Quality control in translation

What should Quality Control in Translation Look Like?

The quality of any translated material is extremely important. We all know how quickly we dismiss a company or brand with mistakes in its marketing materials, whether it’s their website, brochures or articles. Additionally, the repercussions of mistakes in legal, medical and technical documents can be severe. But when you don’t speak the target language, how can you judge the quality of the translation agency’s work?

It might surprise you to know that there are objective quality standards in the translation industry, such as EN 15038, just as there are in manufacturing, professional services and many other sectors. These quality standards show that the techniques and processes are in place for the translation agency to deliver accurate work that’s delivered on time and within budget.

But what does quality control in translation really look like, how is it done and who is involved? Here’s our guide to the process…

1. The translator

The most important aspect of any translation project is the original translator and the expertise and accreditations they hold. At Linguistica International, all translators are qualified professionals who are subject to ongoing evaluations and meet all of the following criteria:

  • They have an undergraduate or higher degree in translation
  • They have passed internal translation tests
  • They have 5+ years’ professional experience working as a translator
  • They are native speakers of the target language
  • They have professional experience of the industry the client operates in

All translators check and double-check their own work. That includes the spelling and grammar and referring to outside resources like style guides and terminology glossaries where necessary. Factual accuracy, readability and the tone of the piece must also be just right before the translation passes to the next stage of the quality assurance process.

2. The proofreader

A second professionally qualified translator and native speaker with industry-specific knowledge will proofread the translation. The original translator can miss errors due to their over-familiarity with their work. That’s why asking an independent proofreader to take a fresh look at the copy can make a big difference to the accuracy of the final document.

3. The editor

Editors go a level deeper than proofreaders. They look at linguistic issues like style and fluency as well as technical issues such as consistency, the use of industry-specific abbreviations and the all-important feel of the content. This is essential to ensure the text will make a mark within the target industry.

4. Back translation

All translations have to be delivered within budget, so this is not a step we’ll take for every translation. However, the process of back translation does provide an extra layer of quality control for high-value content.

This process asks a brand new translator to convert the newly translated document back into its original language. The back translation and the original source document can then be compared to make sure every word is a perfect match or conveys the same meaning.

5. Feedback

We build long-lasting relationships with our clients and hope to become their trusted translation partner. That makes this final stage essential. Liaising with the client, the translation project manager provides feedback to the original translator, proofreader and editor to discuss any terminology preferences the client has, and identifies areas they can improve in the future.

Word-perfect quality control you can rely on

While a lone freelance translator might be highly skilled and meticulous, they can never compete with the peace of mind you receive from a leading translation agency with a multi-stage quality control process. That’s just one of the reasons why clients like Santander, Manchester United and Orange keep on coming back to Linguistica International.

To discuss your next translation project, give us a call on 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.