How to Handle Translation Errors and Unsatisfactory Translations

How to Handle Translation Errors and Unsatisfactory Translations

While we dream of living in a world where every translation project is completed on time and 100% accurate, that unfortunately is not the case. Empire Translation Services (ETS) has developed a stringent quality control process that starts with our SAEJ 2450 translator testing process, then to our 3-step translation process (translating, revising & proofreading), and finally to our in-house quality assurance process. However, since quality translations are performed by humans, there is always going to be the element of human error. Errors are often the result of one of the steps in the translation or quality assurance process being rushed, neglected, or skipped altogether. Luckily, we can resolve these issues quickly for our clients!

While it is frustrating and concerning to find an error in a final translation, it is an issue that can be resolved. These issues are equally as frustrating, as well as embarrassing, for the translation agency and they should work quickly to resolve it.

So, where do we start? The first thing a client should do when finding an error is to notify the translation agency of the issue. Errors are few and far between for professional translation agencies, but it is imperative they are notified when they exist. Once the lines of communication have been opened, it is highly recommended to schedule a call with the translation agency to go over the issue. It is the responsibility of the translation agency to research the issue and determine how the error was introduced. Errors can range from a complete mistranslation of the text, a file not being proofread, formatting issues, or not following project guidelines. As part of the translation agency’s research, not only do they need to understand how the error was introduced, but they must put measures in place so that the error does not happen again. This could mean updating the translation memory, glossary, or style guide, finding a more suitable translator, or eliminating any chances of a quality measure being skipped.

During your meeting or call with the translation agency, it is important for the translation provider to give the client detailed information on how the error was introduced. We don’t want this to happen again and we want the client to know they are in capable hands. If the error is believed to be a poor or incorrect translation, the agency may ask the translator to be on the call with the client in order to discuss the issue and explain why the erroneous translation was provided.

Once an issue has arisen, a Corrective Action Plan should be drafted. A Corrective Action Plan is a document that outlines the details of the project, including: start and end date, languages, file format, and the project manager overseeing the project. This document also will contain a description of the issue, how the issue arose, and actions on how the issue will be resolved and prevented from happening in the future. If additional steps or a follow up are required, this information will also be contained within the document. Once the issue has been resolved, the client and project manager will both sign the document and it will be stored internally as part of the translation agency’s quality control process.

As a client, it can be daunting finding an error in your translated files. However, by following these guidelines and working with your translation agency, we can overcome these issues and put measures in place so that the issue does not happen again. We at ETS strive to make our clients feel assured that we are providing the best work possible for them and will work hard and put a plan in place should any issue arise.

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