Checklist for a Well-Translated Document

Standard practice in the translation industry is to review your work before accepting the final document. Usually, you have a limited period to re-submit the material for revisions or to raise any queries. Some clients might receive poor work unknowingly, especially if they are unfamiliar with the target language.

Although there are elaborate and sometimes expensive methods of evaluating a translated material, there are also soft reviews for any client. It helps to keep your quality checks even when you have a professional translator. In this article, we discuss seven elements to look out for in your final document.

  1. File format

Do you need your work in PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, XML, or plain text? Each of these files has different features, and compatibility might not work well. Elements such as tables and text styles are different for each type.

  1. Reference material and terminology database

The references in the original and translated order should match. Keep your translator furnished with such details.  Other crucial factors are terminologies and glossaries. Your professional company should also be aware of common databases in technical writing.

  1. Grammar

Spellings and typos are common grammatical errors in documents. Other mistakes such wordy phrases, wrong punctuations, word usage affect the flow of material. A quick run through a spellchecker could help you spot these anomalies.

Remember that you might need your translator to do manual editing. A document that is edited by a human eye gives a higher level of accuracy that a machine-translated one. That is why The Word Point (another review here) meets client needs comfortably by relying on human editors.

  1. Formatting

Unless necessary, your translator should keep the format close to the original material. This aspect makes the two documents comparable and easy to understand. Do not ignore changes in bullets, numbering, dates, or image alignment.

In some instances, changing the format makes the final document attractive. Instead of retaining a design that does not accommodate word expansions and contractions, your translator might play around with the layout. Allow such flexibilities.

  1. Sentence structure

A native person should feel that the material is in their original language. Here, specific rules and principles in linguistics should apply. A well-translated order should be void of the word-for-word translations and complex expressions.

Are you familiar with the translated language? Can you quickly tell if the text makes sense? If not, and when in doubt, seek a second opinion from a native speaker.

  1. Graphics and illustrations

Are the visuals culturally acceptable to the target audience? For example, a picture showing a male doctor attending to a female patient may be unacceptable in some cultures. Also, ensure that the graphics and illustrations are in context. Moreover, most importantly, the source and final document should have the same or near similar visual presentations.

  1. Content

Every aspect of retaining the originality of the source language primarily preserves the message. Both documents should convey the same message to different audiences. Ensure that you introduce no new content. Also, check for omissions and mistranslations.

However, there are instances when text can assume different meanings. Here, you should consider content cohesion. Where there is a dispute between you and the translator, let the translator use the right words as they are in their area of expertise.

  1. Consistency

Inconsistent keywords or phrases can confuse an audience. If your document is introducing new information, ensure that you do not lose the readers by using different texts.

Kudos! Getting your material translated is the most substantial part of the work. Nevertheless, you must do a review for quality assurance. Use the above seven tips at any level of language proficiency. If you are still dissatisfied, enlist a linguistic professional to go through your content before accepting the final document.