Quality assurance is not just important in the translation process, but where a company’s image and future business prospects depend on the best translation possible, quality assurance should not be overlooked. Corporate communication, magazine articles and mass media publications only see the light of day after a process that normally involves brainstorming meetings (to set the overall agenda, generate topics and assign tasks), individual creativity (to research and write the required texts) and collective editing (to make sure that the final brochure, report or website have a single voice).
As translators, we believe that the texts we produce should always be the result of a similar process. When so much effort is devoted to the creation of a source text, it’s only logical that the text’s translation should involve a number of corresponding steps—which is why I’d like to use this blog post to describe the approach we take at Capital Language Solutions.
Any translation obviously begins with the source text.
Before we actually start to translate, we take the time to establish how this new text will fit in with our client’s overall communication strategy. For example, if we are translating individual sections of a website, we spend time looking at their entire site. We read our client’s promotional materials, see how they present themselves across other media and make sure that we understand the key points of their positioning strategy.
We ask our clients about their preferences—not just regarding specific terminology, but also in relation to their text’s register, authorial voice and target readers. This information is recorded in the form of keywords for each of our clients. For one client this might be descriptions such as “direct”, “punchy” and “powerful”, whereas for another we might use adjectives including “erudite”, “academic” and “formal”. These notes, combined with terminology and vocabulary databases, are invaluable tools when it comes to ensuring the quality of the services we provide. A translated text has to be more than just an accurate mirror of the original, it also has to reflect the fact that communication styles vary from one language to another.
We take a multi-step approach to translating and quality assurance. A single translator will produce the initial draft of a target text. Their text is then proofread and edited by a second translator. The two work together closely, clarifying any ambiguities, agreeing on improvements and approving the final version that will be read once more by one of Capital Language Solutions’ partners before it is sent on to our client.
Richard Mayda and I are not just the company’s CEOs, we are both experienced translators, language teachers and linguists. We are very much involved in the day-to-day business of our company and accept personal responsibility for the quality of the translation work our company produces, which is why our translations are as much collaborative texts as our clients’ source texts.
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