Recently, we received feedback on one of the batches delivered in the course of a long-term translation project. What I appreciated about this particular feedback wasn’t just that it was positive, but also the general attitude demonstrated by our client’s reviewer. His professional approach and willingness to work together to improve future translations were inspiring. The feedback went like, “This is a high-quality translation. Although I made a few minor changes, I understand that I have better subject matter knowledge than the translator. And my goal is to help the translator to make the next translation even better.”
Objective Translation Evaluation
It feels just great to collaborate with this kind of a professional who’s able to evaluate your work fairly, without any preferential bias. Instead of focusing on the few problems, his evaluation was holistic and included a variety of dimensions. He also realized the fact that an in-country reviewer usually has a deeper knowledge of the subject matter, resulting from his/her day-to-day work in this field—a level that a translator normally can’t achieve.
Focusing on Collaborative Translation is Key
It was also encouraging to realize that the client’s reviewer is focused on strengthening the relationship and willing to provide advice. When it comes to ensuring successful translation, a client’s positive involvement in the translation process is what often makes a difference. By working together, both can add value to the final product. The client typically understands the subject matter of translation very well, but doesn’t have professional translation expertise. In contrast, a translation services company is able to provide language expertise, including grammar, style, or general linguistic knowledge, but may have a hard time understanding specific terms related to the customer’s operations. This means that each of the two parties has something the other lacks. It is through cooperation that both can create synergy that adds value to the product.
My Goal is to Be an Objective Reviewer
As an editor, I do my best to evaluate each translation objectively in a similar manner, too. For instance, I understand when errors result from misinterpretations. I also avoid preferential stylistic changes. My ultimate goal as an editor is to add value to translation and make sure it’s correct rather than look for faults or criticize. What I enjoyed about the above feedback is realizing that a colleague at the client’s side shares my vision.
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