Aug 30 2016

Translation Quality and Time Pressures

Category: RantsFinancial Translator @ 4:11 pm

Anyone notice how deadlines seem to be getting shorter? Everything seems more urgent? How delays finalising a document now often tend to mean a project is split among more translators rather than having the deadline postponed? This must surely be having an impact on the quality of the final deliverable but no one seems to notice or at least no one seems to care. Translation is clearly seen more as a necessity than a priority.

The endless quality procedures drawn up by the industry ensure all the boxes are ticked, but do they really ensure quality? To my mind the time pressures mean translators have little scope to do more than the bare minimum. How many people now read through the source text before translating? What about printing out the final text and reading through it? These used to be standard procedure but are now sadly too often overlooked. Many projects either have no translation style guide or provide a mountain of information that is impossible to digest in the time allotted.

So what can be done? To my mind, much of the problem comes down to poor management and a lack of planning. For starters, translation needs to be integrated into the drafting process and not tagged on at the end. Many documents are drafted over months and yet translated in days. Would it not possible to have sections completed early translated in a calm and composed manner? Clear and simple style guidelines would evidently be positive. A small glossary of key terms is also better than a 1,000 term string dump. Simple steps that would at least help ease the pressure.