Translation Errors and Finding the Right Measure for Them

Report written by Anna Colominas.

Finding the Right Error Measure

As you begin to expand your target audience to include speakers of languages other than just English, you may quickly find the road ahead of you is much rockier than you had originally anticipated. But don’t fret: creating impactful, lasting multilingual content is a long game, which  requires developing the right strategy. 

So, before you set out on your journey to conquer the global marketplace — one masterful translation at a time — let’s consider a few essential questions. How can you measure translation success, and how do you make sure the localized content delivered by your suppliers meets your expectations? Do all parties involved have a clear idea of what these expectations even are? Is there such a thing as an acceptable threshold for errors and, if so, how do you go about putting one into place? Last, but not least, you may want perfect or near-perfect translations, but… is that even a realistic goal?

In this article we will offer you some guidance on how to navigate the often nebulous realm of error ratings and quality management frameworks. The need to invest in developing a sound, highly experiential quality program together with your partners may just be one of the best tips you’ll (hopefully) walk away with after reading the following pages.

User experience, the holy grail of translation

User experience (UX) is the talk of the town these days. In order to delight and convert their audiences, companies need to offer a polished, convincing UX. The design thinking approach to project planning and execution has become — precisely because it is focused on the end-user — a critical first step before launching any big initiative across most content-related industries. These can range from marketing to website design through to copywriting and, last but not least, the translation and localization industry.

This focus on UX is all in good measure as, in order to completely fulfill the expectations of your target customers, you first need to fully determine and understand what those expectations are. And very often they entail your customers accessing the content in their native language. Translation and localization are, in a way, indissociable from this design-centric, user-focused approach. Assessing the intrinsic quality of a translation and/or counting the number of errors prior to the publishing or release stage can inform on just what impact (whether good or bad) a translation might have on the UX of your end customers.

Inversely, factoring in the end user’s experience is another way to inform a quality framework, with users rating how optimal the localized target content feels. For purposes of illustration, you can have a look at the following user experience-driven rating scorecard. The idea is for the end user to select the score based on how they experience the language while navigating through the translated content. Note that this is just one example, and such a scorecard can always be adapted to the specific needs of your project.

This has been a preview. The full report can be accessed online by Nimdzi Partners.

The full publication goes into detail about the different perspectives and tactics when developing a quality framework for your content. If you are not a Nimdzi Partner, contact us.

This report has been researched and written by Nimdzi's external correspondent, Anna Colominas. If you want to learn more about this topic, reach out to Anna at [email protected].

20 June 2022

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