What is Meant by Quality Assurance in Translation?

Global communication has never been more important than now and that means that translators are busy helping aid communication wherever there is a language barrier. If your business or organisation needs a lot of translation done for them, then you will want to be assured of the quality of the translation. Good translators and translation companies ensure they have effective translation quality assurance steps embedded in how they deal with translation requests. How can you be sure that a translator you approach does take quality assurance seriously?

Translation quality depends on a number of factors being present. The most important ones are described below.

1. Language fluency is essential

You should expect that the translator you have given your work to has the necessary fluency in your own language as well as the language you want your documents or material translated into. You don’t want someone who is able to translate English and Spanish as a language pair to tackle Portuguese unless they definitely state that they are proficient in that language as well. Language fluency does not include depending on computer tools like Google Translate, which is only suitable for amateur or non essential translation tasks.

2.  Subject matter knowledge may be needed

While some translators may profess to be ‘generalists’ many others will specialise in one type of translation task or another. It is important that for quality assurance purposes that the translator you use is familiar with the subject matter and terminology used in the document or text you want translating. There are specialised legal translators, medical translators, scientific translators, literary translators and marketing translators just to mention a few.

3. Check for national standards in translation quality.

Many countries have developed standards that govern translation quality. In the E.U., for example, EN 10538 is the standard used by the European Committee for Standardisation in Translation. Not all translators are capable of providing the assurance that meets this standard. In Australia, many translations must by law be performed by professional translators who have been accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). These sorts of examples are ways in which the client seeking a translation can be more confident that its quality is what they expect to obtain.

4.  Quality assurance provided by internal editing and proofreading 

Good translators and translation agencies ensure that there is a system in place to check all translated documents. This may or may not mean that more than one person is involved in the translation as well as the all important editing and proofreading phases, but without the latter two steps, there is no guarantee that the translation performed is accurate or modified in such a way that it matches who the eventual readers are.

How to Make Money From Proofreading

If you are the sort of person who hates seeing any errors in text and the mistakes standout so that the text doesn’t read well you could earn extra money in proofreading because today there is high demand for quality texts. The only way this can be achieved is by thoroughly proofreading and correcting errors found in texts. 

What Is Proofreading?

There is a misconception that all proofreaders need to be qualified with an English degree or even have special certification proving their skills as a proof reader. A proofreader’s job is to ensure that the message in a text is consistent and clear.

The job of a proofreader is to:

● Correct mistakes such as grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting

● Highlight possible ambiguities in a text  

● Follow any style guides provided by the writer and ensure consistency

● Keep the writer’s message and style intact.

The equipment required by a proof reader

You won’t need specialized equipment and you don’t generally require special subject matter skills but what you require is:

● A computer

● An internet link

● Flexibility to work when required 

● Ability to focus on detail

● Prepared to work alone

● A natural ability to work with text.

One of the most important features of a good proof reader is an excellent command of the English language. This typically means recognising obvious grammar errors and being familiar with correct spelling and correct use of punctuation. For example, you should be able to recognize mistakes such as when a writer has incorrectly used both present and past tenses in the same sentence.

Because proofreading is a job that’s often given to freelancers you should have the ability to manage time well and not need to be prompted by clients who haven’t received the work by an agreed deadline. This gives you the best chance to earn extra money in proofreading.

The sorts of text that commonly needs proofreading includes:

● Blog posts

● Website content

● Guides, books & catalogues

● Ebooks

● Magazine and Journal articles

● Reports

● White papers

● Academic essays and dissertations papers

● Sales and marketing material

● Flyers and brochures

Where to get work

There are many websites that advertise to help you to earn extra money in proofreading. Some are sites that post job adverts while other sites are open for bids for jobs.

For proofreading work these are some businesses that advertise for proofreaders:

● Indeed

● Craigslist (writing/editing section)

● Upwork

● FlexJobs

● Freelance Writing (they post proofreading jobs)

● Fiverr

Potential proofreaders with a high-level academic background such as possessing a masters or PhD, there are editing agencies that are able to match proofreaders with suitable clients.

Translators are Vanguards for Literary Change

Some people may believe that a translation is just a word by word translation of a text, but Venuti, alongside other theorists, believes a translation is not just a semantic transferral of meaning shared with 2 languages but translating is a literary and cultural process which comes under the influence of many factors that helps to determine its outcome. 

In the end, a vanguard English translation is an interpretation by the translator influenced by many things, either conscious or unconscious which have a profound effect on the final vanguard translation. It could be literary, cultural, linguistic, historical, psychological, cultural, or societal factors and they could influence several different translators in different ways and at different times.  

There are a lot of prizes awarded in the book world. Some exist not just to reward a single individual each year, but also to enhance what we should place value on the most and what should be emphasised more than anything else. That is all part of vanguard English.

More than 50 percent of the translated books submitted for the British Translators Association’s (TA’s) 1st translation awards are firsts for their translators as well as being English-language debuts for the books’ authors. This shows that translators are definitely in the vanguard group for a literary change. In fact, one of the shortlisted books called ‘The Sad Part’ which was written by Prabda Yoon, was the 1st book of modern era Thai fiction to be published in Britain.

Of the TA translation awards for a change on the 6 book shortlist there were 5 books translated by women, which is quite an achievement as usually for every one book translated by a woman there are 2 translated by male translators. 

Literary translation isn’t an easy profession to become a part of, because there is so much competition for work.  To make matters worse publishers prefer to entrust any book translations to translators who are known to them and who aren’t such a risk. However, there are so many advantages of broadening the pool of translators, one of which is the introducing of new writers who want their work translated into other languages.

Can Translation Quality be Measured by Numbers?

There is always some way of measuring translation quality. Some translators agree that it’s possible to do this by counting the number of mistakes. There is one problem with this method and that is some errors are more important than others.  A better way of doing it would be to measure the errors on the amount of impact they have on the meaning of the text. If the number of mistakes were rated as high that would mean the translation would have a possible serious effect on its intended meaning. 

If the number of mistakes was rated as medium this could have an effect on the reputation of the person or business whose has requested the translation because the meaning of the translation is unclear to the likely reader. If the number of mistakes is low the translation would not have a serious effect on anyone whether it’s the reader or the reputation of the person who ordered the translation

Using Numbers to Measure Translation Quality

Once a high, medium or low is given to the translation a number 10 could be allocated to high, the number 5 for medium and a number 1 for low.. You can then times the low error number by 1, the medium errors by 5 and the high errors by 10 and finally add them up together. Some sort of weighting would have to be allocated otherwise the scores wouldn’t be fair for long passages. The easiest way to achieve this  could probably be a by working out a direct percentage of the number of  words in the passage. By doing this you could get a score that will allow you to compare for example the accuracy of 2 five thousand worded passages.

However, there are other measures apart from using a number translator such as if a perfect piece of translation was delivered without one error but the translation wasn’t completed by the deadline  that action has meant the translation quality hasn’t been met. There is more to translation quality than the number of mistakes.

Using numbers is also limited by the interpretation of a translator’s style as it’s hard to gage the quality of a translation when it comes to the style of the translator. 


Australia Issues New Interpretation Standards as Linguistic Diversity Grows

One of the most important features of any country is ensuring that each of its citizens understand each other. Many countries like Australia have experienced in recent years a marked change in the linguistic diversity of the country.  This sort of situation makes it increasingly more difficult for successful communication to take place in all areas of life and as a stop gap in places like courts and hospitals it’s important to seek out interpreters who can act as the go between when it comes to communication. 

The Australian government is taking this matter seriously and is offering some solution to the problem of misunderstanding in key situations. In September 2017 a 100 page document was released by the Justice of Western Australia and Chair of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity (JCCD). This presents in detail the way interpreters should be selected and that’s based on their skill levels and experience. It also provides appropriate guidance on the professional conduct that can take place when dealing with  people who have limited or no English proficiency. This is particularly important in criminal cases where complete understanding between the police, the defendant and the court system and is essential. 

At the same time the government is making this National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) in Australia is undertaking changes in the certification process of interpreters who wish to take on professional work. One of the proposed amendments NAATI is starting to introduce throughout the nation which isn’t being treated too favourably by the interpreting community is a path towards certification for specialists in the legal and health sectors where cross linguistic and cross-cultural understanding is the greatest.

Proposed standards offered by the JCCD involve using 4 language tiers for contracting interpreting services by state courts.

● The 1st tier is for15 languages which include Aslan, the sign language used by the Australian deaf community.

● The 2nd tier is 43 languages.

● The 3rd tier is 15 languages and 28 indigenous languages. 

● The last tier is 8 indigenous languages

The JCCD states that if there are gaps in the availability and qualifications of interpreters in each of the tiers and in specific languages it will allow a trial to be deferred until an interpreter can travel from another place to do the interpreting. 

All proceedings in courts in Australia take place in English. This means those that have limited knowledge of the language are disadvantaged. The JCCD initiative is a way of ensuring basic human rights for people who need representation in court but can’t speak up fluently for themselves. 


A Guide to the Highest Paying Translation Languages in the World

How much you may get paid as a translator will depend on the demand for the languages you specialize in and the ease of accessing a translator to do the work. How much is paid may depend on whether you work for a translation agency or as a freelancer.  It is possible to grade the highest paying translation languages in terms of the amount a translator gets paid approximately per annum for working as a full time translator. The details are outlined below and the figures are in British pounds.

1. German is ranked as the highest paid for translators and language translation and a German translator can expect to attract an annual income of £34,000 approximately. There is a high demand for German translators in Britain due to the importance of the business and financial relationship that exists between Britain and Germany.

2. Arabic comes in at a close second with a fluent English Arabic translator attracting £34,121. 

3. Despite France being close to Britain there is still little fluency among the citizens of the two countries in the two languages. There is an active commercial relationship ion existence between the two countries so a good translator can expect to earn around £32,636 per annum.

4. Dutch attracts an annual salary of about £29,523 with there being many jobs available for those fluent in Dutch and English. 

5. Spanish is a language which is spoken in many parts of the world ranging from the United States of America to Mexico, Spain, Central American countries such as Honduras and Guatemala and most South American countries. Any fluent English to Spanish translator can expect good remuneration for his or her work.

6. Russian is emerging as an important world language and a good Russian to English translator and vice versa can expect to earn £28,658 per annum. The skills required are mainly to do with financial services.

7. Italian is a sought after language too and a good translator can expect to earn up to £28,523.

8. Mandarin (Chinese) is spoken by more people than any other language, but it’s only in recent years that this has reached global significance, especially with the development of industry in China and the rise in the export sector. Today, an experienced Mandarin to English translator can expect to receive a 5 figure salary at around £28,168.

So if you haven’t decided on a career yet but you are learning to become fluent in two languages you may consider language translation as a possible career option.  


Who Can Translate My Documents Into English For Me?

These days, despite the fact there is a greater movement of people around the world than has ever been seen before, it doesn’t mean that documents such as passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates are in the language of the country you intend to visit or reside.  If you are seeking permission to work or even apply for permanent residency you will be asked to provide the relevant documentation in English, otherwise your application may be delayed even denied. 

In most cases you will need to hire a translator who has experience in translating the types of documents you want translated. It’s not sensible to choose the cheapest translator, as if there are any faults found in the translation, it might be rejected. If you are going to Australia to work, Border Force, the agency responsible for immigration, will only accept translations into English that have been completed by a translator or translation services that has been approved to conduct translations. 

Your local Australian embassy or consulate keeps a list of approved translators, one of which you must use. The mission will certify the translation so it can be used with future passport applications, wherever they are lodged.

If you are getting your documents translated in Australia because you are already in the country at the time of your application, you are required to get your translations into English completed by a NAATI accredited translator . NAATI is the official body in Australia that oversees the quality of translation services by conducting courses and examinations for translators. An accredited NAATI translator can usually do a good job translating a document. The Department of Home Affairs also offers translating services into English for a fee. In New South Wales, the Community Relations Commission (CRC) for a Multicultural NSW has a team of NAATI accredited translators on its payroll. Translations that are placed on CRC letterhead which have been certified as exact translations of the document(s), and include the translator’s ID number, are acceptable.

Translating documents into English in the U.S. isn’t quite so difficult as Australia as you can choose any translator to complete the task. If the receiver is a government body the translator must write out his or her own certification and sign it to say the translation is accurate.


What Is Technical Translation?

Technical translation is a specialised branch of translation which involves the translation of technical documents from one language into another. By technical documents may be meant medical, scientific, engineering documents and any other documents that may require a specialised knowledge of the subject and its terminology.

The degree of difficulty involved depends on the subject matter. This can vary immensely from short descriptions of how to use a particular drug through to lengthy scientific research papers and technical manuals.

Generally, it would be expected that technical translation is done by technical translators. These may be freelancers who have started their career in a particular technical field, such as the medical profession, then diverted into translation at some point. Technical translation agencies may provide different types of technical translation to suit most needs.

Technical translation is difficult work and requires a level of accuracy that may not be necessary in other types of translation. Technical translators are usually already well qualified in their particular field and tend to expect a higher rate of payment for their work than more general translators.

In addition to the higher cost of technical translation it would be expected that the turnaround time for technical translation would be longer than for simpler translation tasks.

Perhaps surprisingly, it may be noted that technical translation tasks lend themselves more readily to automated translation software than other types of translation. This is because the language tends to be highly structured without room for personal nuance. The language used, whatever the actual language will always be the standard language used in the country, not a local dialect. The text will not be subject to colloquialisms and subjective expression. The use of translation memory (TM) and glossaries, while not replacing the value of the technical translator, serve to speed up translation, provide a level of consistency in multiple translation tasks and overall provide a cheaper, yet no less accurate product.

Importance of Quality in the Translation Industry

Innovation in Translation, Quality of Translation

The quality of a translation is an important part of the translation process. This means a good translator won’t just carry out a translation and then close down his or her computer. The best ones will double-check their translations. This means checking for accuracy in grammar and spelling and this doesn’t mean using a computerised tool to do the job but actually carrying out a check manually is necessary to ensure every aspect of the translation is correct. As well as checking the basic accuracy facts need to be verified too. After this the translator has to carefully read the translated text and make sure it fits the targeted audience. Due to the importance of quality of translation a translator usually takes every translation through several draft stages before submitting it to the project’s manager who will approve the translation before it’s sent onto the client. 

The process of ensuring a quality translation.

The proof reader comes first and checks for typos, problematic layouts and mistakes in grammar and spelling. The editor is next in line and he or she concentrates on the fluency and style of the translation ensuring it feels just right when read. An editor also needs considerable knowledge of the subject matter to ensure there are no serious blunders in the translated text. If it’s a legal or medical text sometimes the translator or project manager will call upon a subject matter specialist to go over the text and alter anything that’s either incorrect or ambiguous.

Back translation is sometimes used so that the client is quite sure that the translation is correct. This is when a new translator is asked to engage with the text and will convert it back into its source language from the new translation. The 2 source-language texts can be compared which ensures that the translation has been accurate. This is more likely to take place when the document is high value and any mistranslation could lead to losing an order or even result in a lawsuit if the info was wrong and someone got hurt due to instructions in the translation being ambiguous or wrong. 

Translation services are always on the look-out for innovation in translation so that time can be cut down on certain parts of the translation task. Online tools can simplify some of the tasks but they can’t be relied upon completely so a human translator needs to present to ensure that the quality of translation meets the requirements set by the targeted audience.


The Technicalities of Technical Translations

KW Doing Technical Translations

When doing technical translations it’s important to get the translations accurate otherwise misunderstandings could take place ranging from the improper use of a dangerous tool or the wrong assembly of a product. Mistakes could lead to serious injury or death. This is why technical translators tend to specialise in a specific area so they can become familiar with the translation requirements for the particular product. A translator may specialise in the motor vehicle industry where there are many different documents that need to be translated that reaches the global purchasers of the vehicles. The sorts of translations range from product descriptions to warranty information. All vehicles come with handbooks and maintenance manuals including how to operate an airbag to general maintenance tips for the engine, brakes and tyres. Any translations have to fit the targeted audience even thought the information is technical it needs to be easily understood but not too simple so that there is sufficient information to ensure any jobs that need to be done can be done well at no risk to the owner. Poorly done technical translations could lead to misuse and abuse of a vehicle which may become a danger to a user and anyone else nearby. Doing technical translations is in constant demand and as technology changes and so does the sort of technical translation. A handbook for a petrol car isn’t the same as an electric car so a whole new technical translation of a manual has to take place as technical developments in the today’s world change.

Some of the documents which need technical translations are:

● operating and instruction manuals

● electronic guides and manuals

● troubleshooting guides

● engineering specifications

● scientific papers

● data sheets

● technical reports

● patents and patent applications

● technical e-learning modules

● technical specifications

● aviation

● engineering specifications

● safety manuals

● technical drawings

● data research results

● installation and service manuals

● maintenance guides

● technical equipment certificates and documentation

● products and materials catalogues

Technical Translation Requirements

Accuracy is key when doing technical translations. Any errors of any sort can’t be allowed as it could affect research results, the way a device works, the length and conditions of a contract, how a medical procedure is performed, how equipment and machinery should be used and so on.