Good Reviewers Help Ensure Great Translations

One of the biggest challenges many of our clients face is selecting reviewers. Choosing reviewers, like creating a translation, is less of a science and more of an art. We don’t know of any way to guarantee success, but we’ve noticed some similarities among the reviewers we respect.

Translators have exceptional language skills and training in the process of translation; typically a bachelor’s or master’s degree in translation as well as significant experience. While they’re professional linguists who are well practiced in translation, much of their industry knowledge comes from study rather than direct experience.

By comparison, reviewers should be experts in their field, but not necessarily skilled at translation. They should be comfortable allowing someone else to write the translation, stepping in only to identify misunderstandings or mistakes. Rewording text is frowned upon, especially if the changes are stylistic in nature.

Ideally, your reviewers will be native speakers of the language of the translation and, at a minimum, will have completed both their primary and secondary education, first grade through high school, in that language. They should also have a college or graduate degree earned at an English-speaking university.

It’s highly unlikely that an individual raised in a bilingual family, but not formally educated in a language, will be successful as a reviewer. It’s also unlikely that native English speakers will be effective in reviewing documents translated from English into other languages.

When working with reviewers, take care to make the process, and your expectations, clear. Give written instructions that identify what reviewers should look for as well as a date by when comments should be received. Click here for the MAGNUS translation review form. By using a form like this, you’ll generally receive more thoughtful and productive comments.

As you work with different reviewers and, perhaps with different language companies, we think you’ll realize that by working with MAGNUS, you can’t get closer to healthcare.