Working on a translation project is sometimes very tiring especially when you have to deal with a specific field that requires particular attention to terminology usage. It can take all energy as you want to quickly end it as soon as possible. But as a professional translator, you must be careful and avoid delivering translation results right after you have finished all. Even though your task is only to translate, it does not mean precisely that way.
As a professional translator, preparing for document delivery is just as important as the pre-translation process. You should not rush and assume everything is fine without checking. There are checklists that are essential to ensure that you have done everything right with no or few acceptable mistakes. However, if you are an individual translator working for a direct client, perfection is not negotiable.
The reason you need the final checking before delivering translation results
A translation project often comes with specific instructions about how it should be translated. The language style, terminology, and format are a few examples that require special attention. Clients often provide a project brief, or if you are lucky, they will also provide a project package that includes the detailed requirement together with the specific do’s and don’ts, translation memory, an example of previous work, and even a terminology management system that can boost our speed and accuracy significantly.
The main reason that a translator needs to give the extra mile in his/her translation work is mainly to maintain professionalism and credibility so the project managers or clients will not lose trust in him/her.
The checklist for self-review
The purpose of the translation review is to ensure that the translation meets the quality requested by the client. The focus is on the accuracy of the translation and the correct wording according to the field and common usage.
Translation Bilingual Accuracy
The first checklist is related to bilingual accuracy pointing at least three points. The first accuracy sub-point is the understanding of the source text to make sure that the translation is free of false cognates. The false cognate or often called translation false friend is an error due to two words or terms of two languages that look similar but actually have different interpretations or usage. For example, “library” in English and “librairie” in French are two words that seem related but they are actually referring to different objects.
The second accuracy check is the uniformity of specific terms’ translations. While using CAT tools, this error can be easily minimized with translation memory and terminology management feature. Each CAT tool may have different names and technics but their purpose is the same to maintain consistency of terminology and registers.
The third sub-point of the accuracy check is on text rendering. A proper understanding of the source language is essential for a correct translation. This requires the translator to reread each segment in the source language and target language to discover if there are any errors in translation. The translator should also pay attention to the rendition in relation to the correct expressions that are widely accepted and understood by the target language speakers.
Target language accuracy check
While bilingual accuracy checks focus on the correctness of meaning and expression, the TL accuracy check is related to the properness of the writing system including spelling, grammar, punctuation, and format. In some languages, you can easily find auto grammar-checker applications on the internet. This kind of application is really helpful to find grammatical and spelling errors in the translation results.
However, if you are translating to a rare language, this kind of app is often unavailable therefore you need to give thorough grammatical and spelling checking manually. During proofreading to find these types of errors, you can also feel the appropriateness and naturalness of sentences according to the TL rules and usage.
Other than the accuracy of the content, the technical review to check the layout and format is also important for certain types of translations, including DTP translations. Some clients often require a similar layout of the file including the font type, size, bullet and numbering, specific punctuation types, and others. Moreover, translators should also be aware of the format including page breaking, page setting, widow or orphan sentences, etc.
While self-checking is a good example of professionalism, it is sometimes necessary to have another set of eyes to make sure of acceptable quality. If there is still enough time before the submission date, it will be great to ask for help from the native speaker of the TL. Regardless of giving the original source text, it is far better to ask for the native comprehension of the translated text. It is usually to find out how natural and comprehensible the text is.