The Ultimate Checklist for Translators

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Checklist for Translators


There are several widely-held myths about translation . Many mistakenly assume it’s an easy process that simply involves scanning a text and producing it in another language. In fact, translation requires skill, expertise, time, effort and research. In order to produce a professional translation, a linguist should follow quality and technological standards. Like most jobs, it requires going through a checklist to ensure quality and accuracy.


Want to become a translator? Are you currently working for a translation agency? Here’s a translation checklist to help you deliver a high-quality translation service:


1. Revise your Project

When you receive a translation assignment from your project manager, make sure to properly revise the instructions that came with the job. You don’t want to get involved in something you don’t understand. Double-check the client’s briefing to confirm everything is clear and then verify that all appropriate files and documents are attached.


2. Consider the Context

When it comes to translation, context is king. Professional translators are usually experts in particular fields so make sure that the project you receive is right up your street. Always confirm that you are comfortable and familiar with the subject matter of the document. You should be able to not only accurately translate the words, but the context, too. Each industry has its own lingo and jargon – do you understand the terminology? Are you experienced in that specific field? Ignored context always results in a translation gone wrong so let your project manager know if you’re uncomfortable with the job.


3. Do Your Research

You may be an expert in a particular industry but sometimes, you need that extra bit of guidance. Once you know the subject matter of the source text, do some research about it. Are you reviewing a restaurant? Scan the internet for its competitors and have a look at their use of terminology and language style. Will you be writing about a new technology? Identify relevant reference sources online as well as related websites. These are a good starting point in providing excellent translations.


4. Provide Personality

A document that has been translated word for word is never appreciated. Try to give the content some personality and perhaps even a little twist when translating it from one language to another. A skilled translator will translate a text as though it is the final product. Of course, you need the source text as a basis but at one point, you should distance yourself from it in order to give the final piece some character and individuality. Unless requested by the client, translating a document word for word will appear lazy and careless. Give yourself a good reputation by adding some flow and creativity to your text.


5. Be Consistent

Received another project? Have you worked for this client before? It is essential that you are consistent in your translations. Most clients expect consistency in the work produced. They want to protect their brand and avoid confusing the reader. It’s therefore recommended that you stick to the same writing style and use similar terminology and phrases. Use the same tone throughout the text and never ignore the translation memory. This tool helps determine similarities between the new content and any previously translated words and phrases, saving you time and ensuring brand consistency for the client.


6. Give Feedback

Want to be perceived as an efficient and serious translator? Provide feedback! If you find any errors or problems with the source text or if you notice that there are inaccuracies in the translation memory, inform your project manager. If word count or due dates is a concern, let them know. Honesty really is the best policy. You don’t want to rush a job and give yourself a bad reputation. It’s also a great idea to leave notes or comments when delivering the document regarding wording, format or other important linguistic components. Feedback is always appreciated by the project manager and the client as it helps them improve and build quality in the long-run.


7. Proofread

Finished your translation? Brilliant! Now it’s time to proofread your own work. Start by spellchecking and correcting any typos. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often this gets forgotten by writers and translators. Once you’ve checked that it’s free of spelling and grammatical errors, read over your document and compare it to the source text to make sure you haven’t forgotten or mistranslated anything. Do not ignore your CAT tool when it detects missing text, untranslated segments, empty space or missing words and numbers. You should also ensure that you haven’t got any repeated phrases. The translation memory tool comes in handy but you need to check that you do not use the same vocabulary or phrase more than once. The final document has to make sense in the target language and read as though it was originally written in that language. Summing up, it should act as a stand-alone document.
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