With this approach, you can't go wrong
In the world of translation, consistency is key. With this in mind, agencies that deal with copious amounts of materials from long-time end-clients would really benefit from the following simple strategic approach: using the same team of linguists (translator, editor, and proofreader, if required) to consistently handle an end-client’s materials. The advantages of this approach for the translation agency, the end-client, and why not, the linguists too, are simply undeniable. And yet, this practice is wildly overlooked.
First and foremost, using the same team of linguists for a specific end-client ensures consistency in terminology and style, and a more uniform voice across the board. Over time, the team members become intimately familiar with the end-client’s field, products, and services, allowing them to produce translations that are accurate, finely geared towards specific audiences, and in line with the client’s brand identity. This level of consistency is crucial in maintaining the quality of the translations, and ensures that the client’s message is effectively communicated.
Additionally, when a translation agency uses a team that is familiar with the end-client’s materials, the workflow simply becomes more efficient, saving time and reducing costs. As a result, the translation agency can offer faster turnaround times and lower their overhead thanks to the streamlining of the PMs jobs. Would this be good for their bottom line? Would they elect to pass the savings on to the end-client? Would they allocate the money saved towards purchasing translation services only from the best? All possibilities.
Another benefit of using the same team of linguists is that it fosters a collaborative relationship between the translation agency and the end-client. The translator and editor become an extension of the end-client’s team, and their familiarity with the client’s materials allows them to provide invaluable feedback and suggestions on how to improve the translations. This feedback loop ensures that the translations are continually refined and optimized to meet the end-client’s needs.
The one potential drawback to this practice that comes to mind, is that it can create a dependency on the team of linguists, making it difficult to switch to a different team in the future. However, the new team’s learning curve can be kept in check thanks to the fact that the agency will have a translation memory of excellent quality. So, as long as the next team of linguists is properly vetted, and as experienced and competent as the previous one, this downside can be mitigated by proper planning and communication between the translation agency, the new potential linguists, and the end-client, and the transition can be relatively painless.
To sum it up, using the same team of translator and editor to translate an end-client’s materials, especially when the materials are plentiful and highly technical (medical or pharmaceutical, for instance), has many benefits, including consistency in terminology and style, time and cost savings, and a more productive collaborative relationship between the translation agency and the end-client. These many benefits far outweigh any potential downsides. I have personally been in this type of arrangement before, as the lead Italian translator on some translation agencies' major accounts, so I know first-hand that there is so much professional satisfaction to be gained for us linguists, besides the obvious benefits for everyone else involved!
A Certified Translation is generally intended to be used in an official setting. The Translation Certification issued by the translator will include an outline of their qualifications, a statement as to the completeness and accuracy of the translation of the document in question, the indication of the source and target languages, the identification of the specific document being translated, and last but not least the certifying translator’s name and signature, and the date. However, as there may be other factors that may also come into play, it pays to ask the requesting entity to provide the specific requirements in each case.
To this end, and to allow you to smoothly navigate this process with your translator moving forward, here are 5 preliminary questions you should always ask.
1. Will I be able to hire the translator of my choice? Or am I required to use one of your translators?
2. Will you require long-form certification, or short-form certification?
3. Will the Translation Certification need to be notarized?
4. Will electronic copies of the documents (or printouts of electronic copies) suffice? Or are originals mandatory?
5. And finally, for Certified Translation to be used in some specific diplomatic settings/with certain foreign governments: will an Apostille be needed?
I hope you found this helpful! If you need any more information, or need a Certified Translation into Italian, I am just a phone call or a message away.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
Just in the course of the past few weeks I’ve had two very different experiences. Opposite, really. And the mixed feelings I was left with in one case, compelled me to share.
While translating two medical texts on behalf of two agencies, I ran into issues.
In one case, I encountered a terminology issue, where the English might have lent itself to two different interpretations. Lack of context (a classic, in the small project scenario), and some imprecise QA info that had come as part of the assignment, prevented me from confidently making an educated decision. So I researched thoroughly, and ultimately formulated a question, which the QA lead passed on to the end-client. The answer came back to me accompanied by the following message: “By asking your question you pointed out an issue and saved us from delivering something with discrepancies! As always, thank you for your diligence.” A happy ending for the translator (always nice to have one’s efforts recognized), for the end-client (he walked away with the text translated correctly the first time and a rectified source), and the agency (it will not have to deal with complaints about this particular translation at a later stage, and it earned extra brownie points with the client).
In the second case, I located a discrepancy between two files relating to the very same procedure. A simple, single word in a key spot seemed to be missing from one of the files, allowing for the wrong interpretation (to the extent that the agency’s QA person and myself were both fooled by it initially). In the course of my translation efforts, I was able to determine with certainty that the word was indeed missing in the source. I pointed it out to the PM, suggesting they ask the end-client to reevaluate their source and provide input, and I asked for authorization to update the Italian translation as to eliminate any possible ambiguity. As a response, I received something along the lines of “We are not asking the client questions at this time. Please just mirror the source.”
Considering that errors in the source may cause erroneous translations (which can be quite costly to correct at a later stage, not to mention the other possible implications), ignoring a translator’s questions is at best an unhealthy practice.
There is, however, still a lot of reluctance, it seems, to ask questions. Why? Because less experienced translators and eager-to-please project managers fear losing a client due to presumed incompetence. Equating questions to incompetence is an enormous fallacy in the translation world – but sometimes translators, agencies and clients alike fall victim to it. A client should expect questions; in fact, a client should welcome questions, to the point that the absence of any questions at all should even raise suspicion. Translators should not blindly breeze through their client’s texts to just get them done, mirroring the source without further thought. Translators should be willing to take the time to look at a client's texts under a magnifying glass, and become aware of all inconsistencies, potential pitfalls, and possible sources of discrepancy or issues that might ultimately cause an error in translation, and ask the right questions to sort everything out and produce a correct translation right off the bat.
Working alongside the translators on solving these types of issues is a key role of any client, one which is often overlooked. We, as translators, must ensure that a text reads correctly, that we understand it correctly, so that we may translate it correctly. Which is why we approach the text with an open, and most certainly inquiring, mind. And this is why our questions don’t make us incompetent – they simply make us thorough.
Things to think about
Because sometimes the obvious is, well... less than obvious.