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What is a Back Translation?

What is a Back Translation?

Most people believe that translation is a simple activity that everyone can perform. This assertion is false since translation is an extremely difficult process that necessitates a keen eye for detail as well as a variety of strategies to achieve 100% accuracy. It is easier to write a document in one’s native tongue than it is to rewrite it in another. For the translation process, a highly skilled individual is an excellent choice.

There are also several types of translations that are necessary for various types of documents. Some documents, for example, require notarized translations, while others require translation certification. This is because different governmental departments have varying translation needs. In the majority of cases, translated documents are used during the immigration procedure. Because this is the realm where you’ll require documents written in any other language.

Additionally, translated documents are required for admission to various sorts of universities as well as obtaining a license in any foreign state. When working with multinational companies, official business processes may also necessitate the translation of documents. Because of the sensitivity of the material, certified translators utilize a variety of approaches to assure the correctness of the translation. You need to do the reconciliation of the document when there are semantic differences between the back translation and the original document.

What is back translation? 

Even it is a certified translation or notarized translation how would a person know that translation is hundred percent accurate. Now there is a technique called back translation which is used by several professionals in translation agencies to make sure that the translation is accurate.

what is back translation
meaning of translations

In this process, the translation document in the target language is given to any other translator who has no idea about the document in the original language. When he translates it back to the original language and the document is compared with the original document then it is easier to evaluate either the translation is accurate or not.

This is a long process but it is the easiest way to assure the accuracy of professional translation. But here one thing people need to understand that back translation does not mean that you will get the same copy of the original document. The purpose is to check either the translated document is making the same sense or not. The context-based translation is not easy and to assure its accuracy professionals prefer back translation.

In the back translation, the translator is usually just given meaning to the words and that is why when you get a document that does not make sense that means that the translation is contextless. This is also the reason that you never give the project of back-translation to the original translator because the sole purpose of back translation is the second opinion on the translation process.

How to do back translation?

While doing back translation keep in mind that it is a kind of translation quality test. And the main thing that test needs to identify is semantic differences between the original translation and back Translation. That is why most people prefer independent translators for the task of back-translation. Here is a method of doing back translation easily.

Back translation procedures include three main steps for the quality test. Following are those three steps that you need to follow to do the background translation.

  • Translating back to the original language

The first back Translation step is to translate the document into the original language. Here you need to make sure that you give the exact meaning of the words used in the translated document. Usually, clients who have documents that need sensitive translation of risk content use other techniques more than just translation to assure the quality of translation like proofreading, editing, back translation, etc. So while back translation does not edit the document or add the things which you think can change the context of the translated document. It is the editing process where the costly translation errors are removed.

  • Comparison with the original document

The second step for the back translation is to compare it with the original document. If both the documents have the equivalence of meaning then the translation is accurate. The main goal of the bad translation is to check either the translated document is an accurate depiction of the original document or not. And while comparing there is no need of editing the document. This whole process can take extra time so make sure that you give the translation project earlier to easily go through all phases with peace of mind.

  • Reconciliation Process

The reconciliation process includes the editing of errors in the translation that you identified in the back translation while comparing it to the source language document. If you are a professional translator then you can also pair with translation partners to provide other services like back translation and reconciliation services.

compare translations
back translaton assure quality

Sometimes client only needs the comparison report with the original document with the reconciliation report. But sometimes clients require the editing process as well. So if you have a team of translators you can easily provide all the satisfactory services to your client.

Documents that require Back translation

Different industries and different types of documents required a hundred percent accurate translation. Because the translation outcomes are going to use for big purposes. For example, the Pharmaceutical industry requires the translation of different documents like clinical trials, etc. These documents are going to use for different purposes like manufacturing of medicines, prescriptions, medical reports, etc. Errors in these kinds of documents are not affordable.

Following are few types of documents which is required back translation or double translation as an additional quality check. In the field of medicine or legal field double translation is standard practice. Most of the translation agencies also provide a copy of the back translation for the client quality assessment. And to build trust with their clients.

  • Legal documents
  • Clinical trial documents
  • Medical forms
  • Clinical trials documents
  • Marketing material
  • Financial reporting
  • Cross-cultural research
  • Clinical research grant

Additional things other than back translation to assure quality

Quality in the language is very difficult to achieve. Because the nature of languages is different and various languages have different standards of quality. Standards of quality also vary from person to person. So, if you are providing translation services to any client make sure to get to know about the client and his specific requirements.

If you do not know what the clients need, you will not be able to provide satisfactory results. This is because of the diversity of the languages that everyone has their standards when it comes to languages. So here are five additional things you can do for sure the quality of translation for the client.

  • Proofreading 

Many people keep the extra costs for proofreading. It is completely up to you if you are a professional translator that you want to keep the proofreading free of cost. But you can do general proofreading before sending the document to the client. Make sure that everything is okay from your end. Some people consider proofreading as an essential part of the translation method. Otherwise, there can be potential issues.

  • Editing 

After doing the translation and proofreading you can also change the terminology that you think suits best to the context. Most of the professional translation is context-based so edit where you think there is any ambiguity.

  • Reconciliation 

You can also provide reconciliation services the compliment your translation services with the claim of accuracy. Proofreading, editing, and reconciliation are completely three different domains. The work of the translator is only to translate the document these three things are often confused with the translation. Most people think that it is the responsibility of a professional translator to provide all these three services free of cost. But in actual these require different skills and extra time. It takes extra time but it’s worth it. It is important for the accuracy of translations.

back translation

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