In the field of translation, the word quality is term that gets reiterated again and again by clients, info sheets, translators and customers, day in and day out. Of course, the industry standard entails a second translator to proofread the translation, looking line for line at the source text in addition to electronic checking. During the course of translation and proofreading, there is one thing that often gets overlooked, not “proofreading” but just reading the translated text that has been written and judge how good it has been written in general.
Even if you are creating a text from scratch in your mother tongue, the quality of that text also should have certain standards, based not only on grammar and syntax, but also creativity and register. This is highly objective. People either have a talent for writing or do not. It is safe to say that the same applies to translators. On the one hand, it is a translator’s duty to take the idea of the source text and transfer those ideas into the target text, although the question is, does that also actually sound good?
Ideally, a translator would not only translate thereby expressing the ideas in the target text, but also make that very text sound as if it had been originally written in that language and not merely translated. That is where skill comes into play.
It a text is supposed to have really great quality, the best thing would be to have a native read the translated text without looking at the source and make alterations; not change the meaning of the text, but make it sound natural. This is something that every single translator should do before proofreading the text and in the race to translate, this aspect often gets overlooked. Proofreading a translation taking the source text into account must inevitably take place, but don’t forget to simply read the text that has been translated and ensure that it is written properly.
Remember, those ultimately reading the final translation will most likely not be aware of the source language at all. For them, they will be basing their judgement on the quality on the text that has been written. So, if you are a translator, have a look at your work and forget that you translated it. How does it sound? Ideally, it won’t sound like a translation at all.
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