Translation proofreading is a review of text to ensure the translation accurately reflects the source, and catches those damaging errors. These range from simple typos that cost creddibility (like that), to serious errors that may do harm. The classic is omitting “not” (yes, it happens – and yes, we also proofread English).
Translation proofreading also fixes any translator’s misunderstanding of text. English is often ambiguous, and loosely phrased. If the translator isn’t really familiar with your material, misinterpretation is all too easy. That’s another great reason to build a long-term relationship with one provider, instead of bouncing between the cheapest quotes as less experienced language buyers will tend to do.
It also catches not quite right synonyms. All languages have words that mean almost, but not quite, the same thing. Getting it wrong can range from the grating to the hilarious, but almost always the unwanted. Translation proofreading ensures it’s right.
Back-translation is much more thorough (and so also costs more). Instead of just reviewing text, back-translation re-translates the translation back into the original language. The goal is to provide confidence (or not) in the absolute correctness of translation, so back-translation must always be by an independent translator. Back-translation needs a translator who really understands your material, and that’s often hard for smaller providers to find from their limited pool. With over 3,500 experienced mother-tongue qualified translators, we can help.
Independent mother-tongue translation proofreading is highly recommended where text is for legal or medical use or for publication. But it’s a good idea anywhere that text errors could cause serious problems.
We work with leading examination providers to make sure questions are clear and unambiguous and use the right terminology – essential for example for candidates who are taking health & safety qualifications. And our high-quality translation proofreading of the candidate answers translated by our client’s in-country partners ensure assessment is fair.
Back translation is about establishing – or not – confidence, and can be very revealing. Back-translating a contract that a client had asked his agent to translate, to the client’s surprise we found whole clauses had been re-written in the agent’s favour!
Back-translation can have serious impacts. That means you should only use very well-trusted and professionally-qualified experienced translators, mother-tongue in the source language. Here again, it’s essential to use a partner with a wide enough pool of good translators.