How do you ensure the quality of your translations ?
Thread poster: Melanie Di-Costanzo

Melanie Di-Costanzo  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2013)
German to French
Sep 24, 2014

Dear All,

I just posted this topic on LinkedIn and would be much pleased to have your opinion too.

How do you ensure your work has highest quality ?
Which process did you set up for this ?

What about ISO 9001/2008 ?
Has somebody been thinking about it ? Is it worth the effort for translators ?

I would be very happy to read from you,

Best,

Melanie


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:38
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Customer satisfaction Sep 24, 2014

Melanie Di-Costanzo wrote:

How do you ensure your work has highest quality ?

Which process did you set up for this ?

What about ISO 9001/2008 ?

Has somebody been thinking about it ? Is it worth the effort for translators ?


I think you'll find many discussion threads that explore this topic. All translators have their own systems in place to ensure that the work they deliver meets the highest standards. I have mine, and others will have theirs.

As for ISO 9001/2008, I imagine that compliance with this standard may be a requirement for certain types of translation at an official level. However in commercial terms, what matters more is customer satisfaction.

In my opinion, upon delivery of a translation, if the customer is satisfied, that's good enough.

I would worry that needing to comply with ISO 9001/2008 would lead to bureaucratic complications without in any way improving the quality of translations.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
On goodenoughity Sep 24, 2014

Tom in London wrote:
In my opinion, upon delivery of a translation, if the customer is satisfied, that's good enough.


I like this statement. However, customer satisfaction is the result of more than just translation quality. Satisfaction can be increased with e.g. swiftness and politeness in communication, fast turnaround time, reliability, predictability, and a translation that sails through the QA process with the least number of flags and the least amount of hassles.

Is quality really the most important thing in translation? Isn't efficiency more important?

The ability to apply ISO-like standards to your translation work will depend on the type of clients you have and the type of translations you do. I have several clients who value reliable, predictable service with short turnaround times, with "absolute high quality" taking a back-seat. I'm not saying these clients want rubbish translations, but that if they had to choose between a translation that is merely "good enough" but fast and reliable and one that has sooperdooper quality but takes weeks to complete, with endless queries to the end-client, well, you know what they'll prefer...

But the original poster's question was about quality specifically. I think to ensure quality you need a lot of time, adequate linguistic and/or content resources, and most importantly, more than one pair of eyes. There's no getting away from that. You also need clients who can pay for it and who are willing to wait for it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michal Fabian  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:38
Member (2012)
Dutch to Slovak
+ ...
This is how: Sep 24, 2014

I translate well.
(This entails being an expert in the subject field, having an impeccable knowledge of the target language and culture as well as thorough knowledge of the source language and culture, and great research skills. Otherwise you're cheating the customer).

As for ISO, it only guarantees that you follow a certain procedure when producing the translations. It does not in any way guarantee quality of the result. How could it? In other words, it doesn't say 'this is not shit,' it only says 'this shit has been made like this.'
Agencies know that, of course. How many of those bottom-feeding parasites are ISO-certified?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Mark
Local time: 01:38
Italian to English
How many? Sep 24, 2014

Michal Fabian wrote:

How many of those bottom-feeding parasit[e agencies] are ISO-certified?
I would imagine not so many: certification costs.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:38
French to German
+ ...
I agree with Michal and Tom Sep 24, 2014

I agree with Michal and Tom in London.

What matters is that we furnish what the customer needs. ISO guarantees you a procedure, but not always quality.

I am bilingual in French and German and translate only in my mother language in which I also propose copywriting in an excellent style. I only accept projects that I can handle and not just anything because there are no projects coming round. I think it's important to concentrate on some fields. No one can do everything.



[Modifié le 2014-09-24 11:28 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never mind the ISO, feel the feedback Sep 24, 2014

I think I agree with all the posts so far. For me, the main thing is to follow the cub scout mantra I learnt many moons ago: "DYB dyb dyb" (Do Your Best). When other people, clients and colleagues start telling you how great you are, that's when to start worrying about it.

IMO there is too much lip service to the rather intangible notion of "quality" nowadays anyway. File under "sustainable development" and "social commitment", etc.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:38
English to Polish
+ ...
Quality, QA and client satisfaction are three different things Sep 24, 2014

Quality is how good or bad your translation is, and all other 'hows' in general. Literally, quality means howness in Latin. (As opposed to quantity, i.e. number, volume etc.) Quality of translation is separate from quality of service.

QA is silly stuff you use X-Bench for or some F-key bind in your CAT tool. It can also include internal terminological consistency or consistency with a received glossary or client requirements. In the latter case, it has more to do with quality of service than quality of translation. The very notion of it is demeaning.

Client satisfaction (we are a profession, customers are for normal businesses to serve) may be related to quality but is a separate thing. Clients may be satisfied with a bad translation for all sorts of reasons (e.g. because client service was satisfactory and they can't judge the quality of the work) or dissatisfied with a good one (because they are ignorant). They may be satisfied if the quality of client service is poor or nonexistent, as long as the job is done well.

ISO 335445745785:2044 has no bearing on the quality of my work. The quality of my work is ensured by my education, experience, overall mental aptitude and diligence and sometimes endurance.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:38
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Quality of sworn translators (Spain) Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Melanie and all.

As a sworn translator, my quality is certified in Spain by the hard official examination we have to pass.

Besides, in my opinion, translators know how to be efficient and, of course, keep their clients. What does this mean? That they have a method and a quality. Like any other job.

In general, agencies (not individuals) comply with ISO 9001/2008, at least my clients: that means that they ensure that all their translators fufill them too (contracts, diplomas etc.). I never thought it was necessary for me to directly comply with ISO.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Susana Sep 25, 2014

Susana E. Cano Méndez wrote:
As a sworn translator, my quality is certified in Spain by the hard official examination we have to pass.


That only assures the quality of the translator, not each translation.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:38
Member (2008)
French to English
Client doesn't know Sep 25, 2014

IMO, quality for translators means more than satisfying the client, because we are producing a product for which the client, if he doesn't speak the target language, has no way of measuring the quality. As professionals we need to know what quality the client would want if he were able to tell, and give him that or better.

ISO 9001 has especially little to do with it - it simply says that whatever you do you will leave a record. It's no guarantee of quality.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:38
English to Polish
+ ...
I think I agree Sep 26, 2014

John Fossey wrote:

IMO, quality for translators means more than satisfying the client, because we are producing a product for which the client, if he doesn't speak the target language, has no way of measuring the quality. As professionals we need to know what quality the client would want if he were able to tell, and give him that or better.


Yeah. When client satisfaction is paramount, it makes it look like the translator is a does-what-is-told kind of person, basically akin to a physical worker or concierge maybe (a carrier-out of instructions, someone who needs skills to be able to carry out instructions, but who gets paid for the carrying out of instructions, not for the use of the skills).

This said, I'd say client satisfaction is not irrelevant to quality, after all, in some types of translation. Notably, when the translation is intended for business purposes and it isn't unfaithful or ridden with language errors but is still imperfect, then if it's good enough for the client it probably is good enough. It doesn't work so much the other way round.

[Edited at 2014-09-26 13:28 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

How do you ensure the quality of your translations ?

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search