Translation Tips – Dora Wirth Languages | Pharmaceutical Translations https://www.dwlanguages.com Need global life science solutions? Rely on us. Problem solved. Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:33:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 Back translations https://www.dwlanguages.com/back-translations/ https://www.dwlanguages.com/back-translations/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:46:25 +0000 http://www.dwlanguages.com/?p=1313 Back translations – what are they, and are they useful? A Google search for the definition of ‘back translation’ will be sure to yield plenty of hits. Most are published by translation service providers offering their own view on the process, but none appear to comment on the accuracy/cost efficiency of this method of quality

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Back translations – what are they, and are they useful?

A Google search for the definition of ‘back translation’ will be sure to yield plenty of hits. Most are published by translation service providers offering their own view on the process, but none appear to comment on the accuracy/cost efficiency of this method of quality assurance.

Back translation is one of several possible quality control tools, and is defined by Dora Wirth (Languages) Ltd. as follows:

‘A source text is translated into a target (forward) language and the target language text is translated back into the source language by an independent translator who has not had sight of the source text and will therefore provide an unbiased rendition of the meaning of the forward translation for quality-control purposes.’

Thus a back translation is a good way to allow a non-native speaker of the target language to check a forward translation for errors or omissions and to ensure, more importantly, that the forward translation gets across the essence of the source text.

Let us imagine that you have commissioned the translation of an informed consent form from English into Arabic, but you don’t speak Arabic, and you are unable to have the translation reviewed by a trusted native speaker.  This is a patient-facing document, so you need to be sure your text has been rendered correctly. How can you be sure you have a quality forward translation?

Back translation: A translator fluent in the language of the source text (Arabic) should be briefed to provide a faithful translation of the forward translation back into English.

NB: At no point in the process should the back translator be shown the original English source text, as this may introduce bias. This includes any prior involvement in the project.

Reconciliation: The resulting English back translation may then be compared against the original English source text to highlight any errors, deviations or different interpretations. If there are discrepancies, the forward translator should be contacted to check if these errors occurred in the Arabic forward translation.

In order to arrive at an agreed final forward translation, the forward and back translation should be amended in turn until you are satisfied that the forward translation contains the correct information.

NB: Discussion of discrepancies between back translation and source text and the interpretation rendered by the forward translation can be a lengthy process.

In addition, a forward translator could be tempted to adjust their translation for the purpose of an enhanced back translation, when discrepancies between back translation and original source text are followed up. This is NOT the idea. Forward translators should be encouraged to stand by their translation if they feel they have rendered the essence of the meaning of the source text and their translation reads well. Not all linguistic concepts, translated through a word-by-word rendition, will emerge from the back translation in the same way.

Costs: The back translation will usually be charged by the number of words in the forward translation. Reconciliation between the two versions will usually be charged on translator time. If an independent back-translation is required (i.e. the service provider has not seen the original source text), you may amend the back translation and ask the service provider to update the forward translation accordingly. This will normally be charged on a time basis.

NB:

  • Ample time should be allowed for the resolution of any deviations highlighted by the back translation, particularly if the document is lengthy. This does not make back translations ideal when deadlines are tight.
  • Back translations can be used either for information purposes or for quality control purposes. You should alert your language services provider if you plan to use a back translation as a document in its own right – translators will usually provide a more literal back translation than would be expected of a forward translation.
  • A back translation will point to errors in the forward translation such as omissions and misinterpretations. However, it will not necessarily flag up purely linguistic issues in the forward translation such as poor style, spelling and grammatical errors or incorrect technical terminology. These aspects should be taken care of through a robust quality control procedure for the forward translation.

 

So, given plenty of time back translations can be just one of the tools to ensure the accuracy of a forward translation.

What are the differences in doing a ‘normal’ translation as opposed to a ‘back translation’?

For a back translation, a more literal approach is taken. For example:

Your document is for submission to the EMA and says:

    • Keep out of the sight and reach of children.

The German EMA template translates this as:

    • Arzneimittel für Kinder unzugänglich aufbewahren.

The (literal) back translation might read:

    • Store medicine so as not to be accessible to children.

In this way, a back translation would give you a more accurate picture of exactly what the forward translation says. This is not to say, however, that the German translation is incorrect when reconciling the back translation with the original source text.

 

Before deciding on back translation, get in touch to discuss whether or not this strategy will benefit your project and consider requesting a full review of your translation by a second specialist translator instead (provided as standard by Dora Wirth (Languages) Ltd.).

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Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools https://www.dwlanguages.com/computer-aided-translation/ https://www.dwlanguages.com/computer-aided-translation/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.dwlanguages.com/?p=1225 "Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools" - are the machines finally taking over?   We are not talking about robot translators, producing thousands of translated words with correct register and displaying cultural awareness to native standard while drawing on reference material from obscure journal articles. Nor are we talking about browser‑based automatic translation tools like Google

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"Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools" - are the machines finally taking over?

 

We are not talking about robot translators, producing thousands of translated words with correct register and displaying cultural awareness to native standard while drawing on reference material from obscure journal articles. Nor are we talking about browser‑based automatic translation tools like Google Translate. We are referring to human translators who are learning to use a range of available software to work more efficiently and store and manage translation memories. They are pushing for greater consistency of terminology and, where possible, making savings in time and money available to their clients.

The list of available CAT software is large, and the extended features of these programs are varied. All of them break suitable texts down into segments, highlight any repeated segments, ‘pre‑translate’ segments already stored in a memory, and allow the translator to approve, reject or modify these segments according to the new source text.

Once a translation is complete, there is also the functionality to store, manage and edit the translated segments for future use. When a future translation containing matching text is required, the pre-translated segments will be available to use again.

There is a growing desire among clients to have translation work performed using CAT tools in order to affect three key variables:

  • Cost
  • Speed
  • Quality

 

It is possible to reduce costs, increase speed or improve quality/consistency, given an appropriate source text. However, can a CAT tool help your translation service provider to do all three simultaneously?

Putting pressure on any one of these three factors is very likely to have an impact on the remaining two. The translation of words is no different to many other products in this respect.

In general, where a source text is repetitive and the quality of the text is good, there can be savings of time and money. This is an immediate benefit of using CAT software for large-volume or repetitive documents such as master batch records, summaries of product characteristics (SPCs) and other regulatory documentation, adverse event reports, market research responses, informed consent forms, clinical trial documentation and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

In the life sciences industry, however, where patient safety is of paramount importance, quality is our primary concern. So we believe that CAT tools should be used to drive quality forward, rather than simply a means to faster and cheaper translations, as high-quality, consistent translations will help to ensure the successful marketing of a medicinal product.

So, how can CAT tools help?

  • The time spent translating repetitive, technical documents can be reduced.
  • Consistency of terminology is improved, especially over multiple projects.
  • They allow for the creation of editable and context-specific glossaries when overseen by an experienced linguist.
  • They allow multiple translators to work on large translation projects over a server, sharing and adding to translation memories. When such projects are headed by a lead translator, the risk of inconsistencies in terminology use is reduced, and by sharing any repetitions across texts, translators are not ‘doubling’ workload.
  • Version control can now be applied not only to whole documents, but also to terminology units in the glossary. This means that we can record when translated terms are added to the glossary, and be sure that the most up-to-date terminology preferences are being used.
  • The flexibility of the software means that we are able to supply pre-translated segments to translators who do not currently use CAT tools, or they can access a simplified version online – thus not excluding any of the talented linguists who may choose not to use the software full-time.
  • A comprehensive translation memory loaded with good-quality translated segments contributed by one expert translator is the ideal by-product of CAT tool use.

 

This takes time to accrue, and in reality a strong translation memory is built and maintained by:

  • a core team of translators,
  • a team of reviewers receiving regular feedback from translators, and
  • care and knowledge on the part of the client in the form of a high-quality source text, and the expression of any terminology preferences to guide the translators. DWL can also help in this by offering a comprehensive review of the source text, to eliminate ambiguities and errors and check consistency before translation begins.

 

Project Managers at Dora Wirth (Languages) Ltd. have received certified training in project management using CAT tools, and are able to use this software on appropriate projects.

We have taken great care to ensure that the software we use is compatible with our ethos of delivering high-quality translations, and that we may continue to work with the very best medical translators with whom we have built our solid reputation over the last 52 years.

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False friends in translation https://www.dwlanguages.com/false-friends-in-translation/ https://www.dwlanguages.com/false-friends-in-translation/#respond Fri, 02 May 2014 14:05:45 +0000 http://www.dwlanguages.com/?p=1147 As linguists, and life-long language learners (we enjoy a little alliteration too), the staff at Dora Wirth (Languages) Ltd. are always on the lookout for the dreaded “faux-amis”.   “False friends”, or more correctly “false cognates”, are pairs of words from two different languages which look similar but can have entirely different meanings.   It

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As linguists, and life-long language learners (we enjoy a little alliteration too), the staff at Dora Wirth (Languages) Ltd. are always on the lookout for the dreaded “faux-amis”.

 

“False friends”, or more correctly “false cognates”, are pairs of words from two different languages which look similar but can have entirely different meanings.

 

It is frequently helpful to conversational speakers of more than one European language that we share so many common words, and roots of words, with other continental tongues. However, these perceived similarities can also easily lead to confusion.

For example, a Spanish speaker may promise to do something, “eventualmente”, and an English speaker, recognising a familiar sounding word, might eventually expect this promise to be kept, but the Spanish speaker only meant ‘occasionally’ or ‘depending on what happens’.

Similarly, if a French speaker accused you of being “sensible”, you might think they were complimenting your sound judgement. However, the French word ‘sensible’ is another false friend, and actually means “sensitive”. Don’t be angry: you’re just not as thick-skinned as you thought.

Extrapolating this phenomenon within the field of medicine, a Spanish doctor may record symptoms of “constipación” in a discharge summary, but it would take an English doctor who is fluent in Spanish to recognize that the patient is showing symptoms of the ‘common cold’, and not ‘constipation’.

In everyday situations, these misunderstandings might elicit little more than a strange look. On the other hand, an inaccuracy of this type could render an important medical translation meaningless.

Translations therefore require experienced translators working into their native languages to ensure accuracy – especially where patient safety is concerned.

Here are some examples of medical false friends you may have come across:

Spanish
Spanish term False friend Possible English translation
especialidad speciality (proprietary) medicinal product
tiempo de espera waiting time withdrawal period
embarazada embarrassed pregnant
morbido morbid soft, delicate

 

French
French term False friend Possible English translation
specialité speciality (proprietary) medicinal product
auricle auricle atrium
expérience experience experiment
Remember: According to the EDQM glossary, a ‘soft capsule’ is “Capsule molle” in French; however, a ‘hard capsule’ is translated as ‘Gélule’.

 

German
German term False friend Possible English translation
Ambulanz ambulance outpatient department
Dose dose can, tin
Expertise expertise report (by experts)
Gift gift poison
übersehen oversee overlook

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