Connect Translators with Reviewers — It Will Make the Review Process Simpler

Written by Diane Haines, Translation Manager at The Geo Group Corporation.

When we take on a project that has a client review step, we are aware that there is a significant risk that the review could go badly. Think of it in logical terms: have you ever read someone else’s work and thought that their grammar or word choice was awful? I see this all the time and tend to mentally edit what I am reading.

The same goes for reviewers and translators. While most translators stay as close to the English source text as possible, reviewers tend to take more liberties with the translation and localize it for their own specific needs. A reviewer can make tons of changes to a document, but most reviewers are editing the original source document to fit their local area. This isn’t a bad thing, but it looks really bad when you get the review back.

The reviewer may also comment that the original translation was terrible. Yet, when we have it independently reviewed, we find that the heavy edits the reviewer made also changed the style or meaning of the source text—a liberty our translator is not usually allowed. The reviewer may prefer a more formal version, but the translator closely followed the tone of the source document, which was more informal.

Getting translators and reviewers together before the review takes place can reduce or even eliminate a contentious review process. Let the translator and reviewer converse in their native language and encourage the translator to go directly to the reviewer for terminology questions. This step creates a bond between the translator and reviewer and allows for a much smoother review process.

The last thought I would like to leave you with is one that came directly from a Japanese reviewer. Until the reviewer actually talked to our Japanese translator, the reviewer was convinced that our translations were done by a Japanese-speaking American sitting somewhere with a dictionary. The reviewer admitted going into the review process with a negative mindset, and until the reviewer actually talked to the translator in their native language via email and phone calls, they didn’t believe that a Japanese person had worked on our documents. The review process went much smoother after the introductions were made, and the number of changes dropped dramatically once they communicated directly in their native language.

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