In the translation industry, the translation quality has always been a top concern for clients. The reputation of translation service providers and translators often depends on the quality of the translations they provide to their clients. However, the evaluation of translation quality varies with clients' requirements, translator resources and the field involved in the documents. So, how to guarantee the translation quality, constantly improve the translation service level, and satisfy the clients? I'd like to share some of my views from both personal and corporate perspectives.
With respect to the division of labor in the translation process, in addition to the translators who are responsible for translation, there are also personnel responsible for proofreading and style polishing. I draw some lessons from my previous work experience that, in translation, we should first effectively control the translation quality on our own, rather than handing over the responsibility of quality control to the proofreader in the follow-up process. Different translators often have different working habits. Some translators are accustomed to proofreading the translated text while translating, while others prefer to proofread the full text after all translations are completed. When I was new to the translation job, I used to finish all the translations and then proofread. When encountering some incomprehensible words or sentences, I used to leave a mark. After the translation was completed, I would read through the translation and focus on the outstanding issues. Later, I discovered that we can have a better overall view after the translation is completed, and some of the previously incomprehensible problems would be "suddenly enlightened" later. However, this habit also has obvious disadvantages: It would take some time to read through the target text after the translation is completed. For document with a great deal of characters, if we conduct preliminary self-proofreading after all the translations are done, we may not be careful enough to find small problems due to constraints on time or mental efforts. More importantly, if we did not research and verify the concepts and terminology when translating, we will eventually find that researching and verifying the whole article together is very arduous.
By summing up the experience over the past few years, I think that the most effective way to ensure the translation quality may be to use the concept of "one word, one sentence, one paragraph" during translation, to proofread the translation with reference to the original text, to perform full-text polishing after completing the translation, or to make adjustments according to the document condition and client's requirements. The method is divided into three stages: First, proofread while translating: proofread the translation with reference to the original text, interpret the original correctly, and avoid stupid mistakes. Second, purely polish the translation: In the full-text checking process, read only the translation, so that we can get rid of the influence of the language habit, structure, and means of expression of the original text, and after polishing, make the translation more idiomatic, fluent, and readable in language. Third, full-text adjustment: Finally read through the client's requirements before the project is delivered. If there is any issue, communicate with the client in time and adjust accordingly. As qualified translators, we should try our best to do a good job of translation at the first stage, and try to translate each sentence well. The fewer problems left over to the next stage, the less opportunities for these issues to be ignored during proofreading and editing.
At the company level, viable translation management is the key to save cost and improve translation quality. In business translation, the translation quality is closely related to the management level throughout the translation process, not just related to the professional skill of translators or their sense of responsibility. It is difficult to define responsibilities if the responsibilities at each stage of the process are not clear. It's nice to see that the project managers I've been working with regularly check the final translation if time permits, and feed back to me to make revisions if any translation issues are discovered. In addition, the communication in each link is very smooth. The client's requirements are always passed to us accurately and timely, and we can also know the various issues that appear in the translation course accurately and timely. Moreover, the company has a rigorous evaluation system. Supervisors and project managers conduct regular and truthful evaluations based on our quality, which is helpful for us to be more aware of our shortcomings, reminding us to foster a sense of responsibility. I hope that the company further strengthen the translation process management, control the cost and strengthen the clients' confidence and trust on us through effective management and supervision.