THE POST-TRANSLATION PROCESS ― what is it and why is it useful?

By: Meryl Hanmer

Last time, in ‘THE PRE-TRANSLATION PROCESS – what is it and why is it useful?’, I debunked the myth that translators dive straight into the translation process upon receiving an assignment. I gave an outline of the four processes preceding the actual translation of a text that can help improve the finished translation’s quality. This time, I will take you behind the scenes of what happens to a text in between the finished translation and the delivery to the client.

THE POST-TRANSLATION PROCESS ― what is it and why is it useful?

Just like the ‘pre-translation’ process, the post translation process is an essential element of the overall text transformation practice. Only the naïve would believe that they are finished after simply translating each segment of the document; lo and behold, there is still a lot to be done!

The “post-translation process” or ‘translation review’ can be conducted either by the translator or by a third party not previously involved in the translation. There are arguments to be made for the benefits of either option. Personally, I favour having a third party do the translation review, however this is not always an option. Due to confidentiality agreements, the translator is sometimes forbidden by law to show the document to an outside party; therefore, the translator must review the work themselves. Yet if this is not the case, then I believe having a fresh set of eyes to review a text to be enormously beneficial. It is a commonly held view that it is harder to spot your own mistakes than it is to spot the mistakes of others.

To some extent, translation is a preferential art, therefore it is important to remember when choosing to use a third party for the translation review that everyone has their own style of communication. Each person will differ in their stylistic preferences and favoured phrasings. One person’s personal preferences are not necessarily any more ‘correct’ that another person’s. There is nearly always more than one ‘right way’ to express the same idea.

What to look for in the post-translation process?

The essence of the translation review is not only to check that everything is correct and that there are no ‘silly errors’ but also to ensure that the translation has met the needs identified in the pre-translation process, for example whether the translator has stuck to the correct tone and register.

Should the text be a complex, subject-specific piece with lots of complex phrasing and complicated vocabulary it is also advisable to have a subject expert review the translation. They can essentially carry out a ‘fact check’ of the work to ensure that there are no content errors.

Personally, my preferred method for the post-translation process is to read through the text, segment by segment, checking it for different potential errors each time. For example, I will read through the text once checking for spelling, next I will read through it checking for correct formatting, and then I will read through the texts checking for agreements and so on. Possible errors will likely differ depending on the grammatical requirements of the language, but the process still remains the same.



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