If Content is King, is Quality Translation Queen?
Quality content is fast becoming the focal point of corporate strategizing and seems to be at the forefront of most thought leader’s minds. Global content management is being hailed as the driving force behind a shift of focus to ‘user experience’ rather than hard sales and financial opportunism.
Recent studies suggest that most multinational corporations derive at least 50% of their revenues from global markets assuming that they efficiently deliver product and marketing information to their worldwide customer base.
So why do so many of us place less emphasis on the quality and accuracy of our content when it’s in another language?
Well the obvious answer is that we lose sight of the exact message being conveyed when we don’t speak the language in front of us. We put our trust in the accuracy of machines or translators and hope that they are presenting a true reflection of our brand.
Cost seems to be an overriding factor in global content management whilst quality assurance is overlooked, and confidence is often passed from the source to the translator like the handing over of a credit card to pay for the privilege.
Machines standardise processes; people determine quality
When working in a capacity where control is relinquished it’s important to understand the process being followed and to determine how quality is controlled.
Successful global content management relies on adaptation and consideration of local audiences. Effectively managing the process of content adaptation from the source into the target locale requires professional translation agency management and commercial awareness on your part.
‘People’ define the translation process. Machines (Translation Memory) are often used to support translators and operational staff in a bid to maximise efficiencies in-house and reduce cost, increase speed of delivery and ensure consistencies for the client/end-user. However, more and more translation agencies are putting their own efficiencies first and cutting back on staff to reduce overheads and increase profits, thus becoming almost entirely dependent on machines for translation management.
The lack of human involvement can result in catastrophic consequences for the delivery and interpretation of your multilingual content. Talented people determine the quality of your translated content. To ensure visitors to your website, readers of your articles/blog posts and existing clientele all enjoy an optimised ‘user experience’, you need ‘the human touch’.
Judging the deliverable – back translation
When working with content in a language you don’t understand, you obviously don’t have the luxury of managing quality first hand. By taking the time to understand what is involved in the translation process, you have the ability to manage the quality of delivery and ensure appropriate procedures are followed to increase the accuracy of the translation.
Back translation is another great way to gain insight into the quality of your translated content. Simply put, this is the further translation of an already translated document, back into the original language to provide a like-for-like comparison of the original against the back translated item.
This process should always be conducted by a translator who has not been previously involved in the project and has no prior knowledge of the objectives or its specific context.
People + Process + Technology = great global content
The ability to deliver products and product-related information to a global market quickly and cost effectively gives you distinct competitive advantage.
Content plays an essential role in the delivery of your product. By focusing on the understanding and engagement of people, process and technology, you can safeguard accurate multilingual content delivery and maximise your chances of global success.
Note: People often confuse translation memory with machine translation. Machine translation refers to software that performs translation automatically, whereas translation memory is software that stores and reuses translations performed by a human being, thus generating cost efficiencies and ensuring consistency for future translations.