“Quality is never an accident” is a common quote that applies to translation as much as it does anything else. And there is no question that when it comes to translation, quality is not only crucial, it also takes a significant amount of effort to achieve.
From my many conversations with translators over the years, it is clear that quality is the yardstick by which they measure themselves against. Clients always expect and deserve a high-quality deliverable for their language projects. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a spelling mistake or a wrong term, any linguistic error in a translation project can erode both your customer’s confidence in you and your professionalism.
When it comes to translation quality, the most conventional definition is that the translated text should be grammatically correct, have correct spelling and punctuation and sound as if it was originally written by a native speaker of the target language. A lot of these tasks require human intervention especially when it comes to linguistic quality, but technology is also here to help relieve the burden of quality assurance (QA) tasks and to automate the bulk of manual processes.
Over the years, with the numerous product releases, SDL Trados Studio has delivered a number of features to support the quality of your translations. Spell-checking, grammar and punctuation checking can be significant productivity boosters for translators and everyone involved in the proofreading process. Then there is the extensive range of QA checks like ensuring that original text formatting is not damaged, detecting unnecessary double spaces and double full stops for example. And not forgetting checks like verifying that the same sentences were not translated differently and that the termbase glossary was followed, plus numerous other tasks which save you time and help to meet your client’s quality expectations.
Then there is the usage of translation memories. Though of course the power of translation memory to influence quality should not be underestimated, the tasks involved to maintain them can require a lot of attention and the chance of error can be quite high. This makes the translation memory editor feature in SDL Trados Studio invaluable in enabling you to maintain good quality TMs.
So, we can see how translation technology can significantly help improve the quality of your translation, but it doesn’t deliver what constitutes ‘perfect quality’. Nothing will replace a human evaluation of translation quality, but it’s important to have the tools to support your quality assessment workflows, no matter what those workflows are.
The future – introducing SDL Trados Studio 2015
Quality is subjective and we appreciate that it’s not just about the automatic tools that help to check quality – our customers want choice and flexibility. And that is something that we have taken on board when designing the next version of SDL Trados Studio, which I am happy to say we are not far from releasing!
SDL Trados Studio 2015 will provide, for example, a better way to review files and then update the translation memory by reducing manual processes. Reviewers will find their work more enjoyable and will benefit from a better process and high quality translation assets as any change can easily and automatically be saved back into the translation memory.
So I think it’s fair to say that quality really is never an accident when it comes to translation – it’s the result of translators taking pride in their craft, with a little help from translation technology along the way.
Whilst we busy ourselves putting the finishing touches to what will be our best release yet, you can find out more information on SDL Trados Studio 2015 by visiting our dedicated webpage for freelance translators or for language service providers.