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  • Writer's pictureHernán J. Droguett

The translation process: A brief guide

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

So, what does the translation process look like? It’s not a one-step operation but a careful, repetitive operation that includes source text analysis, terminology research, translation and editing, and finally, quality assurance and review. Let’s break it down.

Source text analysis

Analysis of the source text is the first step in this journey. It’s about understanding the text’s grammar, style, tone, and overall context. For instance, if the text contains technical jargon, the translator must have the necessary knowledge to accurately translate these terms. The premise here is "You can only translate what you can understand."

Terminology research

Terminology research is an essential component to ensure accuracy. Translators must identify the correct terminology to effectively convey meaning in the target language. Specialized translation memory software can be an invaluable tool here, helping translators maintain consistency across multiple translations.

Translation and editing

The translation and editing phase is the crux of the process. This is where the source text is transformed, with careful attention to maintaining structure, tone, and style. Cultural appropriateness is paramount here, especially when dealing with idiomatic expressions or cultural references.

During the translation and editing stage, the translator must pay close attention to the nuances of the target language and ensure that the translation is culturally appropriate. For example, if the source text contains idiomatic expressions or cultural references that may not be understood in the target language, the translator must find an appropriate equivalent that conveys the same meaning.

Quality assurance and review

Quality assurance and review are the final steps in the translation process, where the translation is proofread, checked for errors, and reviewed to ensure it meets expectations. Translation memory software, subject matter experts, and a keen eye for detail are key in this phase.

During the quality assurance and review stage, the translator may use a variety of tools and techniques to ensure the accuracy and quality of the translation. This may include using translation memory software to ensure consistency across multiple translations, consulting with subject matter experts to ensure technical accuracy, and conducting a final proofread to catch any errors or typos.

The translation process is a complex and iterative process that requires careful attention to detail and a thorough understanding of both the source and target languages. By following these stages and using the appropriate tools and techniques, translators can produce high-quality translations that accurately convey the meaning and intent of the original text.

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