Jitka Trnková | Sunday 11 October 2015

“I’m not satisfied with the quality of the translation. What are my rights?”

Quality is important. It is even more important than the price. If you bear this in mind when ordering a translation, the translation costs that you will save are incalculable.

Translation quality is constantly discussed. Nowadays it is not entirely surprising. We are constantly bombarded by adverts of the ‘cheap and quality’ kind. Personally, I think that whatever is cheap, can’t be good-quality. Quality means that the goods we purchase have a certain guarantee of the characteristics that are specific for these goods. If, however, the goods are significantly cheaper than the price that the competition sells for, it’s an indication that during the manufacture of the product something was “slimmed down”, some components were replaced by other, less expensive ones, so we can hardly talk about quality. It works just the same in the case of translation quality. A few years ago the ISO certification was introduced and it was a step in the right direction. Today, however, the importance of these certificates is dubious if one knows what lies behind the certification process and the subsequent quality control. Of course we don’t want to claim that certification is unnecessary. It is an indication of the quality of a product or service, this, however, is not always the case everywhere. So, how can you recognise that the translation agency you’re planning to cooperate with will provide a good-quality translation? The basis is communication. We have already mentioned several times that the speed of the response to your demand or the subsequent speed of communication is the agency’s calling card, and it should also be the first indication that everything in the translation agency is working as it should. If you order a translation of a manual, instructions, brochures, or any technical translation, the translation agency should automatically offer you a translation using CAT tools. These are programs the translator uses to translate in order to guarantee uniform terminology and thus translation quality. Moreover the translator saves the terms translated and creates a ‘translation memory’ for further use; so if you order a translation of a similar manual or instructions, the terminology will be the same. Another sign of translation quality is the price. If the translation agency offers a price significantly lower than that made by the competition, there’s something wrong. There are many reasons why an agency will offer you the cheapest translation. Perhaps the most serious is the fact that the price they offer you is so low because the translators for this agency translate for very low prices. A good-quality translator, however, has no reason to under-price themselves. Therefore, it is entirely up to you as to whether you prefer a low-cost translation over a good-quality one, because, in my opinion, you can’t get both at the same time. If you order a cheap translation and you are not satisfied with its quality, once again the basic rules to follow are the translation agency’s general terms and conditions. These should show you how to proceed in the event of a complaint about the translation. If the agency does not have such terms and conditions, you need to inform it of the procedure that will follow when exercising your rights. The agency has the translation checked by an independent translator, and, if it is confirmed that the translation was really of poor quality, the standard should be re-translating the translation at the expense of the translation agency. However, after your experiences with a poor-quality translation, it is entirely up to you, whether or not you want to let the same agency correct the translation or arrange a significant discount and get it translated elsewhere. This, of course, is the best solution if you want to avoid further problems with translation quality.


Our general terms and conditions contain more than 12 pages of detailed information. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.