- Technical terminology – the main aspect reviewers should concentrate on. Ideally, a reviewer should be chosen on the basis of his technical knowledge of the product and/or market, so his opinion here is of the utmost importance.
- Tone and register – this depends on the type of document being reviewed. For technical documents, tone and register are usually of little importance; for marketing copy, this is crucial to obtaining a good final result.
- Style – this is where personal preferences are most obvious. Comments like “the translation is awful”, “it does not read well”, “it is too literal” or “this was translated by a machine” create unnecessary bad feelings, frustration and stress. The fact that the reviewer would have translated it differently does not mean that the proposed translation is “bad” or “incorrect”, it just means that there is more than one way to do it. Bear in mind also that sometimes the problem lies with the original text. It is very difficult to turn dry, turgid original text into jaw-dropping marketing copy in another language…
- Market characteristics and appropriateness – here reviewers can add great value, as they know their market and clients better than anyone else, and can therefore judge what the correct tone and register of the final document should be. In this aspect at least, translation project coordinators should take notice of reviewers’ comments and take them very seriously.
- Degree of freedom to “edit” materials received from head office – this differs from company to company, but reviewers will often edit the original and say they are fixing problems with the translation. If your company policy is not to allow national teams to “adapt” your marketing collateral, make sure you ask your translation company whether the reviewer is just fine-tuning the translation or actually changing the marketing message.
Continue to The Role of the Internal Reviewer Part 4 for “Preferences” versus “mistakes”, Limited linguistic knowledge, and Interpersonal skills and attitude