Quality Assurance is a key component of any translation service system. As we know, translation is the result of a linguistic- textual operation in which a text in one (source) language is re- contextualized in another (target) language.

Obviously, an effective meticulous translator is fluent in at least two languages who will always be very attentive in a correct grammar use, spelling check, and accuracy, but there are also other important factors to consider when it comes to quality. These include, but are not limited to:

  • the structural characteristics, the expressive potential and the constraints of the two languages involved in translation;
  • the extra-linguistic world which is ‘cut up’ in different ways by source and target languages;
  • the source text with its linguistic-stylistic-aesthetic features that belong to the norms of usage holding in the source lingua-cultural community;
  • the linguistic-stylistic-aesthetic norms of the target lingua-cultural community;
  • the target language norms internalized by the translator;
  • intertextuality governing the totality of the text in the target culture;
  • traditions, principles, histories and ideologies of translation holding in the target lingua-cultural community;
  • the translational ‘brief’ given to the translator by the person(s) or institution commissioning the translation;
  • the translator’s workplace conditions;
  • the translator’s knowledge, expertise, ethical stance and attitudinal profiles as well as the subjective theory of translation;
  • the translation receptors’ knowledge, expertise, ethical stance and attitudinal profiles of the translator as well as their subjective theories of translation. 1

Up to now, everything seems to be up to the translator. However, sometimes translation quality can be hindered well before the translator has access to a document’s content. Here, it is important to remark that the source content, without a doubt, must be well composed/written, edited, proofread and in its final state before it can be accurately translated.  Otherwise, requesting for translation services when a document has not been finalized will increase the likelihood of inconsistencies not attributable to the translator at all.

It is very important that clients also know their requirements, but also express them to the service provider professional, whether it is a freelance translator or an agency. By doing so, the linguistic professional will better meet the client’s expectations.

A reasonable time frame is also very important to consider. Doing something fast does not mean it is done well. Translators, on their part, should only accept deadlines they can possibly meet in order to deliver a high-quality translation.

A good communication should be also kept in mind. Any reliable translator should encourage comments and suggestions from his/her clients staying open to criticism in order to be able to improve his/her work.

Ethical values are also mandatory in the translation industry. This quality will create a positive relationship with the clients.

Bear in mind that QUALITY, in order to spell SUCCESS, needs to be considered at every step of the translation workflow!


1 House, Juliane. (2015) TRANSLATION QUALITY ASSESSMENT. Routledge, New York 2015

Claudia Ramirez
Claudia Ramirez
Born in El Salvador, Claudia Ramírez is a Lawyer, proofreader, and translator with over twelve years of experience including translation of literary texts. Member of the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI), European Association of Translation Studies (EST), and Asociación Latinoamericana de Estudios de Traducción e Interpretación (ALAETI). Claudia translates from and into Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian) and French.

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