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How to determine the quality of a translation

Frequently, we are faced with the task of determining whether or not the translation we revise is good or bad. As professionals, our opinions should be well-grounded and not a result of our mood at that time or the friendship we have with the translator who delivered the product.

There are some objective factors that will help to clearly determine which translations do not meet minimum quality standards.

1.    The translation must have all paragraphs and sentences from the original document. For example when there is a list of synonyms, such as “home, house, dwelling”, all synonyms must be translated. Otherwise, the translation would be incomplete and would not contain all the ideas expressed in the original document.
2.    The translation should not blatantly modify the purpose or meaning of the original document. This involves avoiding bringing errors in the original into the translated document and translating too literally.
3.    Before delivering the translation, the translator should read it to make sure that it complies with points 1 and 2 above and to correct spelling and grammar errors. Automatic spelling and grammar checkers are very useful for this.
4.    The translation should have a fluid writing style that is easy to read, and thus, understood. In this way, the message is effectively delivered. It is worth noting that language preferences don’t necessarily constitute errors.
5.    Before delivering the project, the translator should check to make sure that all the project’s files are delivered, thus preventing having to make a second delivery. It is always important for the translator to deliver the file on time, so that the document can continue with the edition process in a timely manner.
6.    And finally, and perhaps most importantly, everyone involved in the project should communicate and clarify doubts as soon as possible and as professionally as possible.

Even though these problems may arise while working on a project, it is important that we use point 6 in order prevent or correct the errors listed above.

So, with that being said…let’s get to work!