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Translation Process Do’s and Don’ts

Do's and Don'ts - Translation - The more you know - Food for thought

The rendering from one language to another is not as easy a process as it may seem.

A great understanding of the language and its culture, lots of experience, and excellent writing skills are needed to deliver a great translation that serves its purpose.

Good translations require a process to create the best possible outcome, it’s not a one-step action. Having this in mind, in the translation business there are 3 basic levels of translation:

  • TO: Translation Only.
  • TE: Translation and Editing.
  • TEP: Translation, Editing, and Proofreading.

It’s difficult to achieve an impeccable translation with a one-step process, and that’s why professional translation processes have at least 2 steps due to the quality control stages.


In TO we find translation and review as one step, but TE also includes Editing. In this step, the editor checks consistency, corrects cultural insights, and verifies language rules that a country or city may have, as is the case with the city of Québec.

Of course, the TEP process is the most complete one, as it is a three-step process that significantly reduces the chance of mistakes. In TEP, the P stands for Proofreading, which checks grammar, punctuation, and spelling. This last step could be done by the same person that did the translation or a different one.

At Ad Astra we go a little further, we use the TEPQ process which adds Quality control. This last step consists of a meticulous review with a qualified linguist to ensure the highest quality translation. In this last step, everything from the Editing and Proofreading process is double-checked.

Why do we recommend doing quality control?

Translation is not simply transforming a document into another language, it’s about appealing to a different reader and getting the message across in the best way possible.

A job that requires language proficiency, cultural sensitivity, and specific knowledge, can’t be done in one step. And that’s why in Ad Astra we recommend not skipping the editing, proofreading, and quality control steps that guarantee a professional translation.

In a business, the quality of its communications says a lot. A great translation is about making a good impression and delivering a proper document that has both aesthetics and precision in every word.

When translating, a lot can go wrong if the proper steps are not honored, so here is a list with the top do’s and don’ts of translation processes that you need to look out for.

#1 Do use the right terminology


When translating technical texts, it’s important to know the terminology of the industry. This is especially important in law and health-related documents, in which an error could cause liability for professionals or patients.

How to avoid errors in terminology?

  • Specify the target audience.
  • Use linguists with qualifications, a requisite in some translation jobs.
  • Search for translators with industry-specific knowledge.

#2 Don’t leave dialects behind


One of the most common errors in translation processes is forgetting about dialects. And if you are targeting a specific audience, this is particularly important.

Don’t think that just because 2 countries have the same language, it’s spoken and written in the same way. For example, a French translation for a client in France will not be the same as for a client in Canada.

How to adapt to different dialects?

  • Define your target demographic.
  • Use native linguists.
  • Incorporate local cultural references to appeal to a specific audience.

#3 Don’t forget to convert the measurements

If you don’t want your readers using a converting tool while reading your text, then you need to convert the measurements the right way,

The eternal battle of metric vs. imperial systems also impacts translation jobs. These measurement systems include size, mass and weight, volume, length and distance, and area, so it’s expected to show in many industries.

As a translator, it is important to know about these two measurement systems to convert every number for convenience and a better reading experience.

Tips to convert measurements properly:

  • Know which system is used in the target audience.
  • If this appeals to a broader audience, you can incorporate both systems.
  • Pay attention to the delivery, with its correct symbols and punctuation.

#4 Do review for errors in the source

A wise couple reviews their flawless Ad Astra translation

In writing and translation, proofreading is key. But not only do we need to proofread the translation, but it is also recommended to do the same with the original document.

Many times, errors are found on the source document and this leads to problems with the translation. Mistakes in spelling, grammar, vocabulary, inconsistencies, or misconceptions could affect the work of the linguist.

How to solve mistakes in the source?

  • Give time to the translator to proofread the original document.
  • Be available to answer any questions to clarify the information.

#5 Don’t use word-for-word translation

Inaccurate and boring translations, that is what you often get when you do word-for-word translations. This is the system used by most translation engines, but it’s not the best practice for professional translations.

To create a high-quality translation a varied vocabulary, technical concepts, dialects norms, and idiomatic expressions are the most important ingredients. The end goal is to create a text that is easy to read, but also delivers the message clearly and adapts to the audience that wants to reach.

How to avoid word-for-word translations?

  • Hire professional translators.
  • Give the translator context and a target audience.

#6 Do use an experienced translator

Tied to the last piece of advice, the best way to get a professional translation service is to hire an experienced translator.

It’s not only knowing the language, it’s believing that good translation comes from understanding the different dialects, knowing its cultural insights, and adapting to the target audience.

How to spot an experienced translator?

  • Look for translation agencies that offer an array of professionals to suit your needs.
  • Evaluate the reviews and portfolio of a freelance translator.
A stressed translator catches a translation mistake

Make a good impression with good translation

When commissioning or doing a translation gig, these are the main things that you need to look out for. In any case, sticking to a translation process that aims for quality results, decreases the chance for error and provides the best possible outcome.

A good translation delivers the information in an enjoyable, understandable, and adequate way. In Ad Astra, we consider these things, offering a team of skilled linguists that will deliver impeccable work.

We hope this list was helpful and helped you learn more about the don’ts of translation processes!