Measuring the quality of a translation and the skills of a translator is not an easy task. The methodology has to be both accurate and objective. A plan has to be formulated before measuring a German translator’s accuracy.
This plan must include what to expect and how the quality level is measured. As well as how improvements can take place. The assessment begins by looking at a set of variables which are:
● Use of terminology
● Presence of mistranslation
● Adherence or non-adherence to language rules
● The style used in the translation
● Issues with localisation
Any mistakes found are classified in relation to their severity. Some errors could have a significant impact on the safety of a product while others may affect the brand’s reputation. Other errors may just make the message seem confusing and difficult to understand.
The highest error is based on its effect which could be a serious mistranslation that leads to complete loss of meaning in that place in the translation. An example of a ‘high’ error is when the word ‘happy’ is translated in the targeted language as ‘unhappy.’ A ‘medium’ error is when the error may affect the reputation of a person, business or product and may make it difficult for the reader to fully understand. A ‘low’ error most likely won’t have much of an effect but it still shouldn’t be in the translation at all.
Measuring a German Translator’s Quality
Once a table has been drawn up to tabulate errors found in the German translation a reviewer is given the job to complete the review.
The complete score at the end of the review is tabulated by percentage, so 100% is a high-quality translation and the percentage drops depending on the number and the severity of the errors. If the translation amounts to 10,000 words and 22 low-level errors are tabulated, followed by 4 medium level errors and 1 high-level error. The low-level errors attract a score of 1 point for each error, while the medium level error attracts 10 points for each area and finally, the high-level error attracts 100 points. This adds up to a total of 152. Taking the different weighting depending on the level of the error a final score is tabulated. This is calculated using the following formula:
Total grade with weighting is 162 divided by 10,000 which comes out to be 1.62%. The overall grade for quality is 98.38%. This seems quite a reasonable level of accuracy taking into consideration the number of words translated, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t any room for improvement.
Improving a German Translator’s Translation Quality
There may be several reasons why there are flaws in a German translation including any of the following:
● The need for the German translator to update their glossary
● More instruction required on using a style guide
● The source files may have problems such as difficulties with understanding the required content
● The deadlines are too short for a good translation to be completed
Most flaws can be addressed through the translation services, which have taken on the German translation project. The project leader can discuss the mistakes directly with the German translator and if the document provided by the client is problematic this should be discussed with the client so that the same problems don’t repeat themselves in later projects. In the example of the 10,000-word German translation, it seems the German translator isn’t far off creating a perfect translation. However, even minor mistakes could put off customers and lead to unwanted misunderstandings.
Editing and Proofreading Contribute to a Quality German Translation
Most German translators would agree that accurate, consistent translated documents mean happy clients that turn into loyal clients, which is transformed into an income for all those involved in the translation process. Apart from assigning a quality grade to a German translator’s translation, there are two other features which contribute to a translation’s quality. These are editing and proofreading.
The first stage of this process is putting the translation through a grammar and spelling checker. This can be done in Microsoft Word which is set to the German language and ensures that the final translation is 100% accurate despite having already been through quality assessments by a reviewer. Computer tools help to find inconsistencies such as the inclusion of multiple spaces, errors in formatting and accidentally repeating words.
A final edit and proofread is carried out by a German translator with similar skills to the one who has just completed the translation. This ensures both translators are in the right place. This is often where clashes occur as to what is the best way to translate something. But the idea is to get the best translation possible so that means going through this type of checking process. In the end, both the German translator and the client wins.
Whatever the source and targeted languages are the same principles to ensure quality is maintained are executed. There are so many different documents that need to be translated for global readers and some need to be perfect otherwise lawsuits could occur if information about how to use a product is misinterpreted due to a poor translation leading to a user being injured. This can take place in a vast number of industries such as pharmaceuticals, the car industry and any other product that requires certain precautions to be taken when it’s used.
If a German translator can walk away from a translation knowing it is accurate, then the client will be happy too. This means a product is likely to be successfully marketed, bringing in revenue for the client while the German translator finds him or herself inundated with work because of the reputation that has been built as a successful and accurate German translator.