An all-too-common translation pitfall is to slip into what we call ‘translationese’. In the case of technical translation, accuracy is of course the most important factor, but in the case of marketing collateral, for example, it is fundamentally important to produce a text which reads as if it were written by a native speaker. ‘Translationese’ is when you sacrifice this clarity in order to reproduce the meaning of the original, and end up with something which is probably grammatically correct, but phrased in a way that a native speaker would never use.
One small example illustrates this principle. In conversation, a native of the USA would always say that something cost ‘one-fifty’, but never that it cost ‘one-dollar-fifty-cents’. Now, the second option is perfectly correct, it is just totally unidiomatic. This is the sort of ‘mistake’ which an inadequate or inexperienced (or non-native) translator won’t notice, but any native speaker will recognise as a translation – classic translationese!
For this and other reasons, at Quicksilver we invariably use translators who are native speakers of the target language. In addition, during the final stage of our review process, translations are evaluated on their own merits; that is, without comparing them to the source text. Having been edited thoroughly for accuracy, we check that all translations are phrased in a way that a native speaker would use.