Some consumers of language services tend to underestimate the significance of translation work, treating it as an optional appendage to a larger project devoted to producing the content to be communicated. While content is crucial, of course, we have made it a priority to first clarify with clients what the translation or editing work is supposed to accomplish. Oftentimes clients discover that more is to be expected from the translation than originally considered. After all, while poor content can never be communicated well in another language, the quality of the translation determines how content is received in the target culture.
After clarifying needs and expectations, the project is entrusted to a qualified professional with the required background in the material in question. This is a crucial aspect, since, in a world of specialization, few translators are able to handle business reports and technical patents, for example, with the same degree of proficiency. Actual work is done in many cases utilizing a so-called CAT (computer-assisted translation) tool in addition to common office software tools. A CAT tool takes advantage of a translation memory (actually a bilingual phrase database) to ensure that similar phrases and terms are consistently rendered in the same manner. This contributes greatly to the quality of the final product and can serve as the basis of a standardized multilingual corporate vocabulary.
Proofreading is an important step in any translation project. While this is always done by the translating professional in a careful, conscientious manner, utilizing spelling and grammar checkers, a second bilingual proofreader who is at home in the particular subject may also be engaged at the client's request. This procedure is to be recommended particularly in cases where language style plays a role in how a translation is received (e.g. marketing texts).
Finally, the work is submitted to the client for feedback. Many clients have a good command of German and English, our most frequently requested combination, and are therefore able to judge whether technical terms have been rendered in a fashion common within the particular field. We expressly welcome and call for feedback from clients and regard every reaction, be it positive or even pejorative, as a learning opportunity.