You need to have documents translated, and you’re requesting quote after quote from translation agencies. Rather than just choosing the least expensive alternative, you want a translation agency that can meet your high standards. So, how can you be sure of the quality of the translation? Here are 5 pieces of advice to make sure you are getting a quality translation.

1: Provide as much information as possible

Just sending the document that needs translating may not be enough. Professional translators require a sufficient amount of information to be able to understand your project and discern your needs.

On top of the source document, it is also recommended that you send the following information: your target audience, the final purpose of the document, and the graphical format that you would like for the final translation.

Depending on your area of professional activity, some translators may request referential documents for your company (presentation brochure or business overview), or a glossary of terms unique to your company (technical jargon, abbreviations, proper nouns, etc.).

2: Choose the right translator

Once all of the documents are available, the translation agency will send your project to the translator they believe to be the most competent in the execution of your demand. Choosing the translator is a crucial task that will determine the final quality of your translation.

Make sure that the chosen translator will meet your requirements. If your project is technical or scientific for example, request a translator who speaks the target language natively but who is also an expert in your sector of activity.

For legal translations, you must also verify that your translator is certified.

3: Ask about the translation tools

Automatic computer translations are still unreliable and far from able to rival the quality of human translations. Nevertheless, professional translators utilise certain software for computer-assisted translation (CAT). This isn’t out of laziness, but rather because the software may help to increase the quality of the final document.

CAT software are used to create what are called “translation memories.” They allow for quality human translations to be reused throughout a project when recognised.

You can ask your translation agency what methods they use for their translations and if they utilise this type of software. For long term collaborations, this type of tool is very effective. Or, if you require a translation with a very short deadline, these kinds of automatic translation software can be very cost-efficient.

4: Learn about quality control procedures

No translator, whatever his level of excellence, is safe from the occasional error, either from forgetfulness or from a misunderstanding. It is vital to review the work and a professional translation agency will see to that task.

Do not hesitate to ask an agency directly about the quality control procedures of their translations. Specifically, ask if the translation is proofread by other professional translators or proof readers.

It is also very important to take into account the confidentiality of your documents. Make sure that the translation agency you send your documents to maintains your professional secrets.

5: Be specific about your requirements

The quality of the translation also depends on how you communicate your expectations and needs. It isn’t rare that, when facing an urgent need for a translation, some clients ask the agency to choose speed over written quality.

You must, therefore, be very explicit when it comes to your needs. You must also be honest when it comes to the quality of the translation you received.

The quality of the translation is also dependent upon your opinion. It is through exchange and sharing that, in the long term, the quality can be ensured. If, despite your contributions, you do not see an amelioration in the quality of your translations, you may wish to seek another professional translator.

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