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The Spanish Translation Review Process

8/23/2012 by Lon Schultz

Our clients sometimes have translations that we have completed for them reviewed by a review committee, another professional translator, or by one of their Spanish speaking employees. We always welcome this process - it shows our clients' commitment to the best possible quality. Before a review, we like for our clients to read our Spanish Translation Best Practices so they understand the process their translation went through prior to being reviewed. For the best outcome with a translation review, it is important to have a common understanding and process to work through. Following are suggestions and considerations that we discuss with our clients before the translation review starts.

How to best provide translation feedback to Strictly Spanish:

  1. If a committee of several people is doing the review, it is important to appoint a team leader that develops consensus. The team leader then provides the review changes and suggestions to Strictly Spanish.
  2. Be specific – Instead of saying: “I don’t like the way this is written,” say: “This should read like this” (write how you want it to say).
  3. Give specific examples – Instead of saying: “This sounds odd to me,” change it, say: “I would say…” (replace what’s written with your suggestion).
  4. Correct documents with your preferences by either using Track Changes in Word, or crossing out what you don’t like and typing it in red so we can tell what you would like us to do.

Remember: Translations, as well as any type of writing in any language, are very subjective and there are many ways of conveying the same message. None of them is incorrect, it is just a matter of style. Our job as translators is to bridge the linguistic differences between Mexicans, Salvadorians, Argentineans, Puerto Ricans, etc. and use a language that is devoid of localisms and that all readers/users can understand. When thinking that you don’t say it this or that way, think instead if you can understand it as written instead of how you will change it, because what will sound comfortable to your way of speaking and communicating might sound odd to other nationalities. Second-generation Hispanics born in the United States and raised in a Spanish-speaking home speak a different Spanish than their parents because they are being influenced by English. Spanglish is not a correct way to produce materials for mass media.

Also: Advertising campaigns and mass-media products are catchy and gimmicky in English, but many times the gimmicks, buzzwords, and slogans don’t work in Spanish. Translators translate “literally” what the English says. Translators cannot re-write the English to make the Spanish work, or change the Spanish to make it work departing from what the English says. In those cases, clients need to hire a Hispanic Marketing firm that specializes in creating mass-media products in Spanish to the tastes and likes of the Hispanic consumer, which in most instances are different than those of their English-speaking counterparts.

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