Only an end-to-end best-practice approach delivers premium Korean translation quality.
I follow a three-pass process on every premium Korean-to-English project I translate.
On the English-to-Korean translation jobs I handle with my team in Korea, we include a “six-eye” approach: 1) A subject-matter expert on translation, and 2) an experienced reviser on editing. 3) I am involved throughout the work, including at both the preparatory and final QA stages.
Factors of translation quality
- Hard-skills expertise
- Language skills
- Subject-matter knowledge
- Technology fluence
- Soft-skills competence
- Temperament and personality
- Focus on message integrity
- Best-practice workflows
“I have had the opportunity to utilize Steven at Korean Consulting for several personal translations. Korean Consulting is not the first translation service I have used, but it is by far the best. Their service, speed and accuracy of the translations are far superior to any other service.”James Horner (Saudia Arabia)
Translation expertise consists of several complementary attributes.
Both Korean and English language fluency are essential to delivering a good translation between English and Korean. As a best practice, a translator must be fluent in the source language and able to write like a native of the target language in the subject of the content. This means a native English speaker should translate Korean documents into Korean and a native Korean speaker should translate English documents into Korean.
Subject-matter expertise is a prerequisite for a translator to accurately understand and communicate difficult technical concepts of the text. A technical translator will struggle with literary works; likewise, a professional translator unable to understand the related technology may not deliver a translation that reads idiomatically, or even correctly.
In today’s translation workplace, technology expertise is becoming increasingly important as well. The use of technology doesn’t primarily refer to the use of machine translation; instead, a translator must be able to work with the latest file formats and know how to access key resources. This process is integrated into advanced computer-aided translation (CAT) tools that bring everything together in a work environment that promotes quality and efficiency.
How I leverage hard-skill expertise for clients
I have been working as a Korean translator for over twenty years, and hold degrees in economics and management strategy from universities in the US and Korea. Many years of experience in Korea and as a translator have provided me with a deep understanding of the Korean legal, financial, and medical systems, not to mention Korean society, culture, and history. With practice on tens of thousands of jobs, I have honed my skills in linguistic analysis and expression. This experience allows me to convey correct meanings in many contexts, utilizing advanced translation-related technical skills and software.
Temperament and personality
Being temperamentally suited to the task of translation is also a critical factor in delivering good work. Translating the written word—patiently working through the analytical process of understanding and conveying the meaning of individual words and sentences in ways that communicate most effectively—is an effort that demands a high, sustained level of mental concentration. Translation is not suited to every speaker of two languages.
Focus on message integrity
Message integrity in a premium Korean translation workflow is about delivering to the client a target-language translation that matches the source text in every way. At the most obvious level, this means the translation must communicate the same literal message as the source text. However, the concept of message integrity also applies to style and terminology, since the translation should even convey the same emotions and impressions, and be fit for use in the same situations.
Finally, message integrity applies to the formatting task as well. When working from a scanned source file, the translation should be a faithful recreation of the source file. The CAT tools described below facilitate this process, by extracting text from source files and then inserting the translations back into files at the end of the job.
How soft-skill competency contributes to our high-quality Korean translation
The quality Korean translations I deliver to my clients accurately convey the meaning, style, and formatting of the source files. My clients and others who read the translations I provide receive the same messages as the original documents would have communicated to readers of the source language.
High-quality technical Korean translation is a system-based effort, and working habits and processes that promote consistency and quality must be followed. A best-practice workflow involves working through the text in multiple rounds, each step bringing the translation to a higher level of fluency and accuracy. Including multiple linguists on a job allows each participant to improve the work product further.
In terms of technology, editable source files should be translated within a computer-aided translation (CAT) tool, such as memoQ or SDL Trados. Within the CAT software, the translator can view the text in a two-column format using powerful filters, search functions, and quality checks. These tools also leverage translation memory technology to present the translator with similar or identical translations from previously translated content, as well as terminology lists, and even machine translation output. The combination of these features enables a skilled translator to improve consistency and reduce errors. The technology also increases efficiency, which often helps reduce client costs.
How we a deliver best-practice workflow
My team and I work with memoQ, a leading computer-aided translation software package that helps us maintain quality and consistency. For Korean-to-English translation jobs, I always work through three rounds of translation and review. With English-to-Korean, my team and I go even further, employing a six-eye process that exceeds the industry standard.