How I define "quality" in translation
Quality is everybody's favourite concept, yet how do we actually define it?
My personal definition relies on several aspects.
I will not consider my work as completed until ALL the following criteria are satisfied:
- Completeness: Every piece of information should be translated. No content will be lost.
- Correctness: Everything should be conveyed with its most appropriate meaning. No mistranslations or dubious choices.
No ambiguity (unless intentional when the source text itself is ambiguous).
- Consistency: All technical terms should be always rendered with the same equivalent.
To this end, my trademark W4 method guarantees an exceptional level of consistency.
- Conciseness: Unnecessary periphrases should be avoided. Direct and simple solutions are preferable.
- Special formatting: Superscripts, subscripts, Greek letters, formulas,
everything that deviates from plain text should be rendered exactly with its proper format.
- Syntax and grammar: Subject-verb and adjective-noun agreement, verb tenses, sentence structure.
- Fluency, style, readability: Even technical documents can flow easily and be pleasant to read.
- "The invisible translator": Ideally the text should not sound like a translation,
but rather as it was written directly in the target language.
- Basics: No double spaces, no spaces before paragraph breaks, smart quotes,
no line breaks between a numerical value and its measurement unit, matching parentheses, etc.
- Spell check: The number of acceptable typing errors is exactly 0.
- Honesty: Last but not least, I will never accept a job unless I am absolutely certain that
(1) I will be able to provide a flawless product, and (2) I will be able to deliver at least 24 hours in advance.