In our hyper-connected world, translation services play a key role in all sectors. Getting the best results calls for the translator to bring contextual knowledge of the source material and the subject area coupled with a trained eye for detail. So the language translation process is not without its challenges.

Let’s look at the main steps in quality translation.

1. The language translation process: initial assessment

Once the quote has been accepted and the scope of the job identified, the translator will first need to read the document concerned. At this stage they will begin to get an understanding of the source material’s specific features and goals.

Grasping all these aspects can help the linguist make the right decisions when dealing with vague or ambiguous passages.

2. Identifying potential challenges

The next step is to pinpoint and address terms and phrases which may be tricky to translate. There are lots of reasons why this might be the case. For example, there may be idioms or cultural references which are culturally untranslatable or the writer of the material might have a somewhat convoluted prose style. Discipline-specific terminology may also be a challenge even if the translator is a specialist in the field, which will be a given for any reputable language service provider.

3. Translation

After reading and assessing the document, the linguists can start the translation. The translator is the first linguist to work on the source text. Since translating the text is the most time-consuming part of the process, they need to use their time efficiently so as not to hold up the rest of it.

4. Editing

Even if the translation is thorough and accurate, the insight of an editor will be essential. The editor makes sure that the translated text is up to standard. A translation’s outcome is not just about accurately reflecting the source since it also has to match the quality of this source. Does the text comply with the requirements of the style guide? Were the right words chosen? Are the terms used correctly? These are the questions the editor has to ask when starting to work on the text.

5. Formatting

The translation has to be equivalent to the source material. It should convey the same meaning and perform the same purpose. So translating sometimes involves formatting the new text to make it look like the source. This step is crucial when translating documents and e-books and is even more essential in localisation projects.

In short, successful language translation involves the skills of a number of professionals and in-depth knowledge of the source and target languages.