The perfect translation doesn't exist—only because it's entirely subjective and you simply can't measure how 'perfect' a translated copy truly is.
In translation, much like any other creative task - like copywriting or graphic design - there is no one way of doing it. Depending on the individual or organisation that you choose to engage with, they will deliver to you a different set of results, each with their own flair and touch to it.
You could place ten different translators on one job, and the chances are, you'll receive outputs that differ from one another—perhaps not in the delivery of the message, but rather in the word choices, vocabulary or overall build of the sentences. Given that language and ideas are fluid, there are always many ways of expression, and that'll vary from one translator to the other. This is more prevalent in more descriptive forms of writing, like advertising/marketing texts or literature. You'll find the differences less pronounced in more technical texts, like legal, engineering and hard sciences etc.
For other reasons which we'll walk you through, translating the 'perfect' copy isn't viable, simply because it doesn't exist. At the end of the day, so as long as the copy suits your tone, delivery, and message, that's what matters most. It's all about whether the translation accomplishes what it's set out to do. That's why the translation brief at the start of a project is very important.
So, why can't translation be 'perfect'?
1. Every translator is different. They would have their own area or field of expertise, languages that they're proficient at, and their very own unique quirks and habits when they translate. Consider how your different close friends text. Are there certain patterns that you observe in how someone types certain words or uses emoticons a particular way? You're all texting in the same language or in languages that are mutually understood.
2. And all clients are different. Each client comes with different translation needs. Some have an inhouse marketing team who can proofread and polish the document, and they just need someone to do the heavy lifting of translating voluminous text. Some companies need to translate their texts into multiple languages that they have no inhouse knowledge of, and they need the translation agency to handle the entire process, from translation, proofreading, copy-editing and polishing, and some even require desktop publishing.
And every client comes with their own preferences and expectations from past experiences around translation, the use of words, as well as different topics. You'll find that even different people on the client's team may have different input on the project. This is why a translation agency that strives to be a true partner to its clients have to communicate and listen well to understand the purpose of each project, and to provide the correct translation solution.
3. Also, there's the myth that translators will be able to translate every topic under the sun, but that couldn't be further from the truth. A technical translator who does well with engineering and construction text may not be able to handle marketing or transcreation projects, and vice versa. A literary translator may stay far, far away from legal translation. This does not mean that they can't handle the translation of such text if needed. But working and professional knowledge and experience matters in translation.
Based on who you choose, where their expertise lies in, and how well they're able to meet the brief that you've presented to them, the output will vary.
That's why it's good to work with translation agencies, because they come with a plethora of experience under their belt, and a pool of translators that are specliaised in different topics and skillset. The project manager will get an understanding of your project needs and match you up with the right translators for the job, so that you'll get the translation that meets your needs.
Having a Quality Controlled Translation Process
At Wei.Trans.Create, we provide translation through a quality control process of translation and proofreading to make sure that the translation that you receive is one that you'll be satisfied with.
For public-facing content, we would propose to transcreate the text, which involves an additional measure of monolingual proofreading after the standard two-step approach of translation followed by proofreading done by a second linguist. This is how we polish translations so that the content is fluent and sounds like it was originally written in the translated language.
For translations where critical information is involved or for transcreation of advertising copy, we can provide a back translation of the translation. Back translation is an unpolished translation that does not have to be fluent. In fact, it is meant not to be so because its purpose is to allow clients to understand exactly what the translation is saying just so that you get to have more control and peace of mind over content that you release or contracts that you sign that are not in a language that you understand.
As you can see, we don't offer 'perfect' translations we offer different translation solutions for different requirements. Our experts here are dedicated to the work, and we'll make sure that every text that's translated here, meets our very own, as well as your standards!
Do you have any document or content that you've been thinking of getting translated? Reach out to us here to get started!