In Translation/Localization

Let’s face it, if you have dealt with translation projects, then you know translation is complex, subjective and definitely not an exact science. Translation “quality” often conjures up differing thoughts in the minds of different people.  There is more to consider than a “right” or “wrong” translation.  Client-Side Reviewers –the bilingual people on the client’s side who will review the final, translated work – have varying linguistic preferences and language knowledge.  One reviewer might think a translated project is perfect, while another might find faults with the same translation.


Client-Side Reviewers hold a lot of influence within.  Those that provide you feedback will strongly influence your perception of the quality of the translation work.  For this reason, it is important for you to keep some key points in mind when deciding who to assign as your Client-Side Reviewer.


The Role of the Client-Side Reviewer

For a brand to become truly global, culture and language must be integrated into the core strategy and at be at the forefront of the global initiatives.  By encouraging your language provider to participate in your global localization strategy, you increase your brand’s globalization success.  As part of globalization initiatives, companies need to designate someone on their side as a Client-Side Reviewer. The Client-Side Reviewer acts as the target language verifier for language in the region where products will be launched or the documents used.


This person “reviews” the relevance of translated content. He or she collaborates with the language service provider and gives feedback because he knows the company and its vernacular better than anyone.  The role of the Client-Side Reviewer is not intended to detect linguistic errors such as grammar.  Rather, it is to weigh in on in-house vernacular, regionalisms, tone, style and brand direction.


Who Is Not a Client-Side Reviewer

A Client-Side Reviewer is an integral part of the team working to localize and/or globalize your brand. While being bilingual is, of course, typically required for the job (more on this in Part 2 of this blog series), being bilingual cannot be the only qualification. Let’s explore an exaggerated example to put this in context.


Brand XYZ seeks to market a brand-new type of microscope to pharmaceutical research companies around the world. This new invention is a marvel of scientific innovation! It sends the technical specifications to be translated (without involving a Client-Side Reviewer). When it gets the final translated specifications, it asks the company’s accountant’s 11th-grade daughter, who happens to have had three years of Spanish in school, to review the Spanish translation.


The problem here is pretty obvious – it’s unlikely that that an 11th grade student will understand the scientific concepts in the technical specifications for a highly-advanced microscope. I’m sure this hypothetical student is incredibly smart, but not-pharmaceutical-microscope-inventing smart.


The bottom line is that there are some individuals who should not be your Client-Side Reviewer. Consider not only the individual’s language skills, but their knowledge of the product, service, and/or processes in the documents to be translated.


Unintended Consequences

When clients do not select someone for the vital role of Client-Side Reviewer at the onset of their translation projects, problems are sure to follow.  Often times, when the translation is complete, they find and share the document with any bilingual person they can find for review.  A bilingual person in the company who has not been a part of the project launch process is sure to have input that is not aligned with the details of the project plan.


When an Client-Side Reviewer did not provide the linguists with preferred linguistic nuances to be built-in at the onset of translation projects, artificial conflict can arise over word choice and tone even in 100% technically correct translation work.


Where a client neither involves an Client-Side Reviewer at the beginning of a project to set the linguistic preferences for the target language and audience, nor conducts any review of the final product before putting it to use, it may find out too late that the target audience isn’t getting what the client was trying to communicate. Language solutions providers can only work with the information provided. If not told that the target audience has a 6th-grade reading level, or speaks Arabic from the North African region vs. the Gulf Region, linguists will do their best to determine the best word choices from context, but may ultimately choose incorrectly.


To ensure that the target audience hears and understands the message being conveyed, it is vital to involve an Client-Side Reviewer that beginning of any translation project. The Client-Side Reviewer can set the parameters for the linguists up-front, ensuring that the message does not get lost in translation.


Linguistic preferences such as regionalisms and tone are a topic of great controversy in the language world and deserve detailed attention. Watch for Part 2 of this Blog Series addressing linguistic preferences as well as how to move forward where no Client-Side Reviewer is available.


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