Language Services for the Global Market Research Industry – Whitepaper
To achieve the best possible quality in a translation or transcription project, there are a number of principles that should be in place.
Use of native translators to fully convey the intricacies and colloquiums of the language.
To achieve the highest quality translation, the translator should be native to the language they are translating into. Studying a second language to a high level will enable a translator to be fully fluent and able to provide a good quality translation, however living with the language day-to-day provides a thorough understanding of all the subtleties used in the language.
Use of fully qualified, professional translators
All translators used should have studied to an industry-recognised translation qualification or degree. This provides a full understanding of the technical aspects of translation over and above being fluent in the language.
Industry-specialists for a complete and up-to-date understanding of technical terminology
A translator working on a project should also be experienced in the relevant industry sector. Within the market research industry, there are a whole range of subjects that are addressed; from medical to financial, commercial to legal and more. A translator would struggle to have complete knowledge in all of these areas. Therefore, employing a translator that is a specialist in that industry sector will ensure that they are completely up-to-date with any technical terminology, processes and trends, as well as the contextual understanding of the subject matter to use the vocabulary appropriately.
Proofreading and editing by an equally-qualified linguist as a failsafe
Even with the utmost of care, there is still the possibility of human error in a piece of work. By recognising this and using a proofreader for every project means any error is caught and rectified before delivery to the market research company.
A good language service provider should be offering proofreading as standard, not as an add-on service.
The proofreader should be equally-qualified and experienced. They should be provided with the original source document, the translated version and the project brief that was given to the translator.
A proofreader should evaluate the quality and style of the language used, assessing if it accurately achieves the aim of the brief, as well as checking the file for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Quality-control measures for proofreading
A language service provider should be putting measures in place to check that the proofreader is 100% thorough with their examination of the document. For example, a few ‘deliberate errors’ could be inserted throughout the translation. Checking that these errors have been picked up will demonstrate that the translation has been meticulously checked.
Once the feedback from the proofreader has been compiled, it should be sent back to the original translator to resolve any queries. There may be some back and forth between the linguists at this stage if any of the queries are particularly complex. However, between them, they should aim to finalise the document to a standard that successfully achieves the client’s brief.
Sometimes there is disagreement…
Occasionally, the translator and proofreader struggle to agree on a final version of the translation. In this case, a 3rd independent translator should be engaged to check the translation, provide another perspective and agree on a final, best version.
Recruitment and screening
The quality of translation or transcription relies heavily on selecting the right linguists for the project, as detailed above. A good quality language service provider should have robust processes in place to recruit and screen their linguists to their database.
Work history, qualifications and references should be verified and all linguists should undergo a language test to ensure their suitability for the projects. Feedback from clients, proofreaders and the internal project management team should be logged to monitor consistent high-standards and drive any improvements required.
The market research company has a role to play too
The client or market research company can also assist with the accuracy of a translation of a study and its timely delivery.
A good language service provider will want to fully and clearly understanding their client’s brief before embarking on a project.
The goal, the context and the demographic are key elements of a study that a language service provider should be asking for before commencing.
For example, if a study is targeted to ask older adults about their opinion on their television viewing, the language used, its phraseology and tone adopted, can be different to that of a study researching the television viewing habits of teenagers.
Equally, in a qualitative study, when using a discussion guide for an in-depth interview in a business context, the language used will be professional and formal. In contrast, a focus group session for young people, in a less formal environment, the conversation is likely to be more open, honest and less restricted.
The care and thought put into the design of a study, its objectives and the phrasing of its questions to achieve these goals should be appreciated by the language service provider and replicated as closely as possible in the translation. With a clear brief provided, the translators can ensure this is achieved, the project is translated effectively and the best possible data is obtained.
Without accurate, high-quality translation or transcription, the meaning behind the data is lost and conclusions are no longer valid. Implementing quality-control measures is therefore critical to the success of any global market research project.