The following tips will help you avoid many of the frustrations caused by translation projects:
- The reviewer’s profile – finding the right reviewer is often the root of the problem. These are some of the stereotypical profiles:
- Country manager – most qualified to review (technical knowledge + marketing criteria) but completely unavailable;
- Engineer/technician – highly qualified for technical review but not for tone, register or style; might misunderstand the original;
- Middle level manager – most collaborative and available, might be overzealous in his reviewing. Another typical problem in multinationals is that reviewers do not report directly to coordinators, so they will often take their time over the review process, thereby delaying the time-to-market of the translated documents. A change of reviewer can sometimes be the best solution to frustrating translation projects
- Scope of the review process – the first problem arises when the scope of the reviewing exercise has not been properly defined. “Please review this translation” is the typical phrase used by coordinators, but reviewing can include lots of different things. Typically, reviewers will spend as much time as they have reviewing a document. If they have lots of time on their hands they will do it thoroughly and in great detail; if not, they will skim read or review only the first few paragraphs/pages of the document. Assuming they have enough time, they will probably go into too much detail and, more importantly, review aspects of the document they should not be reviewing, which creates unnecessary, time-wasting electronic debates.
- Accuracy of the translation – most people will accept that translators should be native speakers of the target language, and most industry players stick to this rule whenever possible. This does mean, however, that nuances (and sometimes even whole messages) can be misunderstood in the translation process, and a typical, client-based reviewer will not spot this (potentially harmful) type of error.
Read The Role of the Internal Reviewer Part 3 for: technical terminology, tone and register, style, market characteristics and appropriateness and the degree of freedom to “edit” materials received from head office