Getting Translation Right The First Time

Global corporate learning is improving but it is not yet meeting the needs of learners around the world. A description of the current state of global learning and some of its causes can be found in the first article here. This article is part of a series meant to equip the learning leaders of global organizations on the best practices for creating engaging and impactful learning experiences for every team member, no matter the region or culture. CLICK HERE to see a list of the topics covered in this series and access the articles.

In the early aughts, years ago, and in another professional life when translation services were in the embryonic stage of the industry (in some ways), I was hired on as a “Translation Manager.” One of my responsibilities while I was in this role was to recruit and hire linguists.

One husband and wife translation team successfully got this translation manager’s attention. The pair began by sending me a scenic “mystery” postcard, with no contact information. The postcard was attractive enough to prompt me to hang it on my wall and pique my curiosity. Not long after, I received a second postcard (just as scenic) with a little more information, and finally, a third one that included full contact information and introduced the translator team. When the team sent me a follow-up email and résumé, I definitely remembered who they were and as a result, paid full attention to their résumé submission. 

There were and still are a lot of things vendor managers look for in potential candidates, and more often than not, the way the linguists get to the top of the pile is with some strategic marketing. But I couldn’t just onboard the pair based on a marketing campaign. I had to ensure that they were qualified translators, and I had to be certain that they had a strong quality process in place to support my company’s strategic objectives. Nowadays, that means, what quality steps do linguists use to deliver translations without error: First Pass Yield. And, how can I, in my current role, leverage my quality system to ensure that I select linguists who support Ingenuiti’s mission to be Measurably Better®? 

Defining Translation Quality

At Ingenuiti, translation quality refers to how accurately and effectively translated text conveys the intended meaning, style, and tone of the source text. It encompasses various aspects, including linguistic accuracy, cultural appropriateness, and overall readability. At the top of the list is Linguistic Accuracy. Does the translated text use correct terminology to accurately convey the original message? And, what is done to ensure this? It is important to work with a vendor who uses the following methods and tools to ensure their linguists deliver quality translations. 

We all need the “personnel” touch

This is particularly important for technical, legal, medical, or even specialized content like ice cream. When Ben & Jerry’s decided to go global with flavors like Chunky Monkey, Chubby Hubby, and Phish Food, they did very little market research and the flavors were translated to pieces of primate, chunks of fat husband, and food for fish. 

Work with vendors who use Professional Linguists who are subject matter experts to: 

  • Translate technical expressions in industry-specific language (translators).
  • Edit the content and provide feedback (editors) on accuracy, style, and cultural appropriateness. 
  • Lastly, review the translated and edited content. Ingenuiti will work with bilingual (a.k.a. In-country, a.k.a. translation) reviewers within your organization who are fluent in both the source and target languages to evaluate the translation for accuracy and clarity. 

High-quality translations that are the output of these human “resources” will ensure that: 

  • All idiomatic Expressions (cultural nuances, humor, and metaphors ) are translated with culturally relevant equivalents.
  • Terminology and phrases are translated consistently throughout the text.
  • The translated text flows smoothly, making it easy for the reader to understand and engage with the content. 
  • And, the translated tone and style match the source text’s tone, whether formal, informal, technical, or colloquial.

This will avoid the age-old dilemma that many companies like Ben & Jerry’s have faced, mistranslation = low sales in new target markets. 


Ensure that the vendor’s linguists use translation tools that enhance efficiency by automating certain translation tasks, such as terminology management, translation memory, and quality assurance. Vendors, like Ingenuiti, who work with technologically savvy linguists produce higher-quality translations because they use CAT Tools (Computer-Assisted Translation). CAT Tools, like MemoQ, help translators maintain consistency in terminology and style throughout a translated document. 

Intelligent effort

Quality metrics measure the value and performance of processes and services. As part of our quality management process, the Ingenuiti Vendor Management Team selects linguists who adhere to ISO 17100 standards: translation, research, cultural, and technical domain. The team works with the linguists to identify non-conformances and potential risks within their own internal processes or from client feedback to in turn increase customer satisfaction. 

Impact of Translation Quality

As a company, Ingenuiti’s mission is to deliver Measurably Better® results that bridge training and cultural gaps, enabling our clients to thrive in an interconnected world.  Translation is the cultural bridge that enables ideas and information to flow between languages. With translation quality, the crucial structure of the bridge, companies will flourish in that interconnected world. Investing in a high-quality translation service provider is an essential step in ensuring accurate and impactful cross-cultural communication. 

If you would like to learn more or continue this conversation, please email me at

Ingenuit is a unique learning agency that combines expertise in learning, localization, and staff augmentation. We are ISO-certified in three different areas to ensure projects are on time, on budget, and on target. To view our solutions, please visit our learning solutions page CLICK HERE. If you need another set of eyes on your global learning solutions, the learning experts at Ingenuiti are ready to help. We offer a Global Learning Needs Analysis which is a session with our learning experts to review your learning challenges and consider solutions. Please click CLICK HERE to set up a time to talk.