Here is your
"Getting Accurate Translation" Checklist


  1. Select your translation supplier with care. An accurate translation cannot be made by the translation supplier who does not qualify.

    How to select? If you don’t speak a language into which your document will be translated, how can you evaluate the quality of the supplier? Glossy brochures and long lists of client testimonials thrown at you by the supplier actually do not guarantee the quality. So ask questions. Make your choice based on answers to the following questions:

    • Will a translator, who is a native speaker of the target language, handle my document? The answer should be 'Yes'. For example, if you need to have your document translated, say, from English into Russian, Russian is the target language in this case. So the translator should be a native speaker of Russian. And, of course, she/he should be proficient in English as well.
    • Does this translator specialize in the subject area of my document? Again, the answer should be 'Yes'. For example, an excellent oil and gas translator may produce poor results in the medical domain. So specialization is critical. Be sure the translator has at least two years of experience in this subject area.
    • What quality control mechanism does the supplier use? A translation of any important or sensitive documents or documents intended for publication should be, at least, edited by another translator who is a native speaker of the target language and who specializes in the same subject area. Other quality control steps (proofreading, monolingual checking, linguistic validation, back-translation, etc.) can be taken as well. Different projects require different quality control steps. Let the supplier tell you how they will control the quality of their job to ensure the accurate translation.

  2. Define project specifications and agree on them with the supplier. A list of specifications can be long depending on the specificity of your project. But basic specifications are as follows:
    • Source language and regional variation
    • Target language and regional variation
    • Intended audience
    • Purpose
    • Deadline
    • Subject area
    • Type of document
    • Volume
    • Format
    • Price

  3. Follow the specifications and get involved in the project in other ways. For example, promptly answer the supplier's questions, provide any reference materials that you have.

More info: Buying Guide (.pdf) for customers prepared by the American Translators Associations

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