How can you ensure the quality of your translations?

A brief overview of the measures to take, which will ensure that your choice of translation agency delivers quality translations.

For most companies, conducting an internal translation involves either a translation department, which is difficult to make profitable, or rough translations entrusted to a secretary who manages as best she can with an online translator. Often, the solution is to outsource translations. A brief overview of the measures to take, which will ensure that your choice of translation agency delivers a quality translation.

Choose your translation agency

Your first responsibility is to find a good translation agency. How can you ensure that the language services you are going to pay for will meet your expectations? Ask questions about the translation agency that you are using and about the translator themselves:

Concerning the translation agency

  • Does it have reviews from other customers?
  • Are they able to send you samples of completed translations so that you can judge for yourself whether or not it is a quality translation?
  • Is the agency available and open to dialogue? (What are the advantages of finding a translation agency close to your company, as opposed to in Paris?)
  • Does the agency have control procedures in place such as the use of professional automatic proof-readers and proofreading by third parties (revision)?

About the translator

  • Are they translating into their mother tongue?
  • Do they specialize in the field which the text covers? (for example, for a translation of financial reports, does the translator know the specific vocabulary and understand this type of documents?)
  • Are they used to the drafting style that the document requires?

Prepare your document

Before the translation is started, certain measures can be taken to increase your chances of ending up with a quality translation. Be sure, first of all, that the original text is of high quality: a poorly written text (lack of structure, lack of clarity, syntax errors, etc.) will be difficult to translate. Next, if you want to improve the lexical accuracy of your translation (particularly if it is a very technical or specialized document, such as a legal translation or a medical translation), you can:

  • Send your translation agency a specialized glossary;
  • Share previously translated documents that deal  with the same subject;
  • Provide contact information for an expert to consult on the terminology;
  • Provide references from internet sites on the same subject.

Evaluate the translation

Finally, when you receive the translated text, you can conduct a little quality control, especially if it is the first time that you have used this translation agency:

  • Does the text contain spelling mistakes or syntax errors?
  • Has your document been fully translated?
  • Do you notice any contradictions?
  • Does the lexicon correspond to the translation´s domain?

Last test, you can do a re-translation, by a third party, an extract of the document, but this time from the target language to the source language, so you can determine if the meaning has been respected.

If you follow all these recommendations, you can be assured that your agency will only deliver quality translations.

Translation into English: Chloe Findlay

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