Do you know what your reviewer is doing?

We have written quite a few posts about properly managing an internal review of a translation project. But one point we haven’t covered is setting up guidelines for the reviewer.

Before handing off a translation to an internal reviewer, you might want to go over some ground rules on what should and should not be changed. Here are some suggestions:

1. Stylistic changes are not errors

Please keep in mind that stylistic changes are not errors! While a stylistic change might be important to the reviewer and his perception of what the final document should look like, please do not consider that type of change as translator negligence. Proofreaders or peer reviewers often provide options that might sound better. That is a normal part of the creative process in a group setting.

2. Collaborate, collaborate and then collaborate a bit more

The internal review process is not a grudge match between reviewer and translator. When you work together with your translation provider, you can actually make the review process go much smoother. The goal is for the translation team to continually learn about the client’s preferences for style, terminology and tone of it’s content. Over time, the amount of markups should decrease and the translation team should create translation that works for your company.

3. Reduce friction in the process

Work with your translation provider to create the most efficient way to collect the review feedback so that the changes can be placed into the final files and the translation memory quickly. Handwritten changes can be very difficult to deal with, please ask the reviewer to use annotations or the review tools in Acrobat or tracked changes in MS Word.

4. Use the same diligence to chose a reviewer that you used to choose the author of the source.

I will share a funny story about a reviewer’s skills that sums this step up perfectly:

A client once called and said that a Spanish reader at a trade show was unable to understand the translation we created for a spec sheet for a punch press. We started asking some questions only to discover that the reader was a 7th grade student studying Spanish in middle school. He was attending the trade show with his dad. Umm…I would imagine that most of you recall studying a language in middle school. There isn’t a whole of time spent learning how to handle technical specs for a punch press. Seriously, please understand the limitations of your reviewer and match the appropriate person to the project.

With a little planning the review process doesn’t have to be a burden. It should be a valuable exercise for both the customer and the translation provider.