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Why Subject Matter Experts Are a Must in High-Stakes Translation
April 6, 2016 - By: - In: Translation - Comments Off on Why Subject Matter Experts Are a Must in High-Stakes Translation

Translation is both an art and a science. When it comes to high-stakes translation, however, more science than usual is required, as lives may hang in the balance. After all, achieving comparable style is appreciated, but securing equivalent meanings is what counts most, especially when we’re talking about sensitive material like clinical trial protocols or standardized exams.

For these reasons, subject matter experts are valued all around; however, there is a distinction between translators with subject matter expertise and subject matter expert reviewers, and the value they each bring to the process. Let’s take a closer look.

Translators with Subject Matter Expertise

For high-stakes translation, using a good translator is not good enough. Someone who does not truly understand what they are reading cannot accurately render that meaning in another language.

For an effective high-stakes translation, you need a translator with subject matter expertise – one who thoroughly understands the ins and outs of the field your text covers and the terminology used within it. Only then can the translated text capture both the essence and the finer details of the original. For example, a translator with legal subject matter expertise might be a lawyer as well.

Unlike a number of other service providers, Responsive Translation has the initial translation performed by a translator with subject matter expertise, and then reviewed by a highly-qualified translation editor and an experienced proofreader. The translation process doesn’t end there though.

Subject Matter Expert Reviewers

When translation truly matters, an extra layer of quality assurance isn’t a nice-to-have – it’s an imperative for regulatory compliance, for a defensible process and for stakeholder integrity. That involves subject matter expert review.

This process is where subject matter experts (not involved in the initial translation) do a thorough review of the translated text against the original source text. They check that terminology throughout the document is used accurately and appropriately in context according to terminology glossaries and industry best practice. Subject matter experts also ensure the content meets applicable regulatory requirements. In addition, they review for adherence to adopted style guides.

Subject matter experts report their findings, which are evaluated. Valid recommendations are incorporated to improve and refine the translation, ensuring that it more closely aligns with the text’s goals.

As you can see, when it comes to high-stakes translation, translators with subject matter expertise and subject matter reviewers are both key to ensure that a translation is accurate, appropriate and best serves stakeholders.

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