What is a Quality Translation?

Effective global marketers will communicate with their clients in their local language, English is no longer the universal language!

quality_ribbonWhen you’re ready to take your brand worldwide, you need to consider the consequences of not doing so in your target customer’s language. As emerging economies expand, consumers will continue to demand everything on their own terms – including a preference for communicating in their own language. World-class companies not only rely on precise translations, but on well-tuned and well-timed localizations to differentiate themselves.


The Human Touch: Translators are not robots

Quality translations are best delivered when using qualified human translators, not machine translations. Even in this age of technology, no software can replace human judgment in considering the complexity of language and providing a nuanced translation that accurately represent the source document’s content, tone, intent, and the grammar (genders, tenses, etc.), while avoiding localization blunders.



Technology: friend or foe?

While free translation software may be helpful to understand a content’s gist, it is based on algorithms and is prone to miss or ignore industry terms, context, gender, localizations and basic expressions. It should not be relied on for quality translations.

However, there is a place for technology in the translation industry.  The right type of technology assists human translators in delivering quality translations. Known as Computer Assisted Translation, or CAT, this type of translation helps by leveraging previous translations. CAT Tools maintain glossaries and previously translated content. These tools allows experienced translators both to expedite the translation process and to maintain consistency across documents, thus accelerating deliveries and improving consistency.

In summary, technology can assist translators but cannot take their place!



Professionalism: First impressions only happen once, so go with an expert

Only formally-trained, professional, and native translators should work on your client-facing translations. Though many people are multilingual, most are not qualified to do translations. Use experienced, trained linguists for your translation needs. Work with credentialed, certified partners, such as members of the ATA (American Translators Association).

If your translations are not performed by a qualified professional, there is considerable risk to you and your brand! You may provide content that is inaccurate, unclear or misleading.  You can easily alienate or lose clients due to the inability to communicate with them.



Native proficiency: Mother tongue equals higher quality

Languages are constantly evolving, and native speakers are the best resources in their own language. Even the best student of a foreign language can never have the depth of knowledge or understanding of nuance and tone that a native speaker brings with them from their own experience and a lifetime of immersion in the language.  Not only do languages differ from country to country where they’re spoken, but they keep changing. For example, if we look back at some of the English used every day in the U.S., we can realize how much our words have changed, even in the past 5-10 years. The words “hashtag” and “cloud” have new meanings in modern society that they did not have as recently as 2000. A native speaker of American English needs to stay in touch with how the language is changing; this is true of native speakers of languages all around the world.



Conclusion: Translation is a $40 billion industry for a reason

Translations consist of more than just moving from source to target language. It involves localization, matching talents, project management, office/agency quality controls to ensure on-time delivery and so on. You need a professional language services provider who primarily utilizes human linguists to get the job done right.


Foreign Translations is a professional translation services company serving clients nationwide since 1998. The company specializes in language solutions in the fields of document translation, localization services, desktop publishing (DTP), OPI and much more! Using advanced software and top-notch human linguistic experts around the world, FT enables their clients to reach target audiences in the language(s) and channels deemed necessary for their success.
Contact FT today.

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One thought on “What is a Quality Translation?

  1. Pingback: AirBnB’s folly in China | Foreign Translations Blog

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