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Good QC Practices of a Professional Japanese Translator

In a previous article, we looked at issue of quality control (QC) and discussed how the freelance translator is posed with a dilemma when deciding how much quality control to implement in order to remain productive while still producing work of at least acceptable quality.

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It was noted that quality control needs to be performed efficiently to achieve the holy grail of both high output and high quality. In this article I will offer some advice on some QC practices the Japanese translator can implement.

To some translators, QC just means running the spell check. While this is better than nothing, it is only slightly better than nothing. It will not even catch all spelling mistakes or typos. It will not pick up on words that are misspelled and become other recognized words. Imagine you mistyped the phrase “perfectly spelled line” as “perfectly spelled lane”. This would not be picked up by running the spell check, and the mistake would not be noticed. The next step up from this is to read through the entire translation after you finish. If you do this carefully, not only will you be able to catch the aforementioned spelling error, but this also reveals, and allow you to correct, areas where your Japanese translation lacks fluency as well. 

While this is an improvement, it still has its limitations. As it is still completely target text-based, it will completely miss two main quality issues – omissions and mistranslations. To counter these issues, it is necessary to do a source text comparison, that is compare the original text and your translation line by line after you finish it. However, this is time consuming and if you are racing the clock to meet a deadline this is likely to be skipped. There is also a psychological problem. I find when I complete the last line of a translation I am already mentally ready to take a break or move on to the next translation. My recommendation, therefore, is to make a habit of checking paragraph by paragraph as you translate. This will remove the temptation to skip this vital process at the end.

Lastly, I would recommend taking a break and doing something else before reading over your work one final time. Where possible, sleep on it and look at it the next day. If not, leave an hour, ten minutes or however much you can. This will allow you to evaluate your work with fresh eyes before submitting it.

About the Author
Simon Way is a contributing author to SAECULII YK, Professional Japanese Translators Tokyo, Japan Visit SAECULII for the latest professional case studies, articles and news by Japanese Translation Services

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