What makes a good translation?

Why is a good translation critical to a company’s success?

A good translation is of utmost importance when venturing into new markets or launching a new product or service. Poorly translated product descriptions or marketing materials compromise the image of a company and question the quality of the services or products offered.

However, many businesses look for a cheap translation believing that a cheap translation can be actually a quality translation, as claimed by the service provider. The truth is, however, that a quality translation required quality translators and such specialists are not “cheap”. Subsequently, the cheap and allegedly quality translation incurs more expenses in the long run. As the companies suffer the consequences of low-quality translations, such as negative customer feedback, dropdown in sales, they realize the need for additional investments in retranslating their content and eventually buying genuinely good translation, which means that they pay twice for translating their materials.

What is translation and how to ensure good translation?

In essence, translation is not a simple word for word substitution but rather a very complex and creative process of rendering the original content in the target language by utilizing equivalent concepts and nuances corresponding to the source text. One of the characteristics of a good translation is that it reads like it was written in the target language. So, clearly, the most important aspect of producing a quality translation is hiring a good translator. Other important aspects that should be considered are the provider’s responsibility as well as the usage and usage proficiency of CAT tools on the part of the language service provider.

How to identify a good translator and why hiring a translation company is your best choice?

Identifying a good translator is never an easy task and it involves serious risks. It is best to hire a translation company that would handle recruiting the right linguist for your translation project and save you the time, resources and hassle that this process usually incurs. It is important to always look for an agency with years of experience in the translation industry that has developed screening processes in line with EN 15038, published by the European Committee for Standardization in regards to translation-specific quality management.

What are the attributes of a good translation?

Quality translation involves, above all, precision, knowledge of the subject matter, linguistic skills, native proficiency of the target language, experience, responsibility, and usage of CAT tools.


Quality translation is always precise – which means that all the information should be faithfully conveyed in the target copy. Not only the core message should be conveyed but no details should be omitted. A good translation is creating a precise equivalent of your source text in the target language.


This is an essential aspect of providing a quality translation. If you want to have your say conveyed adequately in the target language, using the language of your industry, you should only work with translators who either have a background in your subject matter or have years of experience translating similar content. Thus you enhance the quality of your translation and ensure that the translation will employ industry-standard terminology ratified in the target language.


This is definitely a key factor in creating a quality translation. Choosing a translator with linguistic education ensures impeccable grammar and style. A translator with linguistic background has received in-depth training in the source language, grammar, culture, and translation know-how. This ensures a deeper understanding of your culture and source text which is essential for creating a good translation.


It may seem that the need for native speakers of the target language is somewhat overemphasized by agencies but this is actually a core requirement to creating a good translation. A translator must always translate into his or her native language only, in order to ensure native proficiency of the target text. It is not only important that your provider is a native speaker of the target language but he must also reside in the target country as this ensures that the language is practiced on a daily basis.


You have probably heard the famous Julius Caesar quote: Experience is the teacher of all things. This holds true with the translation industry as well. A quality translation is always the result of years and years of translation experience where translators hone their skills and learn how to handle linguistic challenges quickly and efficiently.


Quality translation is always the result of geared effort and a high degree of responsibility. Even if you happen to hire a highly-skilled translator, if he or she lacks responsibility, you would not be able to trust the resulting work. Very often translation projects come with specific instructions and requirements which have to be followed as closely as possible. Terms need to be checked, no matter how experienced a translator is. Deadlines need to be met at all times. All this requires responsibility on the part of the language service provider, so establishing a good relationship with a responsible and responsive, client-oriented LSP is the key to receiving a good translation.


The translation quality is substantially improved by using CAT tools in the right way. With the help of advanced CAT tools, expert linguists analyze, utilize a company’s previous translations, compile them in Translation Memories (TMs), and create dictionaries and glossaries both for the company’s internal needs and for reference/implementation in upcoming translation projects. This ensures a consistent translation and unique brand name voice even if different translators work on the same project.

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