Re. Trust your translator?

Subject: Re. Trust your translator?
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 12:19:21 -0500

David Dubin noted, in response to a question on how to know you've
received a good translation, <<I would say that either you have trust
in your translator, or you don't. Having something translated twice is
[expensive].>>

Sorry to disagree, David, at least in part. I also do translation
(French to English) and quality control on translation (English to
French). Our translator is excellent; on the whole, she makes less
errors than I do, although in my defence, she works from my heavily
edited English version, whereas I'm usually working from unedited
French, which give me many more things to do/check.

Despite her excellence, Therese makes occasional mistakes. We all do.
Some are simple and relatively unimportant, some are subtle and quite
important, but all are still mistakes. She's human, I'm human, and
(extrapolating from my limited sample size), so are all translators.
This returns us to the original question: how can you tell the
translation is good?

You're right that it's an unnecessary expense to translate something
twice. For quality control, it's far more useful to have a subject
matter expert skilled in the second language read the manuscript
through to be sure that it makes good sense and is still technically
accurate; someone less skilled can do other tasks, such as ensuring
that every paragraph and sentence in the original is present in the
translation (stuff gets missed sometimes, particularly under
deadline), the numbers are all the same (typos happen), and the levels
of heading are the same (easy to miss if you work with a poorly
designed spec that doesn't differentiate things well)... lots of other
stuff to do also. For final quality control, ask one or more of your
final audience to read through the translation and evaluate it for
you.

Currently, all our translations get a full edit (both substantive and
grammatical), then go to the author or his representative for a
detailed read through and confirmation of the translation. If any
questions emerge, we bounce it off a typical reader. This costs time
(thus money), but we're prepared to pay that price for quality.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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