Garbage in, garbage out. What to do when there are problems in the original file to be translated?
Translating in itself is a process which requires a lot of research, analysis, and which tests the linguistic skills that any professional has in both languages. But if we add to this an original with flaws or ambiguities, we are really in trouble! And then we can fall into the phrase “garbage in, garbage out.” This expression is widely used in the processing of information and, in this post, we will refer to it to reference that if the quality of the original is poor, obviously the final translation could be too.
If the source has errors it can cause misunderstandings and, consequently, a bad translation. However, the key to solving this is in the communication we have with our client. If we can have the confidence to dialogue with the client, it is a great advantage. The best thing would be to gather all doubts in an email and not “spam” the client with questions.
Yes, there are times when there is no possibility of speaking with the person who wrote the piece that we have to translate. In these cases, it is best to make a decision, and then communicate it at the time of delivery. In such circumstances, something to keep in mind is that the client may not agree with our decision and may request to reverse the changes urgently. In that case, it is a good strategy to advise when you will be available to apply those changes, if necessary.
It is important that there is an openness on both sides and to understand that communication in opportunities is not a simple two plus two is four. And, because it is not exact, misunderstandings can occur. Therefore, we have to work as a team to achieve the objective that the original document tries to communicate.
In summary, the communication and teamwork that we establish with our client is what will help communicate the message in the best way and will make the translator have no fear of a flawed original.