, requesting documentation of authenticity from your translator is a good idea.
Assessing the translation team’s quality control & accuracy process
There are measurable and proven processes in the translation industry to safeguard a quality final product. Typically this process is overseen by a project manager who works with the translation team, especially if the project requires more than one translator.
Understanding the client’s goals and objectives for the project and setting up the project scope is the first step for all well managed projects. Then, choosing the best team members and briefing them on their respective roles to meet those requirements is crucial. Next, the source information needs to be prepared, so it is in the format that the translators and machine technology can work most efficiently. All translations must be proofread by a second equally qualified translator (with subject matter expertise and native fluency). The project manager is involved throughout the process and thus is very familiar with the content. He or she also serves as the final quality assurance check to ensure the final copy is congruent with the source document and meets all of the client’s original goals and objectives before it is delivered to the client.
Confirming agency credentials
- Company history and number of years an agency has been in business is often looked at as the sole qualification for vendors. In fact, it is more important to look at the combined experience levels of the company owners, project managers and translation teams.
- Like individual translators, the agency itself has international trade associations it may be affiliated with. Ask about the agency’s current memberships in global translation agency associations. As memberships are typically open to any business and are paid for annually, this may or may not be a key evaluation criterion.
- Relying on insurance policies to protect yourself from inaccurate translations is never a good idea. At the same time, ensuring that your foreign language translation company is covered by a professional indemnity insurance policy is an important risk mitigation tactic.
- Reviewing a company’s project portfolio to understand their specific areas of expertise is a great method of determining if the agency’s qualifications are a match for your project needs. Look both at the language combinations of past projects and the subject matter areas. Some agencies specialise and others provide broad services. Your project’s requirements will determine the best fit.
- Reading testimonials and talking with former clients about their experiences with the agency is truly the best way to evaluate the agency’s relevant qualifications for your project. Ask for references for other projects they have completed from and to the same language combination you need as well as references in the subject matter you are translating.
At Renaissance Translations, translation accuracy and excellent customer service are our top priorities. Let’s discuss whether our services are a good match for your project requirements.