Basic Requirements for a Quality Translation

It’s often assumed that a good translation represents nothing more than a verbatim conversion of any given text or document from one language into another. As those approaching translation in a high-level business context however will know, the actual word-conversion element of the process represents one surprisingly small piece of the puzzle.

Basic Requirements for a Quality Translation

Perhaps a better word to use to describe the professional translation process would be ‘rendering’, but what exactly does this mean? Or more specifically, how does rendering a text from one language into any other differ from simple word conversions?

Here at Semiotic Transfer, our approach to translation is one of multiple layers and dimensions. But in terms of what we believe are the core prerequisites for a quality translation, there are certain fundamentals we believing above all others:

Quality Translation #1 – Accuracy

First and foremost, the importance of correctly conveying the message and core content of the document cannot be overstated. Or in other words, if the source document urges “Never do X and Y”, you don’t want to make the translation advise the opposite. Flawless accuracy counts for a great deal, though must be considered alongside context.

Quality Translation #2 – Context

The literal conversion and reproduction of texts from one language into any other may not only result in a nonsensical document, but one that’s taken entirely out of context. The writer’s intended message isn’t always as black and white as it may appear in the text – reading between the lines and interpreting context (often factoring in cultural considerations) can also play a key role.

Quality Translation #3 – Judgement

It may also be necessary for a professional translator to edit, or at least suggest edits, of a document where and when the source text may confuse, offend or mislead. Quality translation is not about performing a robotic service, but rather bringing the judgement and consideration of the human element into the equation.

The list goes on, but in all entries further reinforces the way in which professional translation involves so much more than simple word conversion.

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