This post begins a series of articles about sample translations. I’m going to distinguish between two sample types: samples for specific companies and samples for translation agencies. In this post, I want to explain why sample translations for specific companies may be essential for ensuring high translation quality.
What is a Test Translation for a Specific Company or Project?
Sample translations completed for a particular company are typically associated with a specific upcoming project for that company. For instance, a mechanical equipment manufacturer may be preparing to translate a user manual. This manufacturer starts by asking several potential translation agencies to provide sample translations together with a quote. Then, the client reviews all samples and chooses the one that meets their quality and budget expectations.
This is the type of tests I appreciate. One reason is that since linguistic tastes differ, a vendor’s translation style may simply fail to appeal to a client. It makes sense to know this upfront; that is, before the actual project is launched, completed, and delivered.
Why wouldn’t a particular translation style appeal to someone? That’s because everyone has his or her own language preferences, which develop under the influence of factors such as education or environment.
Examples of Preferences in Russian Translation
Some words commonly used in English to Russian translations allow two spelling versions, with “ё” or “e” letter. Some people use the “ё” version while others use “e.”
Microsoft uses the translation “веб-узел” for “website.” But almost no one else uses this term these days. The short and sweet “сайт” is much more common.
Sample Translations Save Time and Money
By translating and reviewing just a fraction of an upcoming project, a client and a potential vendor have a chance to find out whether their preferences are “compatible.” One obvious benefit is cost reduction. Imagine that a translation agency completed and delivered a 30,000-word project. A client reviews it and finds that while the translation is generally correct, it doesn’t sound as the client expected. Wow, quite an impasse, right? The vendor believes the translation is fine, and the client doesn’t agree, but doesn’t have a solid explanation because style is something very intangible and is a matter of language preferences. They are unlikely to find a solution that both will consider fair.
Everyone is really better off avoiding this situation rather than dealing with the consequences. A short, free-of-charge translation sample is a great way to make sure such impasse doesn’t happen.
We want our clients to be happy. One of the best practices to make sure they’re happy with what we deliver is to provide a sample translation upfront. By doing so, we make it possible for our clients to check whether our translation quality and philosophy meet their expectations. This ensures they will get what they want down the road.
Now that you’ve read about sample translations for specific companies, we invite you to read the next part of this post—about test translations for agencies.
Have any comments on sample translations for specific projects? Feel free to share your opinion below.