How to Avoid Errors in Multilingual Translation Projects

Multilingual translation projects are naturally more complex than monolingual content projects and have the potential to introduce translation errors at any point in the process. Translation services teams are larger in order to cover more languages. With more people involved, it is essential to have management tools, tracking processes, and a clear approach to interacting with translation providers. The following is a closer look at how to avoid errors in multilingual translation projects for your brand:

Use a Translation Software Platform With Tracking Features

Using a translation software platform to translate your content offers several advantages. It streamlines the translation process and makes every aspect—from translation entry to quality assurance—faster and less administratively intensive. When you’re working on multilingual projects, it’s important to have a tracking trail. Tracking trails show who made which changes to the text, along with date and time stamps. From an auditing perspective, this helps you understand the root of errors and can help you quickly solve problems when they arise. Audit trails are essential when managers oversee the translation of content streams into multiple languages.

Avoid Hiring Multiple Firms for Error Detection

Hiring two or more firms to check each other’s work isn’t the best way to check for errors. In this setup, it’s important to understand that the second firm comes to view its mandate as finding mistakes rather than providing a quality translation. The company or translator may correlate the firm’s value with the number of errors it flags. As a result, clients waste valuable time revisiting text that is actually perfectly fine. Management time can also be diverted from value-adding activities to playing an intermediary between the two firms. In many cases, small translation differences can come down to preference or a matter of opinion. Instead of hiring multiple firms, set up a clear internal process for quality assurance checks that is built on the right technology. This way, errors won’t slip through the cracks.

Understand That Blind Tests Don’t Reveal Quality

One approach translation consumers sometimes use is a blind test to try to ascertain the quality of translations. They provide source material in one language to a provider and ask it to translate the text into the secondary language. Then, they hire a second provider and provide the translated text with a request to translate it back into the original language. The challenge here is understanding that mistakes can enter the translation process at any point. Using this approach, it is difficult to pinpoint whether the error was introduced in the original translation or the “back translation.”

Instead of blind tests, use more reliable methods to evaluate the quality of work being done by carefully sourcing your translators, ensuring they have the right specialties, and checking references and past projects before you begin. Introduce the quality assurance processes in-house to consistently monitor projects for quality.

Establish a Common Vocabulary for Error Detection

When you’re working on multilingual translation projects, standardizing processes will add to your success. Translation software plays an important role in streamlining overall process management. Consider standardizing your error detection method as well by choosing a shared framework for categorizing and addressing errors, such as the American Translators Association’s Framework for Standardized Error Marking. A shared framework provides collaborative tools across languages and helps management understand the progress and roadblocks that are occurring throughout the project. Consider establishing a dedicated team member to act as the point person on translation questions, challenges, and problems.

Multilingual translation projects are complicated, but they are often a necessary part of localizing software applications, marketing campaigns, and other materials for market penetration. Learn more about how the right translation software platform can help you minimize errors and better connect you with your customers.

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