We all know the value of investing in translations. When they’re done right, they can lead to more opportunities to sell because you’re constantly attracting new customers in different markets.

However, a lot of our new clients tell us they’ve had a real problem in the past checking the accuracy of translations.

Back translations don’t always work

One of the first things you might do is a back translation. You take a document that has been translated into another language and translate it back into the original language to compare the two.

Language is not an exact science. Two different translators will use different words to nail all the elements of what makes a good translation – context, nuance, meaning, terminology, etc.

Both will be excellent translations, but if you do a back translation, you’ll end up with a slightly different result and that’s not a great way to test accuracy. Thankfully, any worries about quality assurance can be solved in a number of more ‘scientific’ ways.

Four steps to safeguard quality

Validation’s really important for maintaining translation accuracy. The better agencies will have a validation platform to take in any of your changes and store all your feedback for future translations.

Some agencies also offer glossaries – a collection of pre-approved industry-specific or technical terms provided by the client that you need to have translated a particular way or, not translated at all. Maybe a proper name or a medical or legal term.

The great thing about this is that a client can send an infinite list of words and terminology that have to appear in any translation in a specific way. This helps keep things consistent, reduces errors and also saves time because there’s less unique content to translate.

Thanks for the memories

Translation Memory. Genius. ‘TM’ can ‘remember’ previous translations so that when a translator is working on a new job and they come across words and phrases that have been translated before, they can be added in automatically. This is really useful if your offices are spread around the world and again, keeps thing consistent and keeps your brand and global messaging spot on because you’re speaking in one voice.

Another level of service offered by some agencies is translation plus edit. This involves a human translator reviewing a machine translation’s output. This is the best of both world’s because you get machine intelligence and human expertise rolled into one.

Accuracy makes it easier to manage translations

Validation, glossaries and translation memory have other benefits as well as guaranteeing quality. If the translations are good – as they should be – it makes translation management easy and simple to process. There’s fewer amends and signing-off on completed projects becomes extremely hassle-free.

And a bit like rolling a snowball down a slope, as you keep adding accurately translated terms to your portfolio of pre-translated words, you’ll get quicker and lower cost translations. There’s less unique content to translate and that means lower charges because we don’t charge you for words we’ve already translated for you in the past.

Great content now and in the future. Win, win! It takes time to find an agency you can trust – who’ll take care of it all for you and advise you on what safeguards you need. We’ve got plenty of services to take away all those concerns.

Ben Whittacker-Cook Straker Translations
By Ben Whittacker-Cook
Ben works in the Marketing Department at Straker Translations and eats way too much pizza



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