Preference vs. Correction
When it comes to the internal review, the “preference vs. correction” debate is contentious for both translators and reviewers! It’s important to remember languages are not only constantly evolving, they also vary enormously between regions, and speakers.
Paradoxically, most people (linguists and non-linguists alike) are convinced that THEIR version of their language is the “right” one! Consequently, anything we don’t agree with is automatically categorised as a “mistake”. Whereas, it’s best to have an open mind when it comes to language use.
Let’s look at some examples of “corrections” made by internal reviewers:
1. Reviewer sees “millones” in the original and changes the translation to “million”:
Significant change in meaning; we recommend making no change.
2. (A) Reviewer thinks the translation is too literal and changes it;
(B) Reviewer thinks the translation is too free and changes it:
We accept your preference although we still prefer our own version.
3. Reviewer applies corporate style:
We accept your suggestion or stylistic preference.
4. Reviewer improves the text by removing the third decimal:
We agree that your suggestion is an improvement.
5. Reviewer spots a mistake in the text and corrects it:
We agree that our translation was not accurate.
The best possible result for corporate communications is achieved through the combination of professional linguists and knowledgeable reviewers. Furthermore, optimising the internal review process is often the key to success.
Precisely because they’re so important, reviewers should be chosen on the basis of their technical knowledge (product, market, etc.), their availability and their positive attitude.
Generally, the reviewer should stick to reviewing technical terminology, and/or assessing whether the result is appropriate for their home market. Although it is a huge temptation to do so, reviewers should not offer (or refuse to accept) opinions on other aspects of the translation.