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Is Back Translation a Part of the Translation Process?

Is Back Translation a Part of the Translation Process?

What is back translation?

A relatively large amount of work goes into the process of language translation. From the review of the material to be translated, to sourcing the translators to work on it, creating a template, the actual translation work leading to the editing and proofreading of the content, a lot of work is required to finish a whole translation project. There are tools and resources to hasten the job. These are condiments that make language conversion easier and more manageable. Imagine language translation without these remarkable tools. That would make the industry a difficult business and career to tread on.

When a particular language project is finished, it doesn’t actually stop there. Means by which clients and the translation company measure the effectiveness and accuracy of the translation are taken up to maintain consistent quality work. One of these means is back translation.

Ensuring the quality of translation work, this type of translation is that process where the translated material is translated back to the original language without regard for the content it was originally derived from. It is simply the conversion of content into the original language based on the translated material. Some language companies look at this process as an optimum way of checking the validity and skills of their translation work. The effort that their translators put into making these translation processes are confirmed by back translation. However there are some debates about the intention and usefulness of this process. It is time-consuming and may even be costly for some language companies.

By doing this, translators are obligated to put in additional work; it is similar to getting another task. And this is where issues may arise. The availability and productivity of translators may be affected. They may not be able to take on more projects because they have to tackle a back translation work that may eat up the same amount of time as working on a new task.

The translation company has to pay translators extra for something which may not have generated income to the firm in the first place, unless, of course, a back translation fee is charged to the client. That would have been too much to ask especially for new language companies that are just starting out and are still in the process of building a network of clients and business partners, which, in this case, they may be doing free of charge because they want to entice more opportunities through this additional feature in their services.

If we look at it in the long run, back translation does have its advantages. One major advantage is that it validates the accuracy of the translated work. Yes, it may take some time to finish this kind of work but the results may just as well be profitable for the company.

To a certain degree, back translation may seem unnecessary because the process of translation is in itself a multifariously diverse procedure that varies with languages. The translated work may even fall different from the semantics and grammar of the original source, depending on the translator’s skills and ability to convert the language. Quite inversely, the translated content may even posses some context that may not have been inherent in the original material. It can be confusing at times, but back translation will not guarantee a 100%, word-for-word translation in reference to the original text.

It would be wise to use this with some caution. With the proper translation resources and skilled linguists to take on any translation job, back translation – when done properly – will ensure its worth in the business of language conversion .

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