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The 6 Laws of Quality Translation


To wisely compare translation agencies, focus on their quality process— to receive the best final product. After all, your company’s name will be on it.

Keeping these six items in mind will help you make the best selection:

1. Only Humans Can Perform Quality Translations

Languages are complex. Software and website programs that instantly translate text are 40-50% inaccurate and should only be used to identify general ideas. Translations must be performed by humans since judgment is essential.

Separately, the agency should use memory software such as TRADOS. It’ll keep the terminology consistent and track previously-translated items. It ensures items are translated the same every time. This should also reduce costs because you’re charged a reduced rate for repeated terms.

2. Quality Translations Should Be Performed By Formally-Trained Translation Professionals

Using people not formally trained results in sometimes subtle, but significant errors. While many people are multilingual, this doesn’t necessarily qualify them to translate materials. Don’t risk it— insist on experienced and trained translation professionals.

3. Quality Translations Should Be Performed by a Native Speaker

Only native-speaking translators living in the country of the “target” language— the language being translated into— can provide quality translations. Since language constantly evolves, when people reside in countries other than their native country, their familiarity of their language erodes.

4. Beware of Too-Good-to-Believe Prices

You can’t afford mistakes. And no qualified, educated and experienced translator accepts projects for pennies per word— neither should you. Translation shouldn’t be considered a commodity. When comparing price, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. How many years of experience do the translation professionals have? What services are included in the price? Often, agencies charge extra for items such as project management.

5. Quality Translations Should Be Performed By Translators with Subject-Specific Experience

Do the agency’s translators have industry-specific experience as it relates to your project? Only translators with a legal background should perform legal translations; only translators with an engineering background should translate technical documents— and so on.

6. Quality Translations Are Reviewed By Two or More Translators

Quality translations are always reviewed by several qualified translation professionals. Every project should be translated by one translator, edited and proofread by a second, then reviewed a third time by a project manager before delivery to you— error-free.


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