Even with all the tools of translation being made available today a perfect translation rarely takes place. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at ways for how to improve translation quality.
The Tips below help to give some Ideas on How to Improve Translation Quality
A translator should always have at least basic translation skills and with these work towards creating a perfect translation as soon as they start on a new translation task. If the aim isn’t perfection from the start then in the end there will be too much reworking to be done.
Keep a List of your Typical Mistakes
Most translators will likely make the same mistakes time and time again probably because there are words that are easy to get confused in the first place. Examples of easily confused words are principal and principle. Keeping a list of common mistakes is a reminder to check they have been written correctly. There may also be some words you constantly mistype. These should be on your list too so you can quickly refer to them and check to make sure you haven’t repeated the mistakes. This is just basic translation skills.
Run the Text Through a Spelling and Grammar Checker
Before you begin the editing process of a translation run it through your spelling and grammar checker first. This will save you time in the long run and will allow you to do the corrections before you start the process of proofreading and editing. You should select the complete document, set the desired language and ensure the checker is in active mode. This is one good way of how to practice translation skills that are essential to ensure the translation is accurate.
Some people criticise spelling and grammar checkers because they haven’t the knowledge to suggest suitable corrections. This may be true but they will pick up accurately most spelling errors and such things as spacing of text which will save a lot of work later.
Make sure your Translation Complies with the Target Language’s Typography and Punctuation Rules
Not all languages use the same punctuation and typographical conventions but your translation should match the conventions used in the targeted language. Lots of translators forget this point and use the conventions for the source language not the targeted language. This happens only too often with translations into Brazilian Portuguese where the words are capitalized in line with English rules.
Don’t be a Careless Typist
Translators may not be trained as typists but a big part of translation is being able to type well and correctly. Some of the common typing mistakes are not using standard spacing between words and incorrectly positioning punctuation marks. Doing this only makes it harder and more time consuming for proofreaders, editors and typesetters. The idea is to work towards perfection from the very start even though a perfect translation is very difficult to achieve without adjustments and corrections being made by either the proofreader or editor.
Don’t make use of the “Replace All” Command
This is seemingly the most fatal of all the commands to use even though it can be undone.
Don’t Let your Translation be Spoilt by the Tug of War
During a translation, both the source and target language tend to play a tug of war game with the winner likely tom be the source language. If the source language is the winner this is a piece of ‘translationese,’ where the “print through” of the original can be seen. Often a text has no grammar errors but it still doesn’t feel like the real thing as it doesn’t read too well. That makes the editor’s task far more difficult as it is just about impossible to quote a grammar rule in order to prove that a text needs altering. A certain way of determining if a translation is natural is to read it out aloud. This is time consuming but it is definitely worthwhile to read out a couple of paragraphs just to ensure the text flows well.
Target Language as the Winner
When the target language is the winner following a translation this means the translation will read beautifully. The majority of translators edit their own work, even if it is eventually passed onto someone else.
Be Exact and Precise
Fine tuning of verbs and nouns and verbs and adverbs and adjectives is immensely important.
Don’t get trapped by prepositions
Many translators think about the preposition forgetting that it is linked to a noun or a verb. The best thing to do is to translate the verb or noun and then use the right preposition.
Check Headers, Footers, Graphs and Text Boxes
Translators usually focus on the main text and while forgetting headers and footers. When a source text is in an MS Word document, some graphics will only show in print preview mode. Text boxes should be checked, too.
Running the Spelling and Grammar Checker a Second Time
Before the translation is finally delivered it should be run through the spelling and grammar checker a second time. Sometimes in the final editing, mistakes are made and these need to be found and corrected before the product finds its way to the paying customer, just for safety’s sake.
Get someone else to Check the Final Translation
All translators should be striving for perfection and this becomes most important when the final translation is ready to be delivered. Just to make sure that the translation is the best any money could buy it’s always a good idea to get one other competent person to read through the final translation product to pick up any last mistakes.
In the end, a translator uses basic translation skills and learns how to practice translation skills as they progress through more and more translation projects. Practice makes perfect and perfection is what a translator’s ultimate aim should be.