Tag Archives: great quality translations

How Do I Know That I am Getting a Good Translation From You?

I was interpreting simultaneously into French two weeks ago with a colleague in Rouyn-Noranda using our portable equipment system. Rouyn-Noranda is a quaint mining town located in the North-West area of Quebec, not far from the Ontario border.

This conference, organized by RUIS McGill (Réseau Universitaire Intégré de Santé) was devoted to Tele-Health. A very promising concept indeed, especially for health care in remote areas. Medical specialists are far and few in between in distant rural areas. You would in a typical town of 5000 find one or two family doctors, a few nurses, but hardly a cardiologist or an oncologist. The patient would have to travel to a large city to see a specialist. This requires time, money, organization and a considerable effort for the patient if his or her mobility is restricted.

Tele-Health puts the patient in direct contact with the specialist and in real time through Internet technology and special software. It is a consultation done remotely. It makes the specialist more accessible to the patient, allows for faster care while reducing costs.

However, the point I am getting at is this:

During lunch, I was seated next to a friendly lady whose name was Deborah. Professor at McGill, she was explaining to me that her department had tasked a translation bureau with the translation into French of a large manual. The translation was deemed so poor that the department undertook to edit it to such an extent that the edited document was more a retranslation than a simple editing.  Deborah even suspected the translation bureau used one of these translation softwares that one easily finds on the net when it provided the service.

And of course, the department paid.

So, she asked me how she could be sure that her next translation would be a good one.

After having apologised for a substandard product delivered by an industry member (not the first time!) I told her how we sometimes do things for large job: I would select a few resumes from translators whom I deem are suitable to the task and who have successfully worked for us in the past. For privacy reasons, I cover their names, addresses and only identify them on their resumes as Translator A, Translator B etc…I e-mail those to the client for discussion and then discuss with the client the qualifications of the translators.

Two pairs of eyes are better than one. It is especially true here because if the client and I agree on a set of translators, we can almost certainly be sure that the production will be very satisfactory. .. and in the very unlikely event that something goes wrong, the client will be hesitant to put the blame on since it is he or she who chose the translators…

Deborah thought it was a cool idea…and took my business card.