Understanding the Translation Process

Many clients who use translation services have a limited understanding of the processes their documents, advertising, text, website or other copy will go through while being translated.

This knowledge gap can lead to misunderstandings, delays in translation, or potential unseen cost increases, so it is vital that a clear understanding of the translation process is available for those using the service.

This blog aims to enlighten those using (or thinking about using) translation services and will explore what translation is, what the procedure involves, and the different processes a translation will undergo.


What is Translation?

Translation is the process of communicating a message from one language (the source) to another (the target).

This translation isn’t usually a word for word change (as this very often makes no literal sense) but is instead, the adaption of an overall message, or meaning, taking into account factors such as, regional difference in language, dialect and culture.

Translation is the written form, as opposed to Interpretation, which is the spoken form.


How Translation Works

Nowadays, translation is often completed with the help of Computer Assisted Translation tools (CAT).

These tools allow for a faster translation, through dividing the document into smaller sections, which can then be translated using CAT tools such as, Translation Memory (TM) and terminology recall, which allow the translation provider to reuse previously translated content in the new project.

Other tools such as, glossaries and termbases can help with automation, making the procedure faster and more accurate, as it means each common phrase or term does not need to be translated over and over again.

Translation tools, such as CAT, have become a vital part of the translation industry.

Where possible, translations should be completed by a native speaker of the target language as this will give a more precise, effective language to the translation.


Editing Translations

Once a text or document has been translated, it then goes through an editing process.

In the translation industry, this is basically a review of the first stage of the translation. The source (original) text will be examined and then compared to the target (new) translation.

This stage is completed by a different translator to the one who performed the actual translation, as editing your own work is not a failsafe method.

The editing team will also use some translation tools in order to check the translation is a faithful representation of the original, that there are no missing sections or mistakes, and that the client’s guidelines have been adhered to.

This process may be completed in parts (without the whole document being checked) until the final editing process when the overall translation package is verified.


Proofreading Translations

This is the final stage for any translation project, once the translation and editing have been completed, therefore, the original text is rarely consulted at this stage.

Proofreading will check for spelling mistakes, inconsistent punctuation and grammar, and any other discrepancies or errors. It is essential that this part of the translation process is completed by a native speaker, as a high level of linguistic accuracy and attention to detail are required.

Document formatting should also be tested at this stage, alongside cultural relevance and correctness of images, fonts, lexical choice, and so on.


As you can see from the above, all three stages of the translation process are of vital importance to the whole procedure – missing any one of these steps can lead to an erroneous translation.

If you plan to use a translation provider it is worth asking about the process your translation will undergo, and check that each of these stages are followed accordingly.

Creative Word are more than happy to discuss any potential translations to ensure customer satisfaction, and professional translations every time.

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