How we guarantee translation quality

At Pacific International Translations we work hard to ensure we achieve consistently high translation quality across all our translation languages.translation quality symbolsOur translation processes and quality management system are best practice.

They comply with the three Standards governing translation quality that exist in the world.

The following are key aspects in how we maintain consistently high translation quality.

Our Translators

Our translators are the best in the business.

They are tertiary qualified, experienced, and have a track record of producing high quality translations over many years.

We use a combination of our in-house translation staff and independent contractors.

Translator Qualifications

Our translators hold translation-specific tertiary qualifications.

Typically this will be a 4-year undergraduate degree or postgraduate master's in translation.

For translators based in Australia, we also expect NAATI Translator accreditation.

And for translators elsewhere, we recognise the following as equivalent industry qualifications:
- CATTI level 2 (China)
- ATA Certified Translator (USA)
- IoL Dip Trans (UK)
- Certified Translator (Canada).

What is NAATI?

NAATI is the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters in Australia.
• NAATI is responsible for setting and monitoring the professional standards for interpreters and translators in Australia
• NAATI accredits appropriately qualified interpreters and translators in Australia.

Translator Experience
Translation is a difficult skill, and most translators improve their translation quality noticeably with experience.

With time they refine and improve their translation processes, which is key to ensuring accuracy. And they become better writers.

We look for several years' experience in an environment where their work has been monitored or reviewed by others. This is because constructive feedback is instrumental in developing alternative translation strategies and gaining exposure to alternative wording options.

Trialling of Translators
A translator who on paper has the required qualifications and experience will still often not produce the translation quality we are looking for. We therefore test and then trial all potential translators.

Only those who achieve the level of quality we require will then be considered for future work.

We receive several applications a day from translators all round the world wanting to work for us. Very few meet our requirements and standards.

Some don’t have the qualifications we expect. Others lack some of the skills needed to be a professional translator.

Yet others we test clearly don’t follow accepted best practice translation processes, and their translation quality isn’t good enough.

Very few people have what it takes to be a professional translator. And because we won’t compromise on quality, we use only the best of those that do.

On-going Translator Assessment
Our translators are assessed on each job they complete for us. This is based on any reviewer’s comments, client feedback and the project manager’s assessment.

This leads to an overall translation quality rating for that translator. Our project managers use these ratings to select only our best translators for specific projects.

Technical Experts
Certain texts require translators with specialised knowledge. Examples would be legal, financial and engineering texts.

We often use industry experts on these projects. Typically this will be someone who is qualified in that field and has turned to translation either full or part-time. Using such experts removes the possibility of a translator not fully understanding the source text, and thus making a translation error.

And it ensures the translation uses appropriate terminology and phraseology for that field.

Peer Review of Translation Quality

The leading Translation quality Standard, EN15038, stipulates that all translations must be reviewed (“revised” is the term used) by a second, equally qualified translator. This review checks translation accuracy, register, and style to confirm the translated text’s “suitability for purpose”.

We carry out this process for all our quality-assured translations. Our normal practice is to refer any reviewer’s comments/suggestions back to the principal translator, and a final text is then agreed between the two.

We have found this peer review process to be highly successful over the years in eliminating errors - because translators are human, they do inevitably make mistakes occasionally. It also ensures our translations are completely accurate and well worded.

Any review must be thorough and correctly structured. It must we crystal clear what the reviewer is to do, and what not to do. We expand on this in our translation review guidelines article.

Project Manager Checks

Our project managers aren’t employed just to administer translation work. They also take an active role in our translation quality control processes. Like all our staff, their focus is on ensuring the work we produce is always of professional quality.

Our project managers  liaise between translator and reviewer in the translation review process. They also complete a final “safety check” of translations before dispatch. And if the project involves typesetting, they will review this as part of our quality assurance processes.