The process of translating documents into various foreign languages, is becoming an important factor for expanding businesses internationally, and being utilized for personal endeavours. More often than not, there are various services that cater to specific translations such as: marketing translations, medical translations, technical translations, and many more. But the question remains: What type of translation will render the most accurate translation of a document or text into another language? Though it is rarely mentioned on the scale of translation services, a back translation is by far the most sought-out service when it comes to the accurate and precise translation of specialized documents.

What is a back translation?

A back translation, also known as, reverse translation refers to the process of translating a previously translated text back into the original source language. This process was developed to ensure that specialized texts utilized in the field of science, medicine, and marketing maintained the original meaning of the source document. A back translation ensures that the translated document is a close replication of the original document. Unlike an ordinary translation, a back translation will eliminate any errors or ambiguous statements, and replace them by using the correct terminology and synonyms that closely match the original intended message. It is a favoured method often utilized by international companies. They will often seek out a back translation over proofreading services, as it ensures that the message they are trying to convey is not lost and is in fact maintained in the new language.

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How do back translations differ from a regular translation?

Unlike an ordinary translation that involves a singular editing process, a back translation is rather arduous in comparison. While is it true in assuming that both services aim to produce an accurate translation, a back translation will take additional steps to further ensure that the translation is as accurate as possible. It will check that the overall quality of the translation is representative of the original document, by comparing and identifying the differences between the source and target language. An experienced translator will then make the appropriate changes by finding the correct words and ensuring that the overall statement conveys the same message in both documents. Then, a second translator will be responsible for assessing both the source and target language translations for a final evaluation. While it is generally understood that a word-for-word translation is rarely possible, a back translation will ensure that the overall meaning is consistent throughout every language translation. The main objective of a back translation is to ensure the both source and translated documents convey an identical message. The difference in the original and translated document will be checked to ensure that the meaning, function, and effects of the message is clear and concise.

Why are back translations beneficial for customers?

Back translations are proven to be a useful tool for customers in a number of different ways. In one instance, they serve to measure the performance and service level of a translation service provider. Customers can use a back translation to identify and get a clear look at the accuracy of their source and target language translations. Furthermore, customers are given a second opportunity to evaluate their original document and check to see its effectiveness in conveying the same message across various language combinations. They are better able to assess if the precise message has the same intended message in a foreign language. With the knowledge of the difference between regular and back translations, customers can get a better understanding of the type of services that are available for their specialized documents.

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