Practicing Quality Assurance for Freelance Translators

There are few professions that require greater precision and accuracy than that of a freelance translator. Perfection of message transmission requires that you provide the quality assurance of your translations so that they meet all of your clients’ needs as defined by a clear set of client guidelines on how and what you will communicate. It is up to you, the freelance translator, to develop the quality assurance process as it relates to the customer’s needs.

The Technical Quality of the Final Language

For the best results, you should focus on jobs that involve translation into your native tongue. This is important because your primary focus is on the quality of the message provided to the final, intended recipients in their native tongue. So, it is not enough for you to have spent most of your life studying and speaking the target language. Few people can study a language after the first couple years of life and learn all of the subtle variations in the language usage, no matter how grammatically correct their language skills may become. But learning as much of the source language as you can and attaining credentials that show your fluency is a key to ensuring an accurate, total translation in the target language.

Proofreading and editing are not optional. They should be centerpieces of your quality assurance practices. As much as possible, you need to have a separate third-party acting in each of these roles. For a professional freelance translator to maintain quality, proofreading must follow editing in order to ensure the full grammatical and functional accuracy of your written translation.

Ensure Your Understanding of Source Language Materials

If the source language materials have inaccuracies or imprecise information, it is likely to be amplified in your translation. It is up to you to ensure that you review the meaning of the information with your client. You should make any necessary edits to the source language materials before beginning your translation.

Asking Basic Questions About the Purpose of the Translation

It is important to recognize that the meaning of the source materials is likely to be tied up in cultural understandings. But before you can even to begin to untangle culture and language, you’ll need to ask basic questions about the purpose of the source materials and the reasons your clients want them translated. Your method of translation should be based on answers to these questions. You need to understand if your purpose is to convince the audience of something or to provide technical documentation.

Another basic question that must be answered is about the regional dialect of your target audience. Most languages have variations from one region to another and from one class to another. Likewise, language varies between common individuals and technical experts. Ask enough questions of your clients to make sure you provide the right type of translation.

Finally, you need to make sure your documents maintain the visual style of the original. Look over everything to make sure it flows smoothly. Taking the time to see to it that you have the proper appearance in your documents shows a true commitment to quality assurance.