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5 Characteristics of a High-Quality Translation

By Hagen Weiss

Have you wondered how you can tell a high-quality translation from a poor quality translation? There can often be misconceptions when it comes to deciphering whether a translation is indeed high-quality. For example, an accurate word-for-word translation does not necessarily mean it is a quality translation.

In this article, we’ll explore five characteristics you should look for in a high-quality translation.

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1. Catered to the target audience for high quality translation

Translations need to cater to the intended target audience. The audience can be customers, such as retail shoppers, mobile app users, or homebuyers. Audiences can also be other businesses (i.e. B2B), medical professionals, or academics.

A good translation will take into account the target audience and adjust the tone and style accordingly. For instance, translation of a technical paper would differ in inflection and tonality compared to a translation of, say, a travel brochure. The audience of a technical paper would likely be subject matter experts in their field, whereas a travel brochure is for an average customer looking for travel information.

2. Culturally appropriate

Not every phrase, saying, or sentence means the same thing in different cultures. Translations need to take into account how words are interpreted by the intended audience. Even the same word in the same language could mean different things in a different culture.

For example, the English word “pants” in North America means trousers or an article of clothing covering your body from the waist to your ankles. In the UK, however, “pants” means underwear. A high-quality translation will ensure the language is suitable for the culture of the audience.

3. Focuses on meaning and intent

A good translation focuses on the meaning and intent, rather than merely word equivalence. Part of a translator’s job is to first interpret the original document and then convey the message as accurately as possible. A literal word-for-word translation can often miss out on the intent of the document, as the cultural and linguistic context all needs to be taken into account.

4. Free of errors (even minor ones!)


Whether it’s using the wrong words, awkward phrasing, or grammatical issues, a high-quality translation should be free of errors. Even minor mistakes can look unprofessional and affect the reputation of your business.

High-quality translations should go through a rigorous QA process to ensure there are no errors. There should be at least two or more reviewers checking over the document. It is not good enough to have the translator check their own work, as even the best translators will make mistakes.

5. Sounds like a native speaker


The best translations should be natural and unforced. Everything should make sense, read well, and flow nicely. In fact, a well-translated document will not sound like a translation at all. The translation should sound and feel as if a native speaker was conveying the message.

iGlobe – High Quality Translation & Localization Services


iGlobe provides high-quality translation and localization services to its clients in various industries. With our rigorous QA procedures, we ensure your translations are error-free while conveying your intended message to your target audience.

Contact us today for more information on our services.