We generally find that translation is a work that requires the transfer of a text from one language to another, and we take into account the trarget audience receiving the translation, the difference in meaning between the two languages, as well as the culture of the target language. However, some cases require more accuracy, and this is where the back translation comes in.
The Concept of Back Translation
The back translation process is effective, despite its simplicity. In short, we can define back translation as a process by which translation service providers re-translate a previously translated text into the target language back into the original language of the text. After that, the first translation and the back translation are compared and matched to test the quality and accuracy of the final translation. It is expected, of course, that the back translation will be rewritten with the same words as in the original text. As a result, it is important to think about the difference between many words and concepts that are only found in one language and not in another.
Favorable cases for a back translation
We usually back translation when we provide translation of sensitive texts or rather transcreate sensitive texts where literary issues may arise between the two cultures or the two languages used, so we need to take into account the text and carefully review it before publishing it.
Back translation acts as an audit filter because it does not allow even the most incorrect expressions to pass through, and it is especially important in areas that require flawless detail and accuracy, such as the translation of legal, medical, and financial documents.
The back translation is also indispensable for global marketing research, such as the translation of questionnaires, as an incorrect translation may affect the customer’s understanding of the question and thus negatively affect the search results.
The back translation process
The process of back translation is not as difficult as it seems from the term, and here are the steps to perform this type of translation:
Step 1: A back translation is usually performed by an independent translation service provider who has general knowledge of the subject matter of the text but no access to the original text.
Step 2: When the back translation is done, a reviewer looks at both the original and the back translations to see if there are any problems with the way the words are said.
Step 3: The reviewer cannot be sure why this problem started, is it the result of the original or back translation, so the reviewer sends a report for clarification from the original translator, and if the original translator insists on the correctness of his translation, he can consult the back translator to find a solution to this problem and clarify the meaning.
Step 4 : The final and back translations are sent to the client.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Back Translation
Back translation has noteworthy benefits, here are some of them:
- Verify the quality of the translation.
- Ensure that the facts are not distorted as a result of the translation.
- Ensure that the text includes important points and the required statistics.
- Recognize and correct errors before publishing.
- Save money, time, and your company’s reputation.
However, however, we find drawbacks to the Back translation, including:
- The cost of a back translation is often the same as the original translation, so it should be used in cases where 100% accuracy is required.
- When you ask for a back translation, it’s important to make sure that the translator who does the back translation has the cultural background and context that the original translator needs.
- Slang and jokes are often misunderstood during back translation, with funny but unfair results.
In short, back translation, due to its high cost, is not among the most requested translation services by the client, but we highly recommend it when translating very important documents such as legal, medical and financial documents as well as marketing research.