For sensitive or confidential information which needs to be understood by readers in other languages, back translation is a crucial service to ensure accuracy within any legal confines in which the original document is required.
What is Back Translation
Although back translation services are not completed for a wider reading audience, conducting a comprehensive back translation for sensitive documents can provide you with the peace of mind that your documents are completely accurate for whatever legal, technical or confidential purposes they are needed.
When a sensitive document has been translated into another language for legal reasons, you might think that there is a guarantee of accuracy with this new version of your original text. Whilst it is possible to get a translation certified to ensure that the document has been translated with the utmost precision, back translation can provide further quality assurance that a translation matches your original document in terms of both content and context.
For a back translation to be completed, a client has to submit both the original document and a pre-completed translation to a third party translator. We will then reverse the process, translating the second document back into its original language as literally as possible. We then compare our back translation with the first document in its original language, along with a report which explains any ways in which the back translation differs from the source document.
A back translation can be most useful as a way to objectively gauge how accurate a translation is. Translating something back into its original language can confirm that the tone, language and details have been matched with the initial document as closely as possible. Back translation services are sometimes a legal requirement, but are most frequently employed to give certainty that a translation has been conducted accurately.
When do you need back translation
Back translation services are not always a requirement, but can be extremely useful in a number of scenarios. As a way to iron out any inaccuracies or semantic differences between translated documents, back translation is a particularly beneficial path to take. It is an important step to mark up any differences between the back translated document and the original-language text, in order that the translated document itself can be as true to the spirit of the original text as possible.
This is also particularly useful when technical documents for things like clinical trials need to be translated. As these need to be expressed as clearly as possible, making sure that every step and every sentence is put in the most accurate terms in both languages is critical for the client and their own customers. A report from the translator can also give concrete proof that your translated documents are the best that they can be.
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