This blog post series is written with agency relationships in mind and uses the following definitions:

Client feedback: general comments on a translation. For example: “great job, thank you!”
Client changes (or client edits): specific changes or edits made by the client, sometimes accompanied by general comments.

The words “Client Changes” in an email subject line can elicit feelings of panic, fear, and sometimes a crippling lack of self-confidence. This series of blog posts aims at providing a few tips to turn these situations into success, with minimal back-and-forth discussions about the edits. In this first part, we will focus on who edits translations because, as in any other business scenario, it’s important to understand who the different stakeholders are.

So, who are the people who edit a translation on the client’s side?

THE IN-COUNTRY REVIEWER

The in-country reviewer is someone within the client’s organization who lives and works in the target country of your translation. This person has other responsibilities, but is occasionally tasked with reviewing your work. This reviewer:

  • Lives in the target country and works with the products/services/activities that are described in the translated text; the changes that they make will likely reflect the actual language and terminology that the client uses on a daily basis in the target market
  • May not be a linguistic expert
  • Has other things on their mind as reviewing translations is not their main job description

THE SPECIALIZED REVIEWER

The specialized reviewer is someone within the client’s organization whose main role is the revision of translation in a given target language. This reviewer works for an organization that has extensive and regular translation needs. They are ultimately responsible for the quality of the translated materials. This reviewer:

  • May or may not live in the target country, have contact with people within the client’s organization who do, or work with the products/services/activities that are described in the translated text in another capacity than translation review
  • Is hired as a linguistic expert
  • Is mainly tasked with focusing on reviewing translations

THE REVIEWER WITH GRADE SCHOOL KNOWLEDGE

The reviewer with grade school knowledge of the target language is someone within the client’s organization who can read the translation because they studied the target language in school. This reviewer:

  • Has an interest in the translation process, is curious about it and has a desire to help
  • Has other job responsibilities that are not related to translations
  • Reads, writes and speaks the target language as a foreign-language learner

Of course, other scenarios may also exist.

Next post in this series: Client Review Changes Part 2: How to Handle Them