5 Ways to Tell A Translation Is Good
Lots of people across many industries purchase translations. Lawyers, hospitals, governments, and private companies all need them. So do individuals, too. But with all the different agencies and freelancers out there, how do you know when you’re getting a good translation? How do you really know when you’re getting your money’s worth? We’ll show you 5 ways to tell a translation is good, and the reasons why.
1. It’s not just a good translation. It’s persuasive content.
Excellent translators are really good writers. So, when a skilled translator is at work, it follows that they produce great writing. The best translation is one that is persuasive. It’s got content that is both a pleasure to read and prompts the audience to delve deeper. A successful marketing translation, for example, will be persuasive and convincing. Just on the basis of quality, an excellent translation is also fabulous content in general.
2. It stirs the same emotions that the original document would.
The original document probably stirs some emotion in the reader. The translation should, too. If you read the original and feel pity, anger, sadness, or curiosity, then you should feel those same emotions when reading the translation. The translation should not so much as mimic authors’ words, but rather translate their meaning.
3. It hits all the relevant cultural markers.
Does the original make a cultural reference? Must that cultural reference maintain unchanged (perhaps with an explanatory note from the translator)? Or, is the cultural reference made to establish familiarity with the audience, and must be translated to an equally familiar concept for the target audience?
The translator must decide which cultural references to include or change. All cultural references must be relevant and accurate for their audience.
4. It is accurate, complete, and on-subject.
This one goes without saying. A good translation is one that is accurate! It is also complete and on-subject. Any missing information in a translation is a complete no-no. You wouldn’t want your audience to miss anything!
5. It’s imperceptible.
The best translations are invisible. No, really! The art of translation is to make your work imperceptible. The translation must evoke all the same emotions (as we explained above), contain all relevant cultural references, be complete, be accurate, and be on-subject. It must read as if it were always written in the target language. It has to flow beautifully and read as quality content on its own. That’s why translators work behind the scenes–a thankless but necessary job.