When assessing the accuracy in translation of a German translator several variables need to be considered when the assessment is taking place. These include the following:

  • Use of appropriate terminology
  • Whether any mistranslation is present
  • Whether the right language rules have been used
  • Whether the style suits the type of translation
  • Whether localisation tactics are appropriate.

If mistakes are discovered, they are usually classified in terms of their severity. If the error is likely to have an impact on how a product is used then the error would be classified as serious. Also, if the error contributes to a confusing message this could be considered serious too. The worst error and the most severe could lead to a serious mistranslation.


The most serious of mistranslations is when a word like ‘happy’ is translated as ‘unhappy’. This is clearly the opposite of what the text is trying to convey. A ‘medium’ error is considered to have taken place when the error could have an effect on a person, a product or business’s reputation. A ‘low’ error probably won’t have much effect but it still shouldn’t have taken place and the accuracy in translation will be doubted.

Measuring the Quality of a German Translator

A table is drawn up for the German translator which tabulates all the errors in the translation and calculates the accuracy in translation. This is then given to a reviewer to respond to.

A total score is given at the finish of the review and this is given as a percentage. So, 100 percent is considered to be a high-quality translation. The percentage drops the more errors there are. If the translation is 10,000 words and there are 22 low-level errors, 4 medium level errors and a single high-level error, each low-level error attracts a score of 1 point, a medium level error will attract 10 points for each area and lastly, the high-level error will attract 100 points. This comes to 152 as the total. A final score is reached using a formula.

The total grade, including the weighting, is 162, which is then divided by 10,000 and the result is 1.62%. The grade calculated for the quality of the translation is 98.38%. This appears to be quite a fair level of accuracy if one takes into consideration the total number of translated words. However, 98.38 percent isn’t a top score, so there is room for the German translator to improve.

Why does a German Translator make Mistakes?

There is always a reason and some of these are outlined below, but there is no certificate of accuracy of a translation required.

  • The German translator needs an updated glossary.
  • The German translator needs to learn more about how to use a style guide.
  • There may have been problems with the understanding of the source files.
  • The German translator was given a deadline that couldn’t be met for a good translation.

There are ways of handling a German translator’s mistakes and the project leader is the first person who is brought in to solve the matter. If it’s the source document that has caused the problem, this will be discussed with the client directly.

Editing and Proofreading help to Ensure a Quality German Translation

The majority of German translators wouldn’t argue with the fact that good, consistent accurate translations make for loyal client relationships. Assigning a grade helps to work towards better translations as there is no certificate of accuracy in a translation but there are two other features that help towards a perfect translation. These are the processes of editing and proofreading.

The 1st stage of the process is to put the translation through a spelling and grammar checker. Microsoft Word can do this once it’s set to check the German language. This gets the translation closer to the 100 percent mark. It helps to detect inconsistencies like the presence of multiple spaces, formatting errors and accidental word repetition.

Who does the Edit and Proofread?

Usually, another equally skilled German translator to the one who has done the translation is the best bet. Sometimes there are disagreements about the best way to translate a part of the text. These have to be discussed and the best possible translation is presented to the client.

Do all Translations need to be Perfect?

Even though some imperfections won’t have a serious effect there are others that it’s absolutely crucial they are 100 percent accurate. If any misinterpretation takes place in another country someone could be injured if for example if it was a manual explaining how to use a product but some key instructions were mistranslated. This could take place in certain key industries such as the car industry and pharmaceuticals.

Gains to be made for a German Translator

If a German translator completes a translation and knows it’s accurate, this will please the client. The product is more likely to be marketed successfully which brings in revenue to the client. As a reward for the German translator, more work will come his or her way as a successful portfolio proves his or her value as a German translator even though no certificate of accuracy in a translation is required to do the job.