Guide – Buying Translations Services

High Quality Translation and Interpretation Services

In order to keep the process of buying translation services a trouble-free and pleasant experience for you, we offer a few suggestions for you to follow.

Translation Project Management

The 6 steps that will make your translation project run smoothly

Plan ahead. Include translation as an element of your project and not at the end of production. This will anticipate costs and keep you on budget!

Have a final version of the document to be translated revised for content, before you submit it for translation.

Provide background information that may be useful to the translator for consistency in style and terminology. This may include previous translations, glossaries, terminology databases, published information about the product or service and the organization’s website address. This information may prove to be extremely helpful to the project’s success.

If the source text has illustrations, provide them to the translator. It may assist him/her to understand ambiguities in the text that otherwise may not be noticed.

Allow enough time for the translation to be completed, give realistic timelines.

Establish a contact person to answer the translator’s questions. An inquisitive translator is an asset to the project.

Guide - Buying Translation Services

Project Information

Provide your translation Project Manager with detailed information about the project.

Detailed Parameters at:
Structured Specifications and Translation Parameters

Source Document
Write with the translation in mind. A good source text (well written, legible) is the first step for a good translation. Avoid jargon and keep the technical terminology consistent. For abbreviations, always include the meaning.

Target Document
Remember that the text may expand in translation, you need to take this into account when writing and doing the layout. In some cases you may need up to 40% more space in the target language. If the document already exists, be prepared to adapt it and change the format to fit the new text.

Target Audience
Inform the translation provider who would be the target audience and what is the intention of the text. Do not assume the target readership for your translation will be similar to the original (level of education, cultural background, income, etc).

Use For The Translation
For information (internal use) or for publication (brochures, manuals, websites).

Required Method of Presentation
File format, delivery requirements, special formatting.

Deadlines
Create realistic deadlines. How much time did you spend creating the original text? A translator may need the same amount of time to translate it.
A translator can produce between 1500-2500 words per day, this varies according to length, complexity, and familiarity with the source text. However, a translation process that includes quality assurance measures goes beyond the “number of words” calculation. (Translation Workflow)

Revision

The translation is revised through our Translation Workflow, as part of our Quality Assurance Policy.

In a situation when the client wishes to revise the text in-house, there are some rules that should be followed to ensure changes are competent and appropriate to the content of the text.

The ideal situation would be to have a translator revise the document. However, if a “staff member” or a “field expert” is making the revision, we would advise the client to ensure the reviser is completely fluent in the target language, has post-secondary education in the target language, excellent knowledge of the source language and applied terminology in both languages. We would also advise the client to ask the reviser to follow our guidelines on Revision Guidelines.

After all changes/suggestions are implemented, our translator and/or reviser will complete and deliver the final document. They may reserve the right to decline suggested changes if they feel it may compromise the validity of the document.

Quality Assurance vs Quality Control

Quality
“The totality of characteristics of an entity that bear on its ability to satisfy stated and implied needs.” (ISO 8402)

Quality Assurance
The overall process used to create the deliverables.

There are 3 elements to consider when evaluating a QA process for translation:

Provider: physical or legal person providing the service
Process: steps used to produce the Target Text (TT)
Product: translation itself

The assessment method is different for each and depends on the desired outcome.

Translation Quality
Degree to which the characteristics of a translation fulfill the requirements of the agreed upon specifications.

Quality Control
Refers to specific activities within the project that verify the quality of the project deliverables – the result of the project.

Quality Control is but one step in the quality assurance (QA) process. QA implies that quality awareness governs all aspects of the project from start to finish while it is being carried out. Translation QA includes writing clear translation specifications and adhering to them throughout the process. QC consists of random sampling or a full check of final deliverables or both as the last step in the process. If QA process are properly implemented, the QC step is short and simple.

Quality Control vs Quality Assurance:

Managing quality on a project requires the understanding of what quality means for the client. Quality expectations in translation vary widely from one client to the next, from one project manager to the next, and from one translator to the next. Therefore a proactive plan to define, manage and meet quality expectations is key. Such plan should include elements of quality control and quality assurance.

Quality Control refers to specific activities within the project that verify the quality of the project deliverables (the result of the project). In general, deliverables should be of acceptable quality, complete, and accurate. In translation, editing and proofreading are quality control activities, managed by the project manager, but executed by professional translators. Their goal is to ensure that the product (the translation) meets predefined standards. If standards are not met, corrective actions need to be taken.

Other examples of quality control activities include in-country review and localization testing. In-country review of translation by the client is performed by native speakers of the target language employed, hired, or somehow associated with the client in the target country; they review a translation and submit change requests to the translation team. Localization testing may involve, for instance, that translators spend time at the client site checking the functionality and appearance of localized (adapted and translated) software.

Quality Assurance refers to the overall process used to create the deliverables. Rather than the quality of the results that the project will output, quality assurance looks at the quality of the processes involved in creating those results. In general, quality assurance involves a set of planned and systematic activities to ensure that quality is built into the process by clearly identifying the quality expectations, designing a process that can meet such requirements, and performing checks to verify that such expectations are met.

Some components of translation quality are measurable while others are not. It is very easy to measure errors in a controlled language environment (non subjective texts) while it is harder to obtain metrics for literary translations. Text types that fall between these two extremes need to be treated carefully to make sure a cost efficient and appropriate QA and QC method is used.

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