Have you ever wondered about the translations you’ve received? How can translators ensure accuracy? How do you know, as a client, that it is a good or better yet the best translation? We summarised some key points to provide some insight into that question. If you are looking to have something translated but are not sure how to choose a translator, here are some things you want to consider.
What makes a translation a good translation?
The outcome of a good translation is a document that doesn’t sound like a translation, but like an original document, written in the target language. We don’t believe in word-by-word translation.
That’s why we require our translators to be fluent in the source language and highly skilled in their native tongue, so they can understand, feel and recreate the same meaning, style, tone and nuances in the target language within a reasonable time.
How do you achieve that?
What we suggest to all translators is to read a sentence or a full paragraph, feel it and rewrite it in the target language. We all speak the source language fluently and we are all native speakers of the target language, so this process flows very naturally.
We need to understand the source language rules, such as structures, punctuation, use of pronouns, only to forget it, once we recreate our text in the second language. It needs to be correct in the target language.
Do you use any software or machine translation?
No. No. No. We all use dictionaries, websites, and all kinds of references to help us understand and check our work, but no machine, AI or any software can compare to a well prepared, experienced and focussed professional.
We have zero tolerance for the use of machine translation and we thoroughly test our candidates to make sure they work manually.
How do you approach a new project?
What makes BTO different is how we work as a team, not just in managing the group, but also in the translation process itself. When you have a large document, such as a novel, you find two different approaches.
There are those who try to find the best individual to assign the task to, who often asks for higher fees and takes all the necessary time to deliver. Then you have teams, where each professional handles a portion of the project , making the process smoother and quicker.
Both approaches have pros and cons. Finding the (one) best individual translator is not always easy and you end up having two eyes and one brain (only) on the job, at a high rate. The risk is very high. On the other hand, splitting a job into smaller tasks puts translators in the position of not having the whole project in mind, other than their part.
That’s why we at BTO chose a solution which has the best of both worlds. Finding the best professionals, and creating a project process which involves more than just one, but with very specific tasks, so that each of our colleagues still consider the whole project, from a specific point of view.
What does the project flow in BestTranslators look like?
We assign each project to a main translator. The translator delivers the project in parts for a first Quality Check. This is a quick evaluation that we often entrust to external professionals. No individual is perfect, that’s why it’s risky assigning a project to one single person.
The document then goes to the proofreader, who processes what could have been left out by the translator, such as typos, if any, better wording, and all the improvements that are necessary to make the document ready to publish. The proofreader sends us back a second rating for the translation. This means that our translators are assessed twice for each project.
Finally, the work of the proofreader is assessed in a second, independent Quality Check. This way, the project has been processed and checked by a minimum of four professionals, with three different evaluations on translation and proofreading.
It seems like a lengthy process, how do you manage deadlines?
Good quality takes time, but having different layers and levels of editing and checking actually helps make the process quicker. This is because of how our brain works. If you had to write ten pages, read back and find mistakes, knowing that no one else is going to help you, you would take a lot of time, since you’d need to be 100% sure of the outcome.
This is another negative consequence of pretending a single individual can process a translation with a perfect outcome. On the other hand, knowing you have at least another editor (the proofreader) and a network of Quality Checks and Feedbacks allows you to work more smoothly and in much less time.
We know the translation is not going to be perfect after the first step – even though we still expect a quality rating of at least 80% – but it is going to get there, and in less time.
Why choose Best Translators Online over another Translation Agency?
We prefer to consider ourselves a network of professionals, not an agency. That’s why we show our faces, as a sign of honest, human and clear commitment to achieve the best quality at a fair price.
Quality + humanity, clear processes + fair rates, independent assessments + Code of Conduct + professional commitment = Best Translators Online