Continuing in this series of articles expanding on Ensuring Effective Translations, the next set of tips are to help you make sure that the correct quality assurance steps are undertaken to make sure the translation is correct.
The review of the translation is a critical step in the translation process. You need to consider in advance who needs to be involved in that review. This needs to cover both in-country review and possibly additional review by specific technical experts.
There are really two elements to the review – a proofread to ensure that all of the content has been included in the translation, for example units of measure have been transcribed accurately, and the review of the translated language. The review of the translated language would most often be done by someone from your in-country team who is a native speaker and who knows your products and brand thoroughly.
It is a good idea to get reviewers involved before translation begins. They can be involved in creating the initial appendix and style of the document, learn about the background and goals of the translation, and create a sense of commitment in order to foresee time in their schedules for the final review. Getting them on board from the initial start of the project will help this final step in the process run efficiently and help ensure an on-time launch.
Also consider the skills and capabilities required by each of the reviewers. As this is a critical quality control step, do you need to provide procedures and training on how to undertake the reviews successfully?
It is an advisable business practice to have another team member read and perhaps edit your document prior to proceeding with the actual translation. A second pair of eyes can habitually find ways to improve even the most well written document, whether original or translated. However, if you are self-editing your document, you need to set a procedure or checklist.
This may include printing the document and rereading, check for lapses, missing numbers, lack of consistency, and finally, spell-check. It is important for you to establish how you prefer to review your work; will you look for all types of errors at once or concentrate on one at a time? It is essential to specify these elements before beginning the translation process.
Have typeset copy proofread by your translator
This should always be done, no matter how comprehensive a procedure you have in place. Even if you work with trustworthy translation providers who know your company extremely well, there runs a risk of error with last-minute additions to your document (anything from new headings to simply changing a word) by well-intentioned peers. This is why it is important to ensure that you have a native speaker on hand for the final adjustments – ideally, this person should be on the project from the beginning. It is also recommended that these types of final reviews be done in writing and not over the phone or video. It is essential that the complete document be in context.
Even specialists writing on technology in their own language need to consult the correct reference when providing translation services; even they can make mistakes. Technical and scientific translators, like others, need to ensure that their output reads as intended in the original document. Actually, it often happens that it ends up being better than the original since it benefits from the concentration and skills of more than one pair of eyes. Beware when you review your document, if you notice incorrect use of technical terms, this could mean your translator is not qualified for your project. You may want to ask subject-matter specialists in your organisation for their input and comments.
Finally, before going to press, it is prudent to have your professional translator provide a final check for grammar, syntax, punctuation and style, especially if your subject-matter experts are not native speakers.
In the next article we will look at the ninth step – Approve translation; tips to ensure that the formal approval of the translation goes as planned.
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