What Makes a Translation Good?

The word for “water” in Spanish is agua; in French, it’s leau. That’s simple enough, but when it comes producing a quality translation of a larger piece of writing, there are many other considerations that determine whether a translation is good.

Every language has unique structural and grammatical aspects, and cultural differences can also change the way the same message is communicated in two different languages. At BridgeLanguages, our staff of experts work daily to integrate these complex factors and produce the highest level of service for our translation clients. The following are some points you should look for to determine the quality of a translated document.

Translations should not be word-for-word. You might think that the simplest way to translate a document would be word-for-word, but this just doesn’t work in practice. Many languages use figures of speech or language with metaphorical meanings, separate from the literal translation. Translators must be aware of the true meaning of a piece of writing and make sure that the translation reflects it.

The formatting and layout should stay the same. Documents should be made to resemble the original document in formatting and layout, and should be easily understood by the customer and any end-users without the need for clarifying questions.

The tone should not change. A good translation keeps language use consistent in terms of tone and form of communicating. For example, a legal document should not be translated into a form of language that relies on informal terminology or slang. On the other hand, an ad slogan should never be translated to something more formal than its original language.

The translation is not rushed. Although a translator can be asked to clear his or her schedule for a specific job, it is best to budget the necessary time to allow the professional translator to thoughtfully render the translation. Because of the skill and knowledge that goes into translating a document, it is best if it’s not produced overnight.

A good quality translation takes into account more than just the words on the paper, but their meaning, nuance, cultural considerations and even visual layout. Leave it to the experts at BridgeLanguages, with over three decades of experience in Translation and Interpretation Services. Browse industry specialties here.


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