translation quality

In the same way any professional publication is scrutinized and edited after a rough draft is written, any quality translation is proofread and edited to ensure accuracy, tone and style all meet desired intent of the content.

The subjective nature of language both requires feedback and challenges the linguists to negotiate a consensus. An idea can be communicated multiple ways and a statement can mean multiple things depending on culture, dialect, context and intent.

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings especially true for translation quality. With decades of experience handling millions of translation projects, LanguageLine has learned that these six tools are essential to resolving issues and ensuring translation quality.

  1. Terminology Database: Correct, appropriate, and consistent use of terminology, whether it be specific to an industry, product, or SAP application is vital to the acceptance of any translated material. When time permits, create a list of such terms with proposed translations for each. Once the terms and their translations are approved by in-country review teams, the translated terminology list will be incorporated into the client’s translation memory, thereby becoming an essential tool that is updated and maintained with each subsequent project.
  2. Glossary of Terms: A glossary of terms is similar to a terminology list but also includes client-approved definitions. Providing definitions will assist the translation team in finding the most appropriate translations for terms that can often be highly technical or obscure.
  3. Style and Brand Guides: Style and brand guides that specify tone (e.g., formal versus conversational), hyphenation, formatting, units of measure, “do not translate” requirements, and other client-specific usages are also highly recommended. Such guides are essential in ensuring that our translations match the usage of your in-house writers.
  4. Translation Memory: Translation memory tools produce significant benefits when executing projects for lines of business that must communicate using consistent style, terminology and tone (by re-using previously approved content). LanguageLine was a very early adopter of this technology because it can also generate significant cost savings by reducing the number of words translated. When designing an enterprise-level translation and localization program, LanguageLine first works with clients to determine how translation memory should be structured. For example, is one TM per language pair sufficient, or do specific lines of business each need their own individual TM? Can multiple TMs be sequenced and leveraged to achieve optimal results? Translation memory is then accessed by linguists for each project as appropriate.
  5. Context and Technology: As important as any factor influencing quality and accuracy of translation is the context of the content, particularly in software. While it is extra work on the front end, providing screen captures to reference along with the source strings is an effective way of providing context to the translators and will save significant time and effort on the back end. Alternatively, there are software tools available for purchase that provide varying levels of visual context during the translation process. 
  6. Workflow: Establishing when in-country or end user review will happen up front is necessary to set up the process and reviewers for success. The reviewers will need access to linguistic assets, be aligned with overall goals and objectives of the project and understand how to provide feedback in a constructive and useful way.
READ MORE: The Difference Between Interpretation and Translation

By establishing and maintaining these assets and processes, the highest quality translations and continuous improvement over time will enable effective communication in any language.

READ MORE: What Content Should Your Organization Translate During the COVID-19 Health Emergency?

LanguageLine Can Help

LanguageLine searches the world for the finest linguists to add to our team. The fruit of this search shows up in our 98.5 percent customer satisfaction rate over thousands of projects handled each year. We can easily translate any type of content to help grow your business, increase efficiency, and strengthen compliance.

Our translation services are used across multiple industries, including business, health care, financial services, insurance, and government.

We are proud to serve and happy to discuss any project that may require translation. Please contact us at 800.878.8523 or