Mondial Translations & Interpreting

The 6 Laws of Quality Foreign Language Translation

Here's How To Choose the Best Translation Agency. By Ken Zwerdling, CEO, Mondial Translations & Interpreting, Inc.


Greenville, SC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/14/2006 --To wisely compare translation agencies, focus on how they define their quality process— their translators, tools and methods— to make sure you receive the best final product. After all, your company’s name will be on it.

Keeping these six items in mind will help you make the best selection:

1. Language Style and Flow: Only Humans, Not Software, Can Perform Quality Translations

As you know, languages are very complex. That’s why quality translations cannot be performed via software translation programs. Software and web-based programs that instantly translate text are 40-50% inaccurate and should only be used to identify general ideas within a document. Even in our sophisticated age of technology, translations must be conducted by human translators since personal judgment is absolutely essential to perform quality translation.

Separately, translation memory software such as TRADOS should be used during the translation process. It’ll keep the terminology consistent and track previously-translated items. When a word, sentence or paragraph is translated, the memory software ensures those items are translated exactly the same way every time. This should also reduce costs because you are charged at a substantially reduced rate for terms and phrases appearing repeatedly throughout a document.

2. Quality Translations Should Only Be Performed By Formally-Trained Translation Professionals

Using people not formally trained to translate important documents usually results in sometimes subtle, but significant errors that compromise the effectiveness of the communication. While many people are multilingual, this doesn’t necessarily qualify them to translate materials. Don’t risk it— insist on a team of experienced and trained translation professionals.

3. Quality Translations Should Be Performed by a Native Speaker Currently Residing In the “Target Language” Location

Only native-speaking translators living in the country of the “target” language— that is, the language being translated into— can provide quality translations. Since language constantly evolves, when people reside in countries other than their native country, their familiarity of their language erodes over time. For example, translation into French (Europe) translations should only be conducted by translators born, raised, educated and currently residing in France. Apply this principle when translating into any language.

4. Beware of Too-Good-to-Believe Translation Prices

You can’t afford mistakes. And no qualified, educated and experienced translator accepts projects for pennies per word— and neither should you. Translation isn’t and shouldn’t be considered a commodity. When comparing price, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. How many years of experience do the agency’s translation professionals have? What services are included in the price? Often, agencies charge extra for items such as project management, editing or proofreading.

5. Quality Translations Should Be Performed By Translators with Subject-Specific Knowledge and Experience

Just as you probably wouldn’t want your lawyer providing medical advice or your doctor providing financial advice, the same applies to translations. Do the agency’s translators have industry-specific experience as it relates to your project? Only translators with a legal background should perform legal translations; only translators with an engineering background should translate technical documents— and so on.

6. Quality Translations Are Reviewed By Two or More Translators

Quality translations are always reviewed by several qualified translation professionals. If you were writing a company catalog, text for a website or a proposal contract, you’d never submit and print your first draft and consider the project complete. You’d produce several drafts and have them carefully reviewed by other qualified sets of eyes. Your translation agency should work this way, too. Every project should be translated by one translator, edited and proofread by a second, then reviewed a third time by a project manager before delivery to you— error-free.

About Us
Mondial Translations & Interpreting ( is a foreign language translation, interpreting and website localization firm headquartered in Greenville, SC with an office in New York, NY. We are a Certified Woman Owned Small Business with the United States. In addition, we are on the General Services Administration (GSA) contract schedule with the federal government. We translate documents ranging from technical manuals, legal contracts and marketing collateral to financial statements, training manuals, e-learning courses, web sites, medical journals, software, policy and procedure handbooks, newsletters and much more. We frequently translate documents that range from 1,000 words to over several million in over 75 different language combinations.