Translation and Interpreting in 150+ Languages
My Translation, Right or Wrong
July 4, 2011 - By: - In: Testing and QA - 12 comments

I wrote this for one of my clients the other day.  Well, a lot of it, anyway.  I’ve cranked it up for you translation workflow freaks.

The translation has been completed. How do you know if it’s OK?

You can…

Assume that it is correct. Unless you can’t assume, because of compliance or QA requirement.

Ask a friend or office mate who speaks the language if it is correct, assuming that they are qualified to do the job. Unless you can’t assume.

Use a pre-qualified third party or qualify your own.

Use a language service provider to:

  • Do a parallel translation
  • Do a back translation
  • Do additional edit(s)

Use a target language copywriter to change meaning, to adapt, transcreate, and localize for audience-specific understanding.

You can have a physician (for life sciences) or other technical resource check the translation to make sure it is OK.

Or you can test end-user understanding and impressions using surveys and focus groups.

Harmonization Is Key

Whether the quality assurance strategy includes back translation or parallel translation or edit, the harmonization of the consensus document is where accuracy, balance and consistency emerge. The key to success is an open, collaborative process. As the saying goes, “Many eyes keep danger at bay.”

But whatever you do, it’s all got to come together in the end.  All those translation assets have to be updated with editorial and validation corrections. Getting everyone on the same page is important to get to the best result.

That best result is then the template for future efforts. So style guides may get re-styled, or term bases get de-debased, or translation memories recollected, so mistakes aren’t repeated. This is the backbone of our ISO 9001 process, which forces us to redefine our whole approach to business. . . we have to keep getting better.

And speaking of which, I am proud as punch to boast on one of my life’s greatest accomplishments. Every member of this organization has been working on this quality piece for years, and there’s been no shortage of heartache. I have leaned hard on this, as have all my companions. And we’ve done it. For the last three months, 100% of our clients reported that they would enthusiastically recommend our service to friends and colleagues. This means our 2011 2Q NPS score was perfect. We are the best in the business.

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