Third party review requests differ from standard client review changes. A third party review is essentially arbitrage: the original translator and the client reviewer can’t agree. As a result, the person who ordered the translation has decided to ask a third party to look into the situation and resolve it.

The most important part of third party review

We are hired as independent experts during a time of conflict. We are to have no loyalty towards either of the disagreeing parties: the original translator, the reviewer or the client. So, first things first: if either of the disagreeing parties is someone we know (a colleague, a friend, etc.), the ethical thing to do is to disclose this information and decline the request.

Other very important parts of third party review

  • We should stick to subject matter we know extremely well. While as translators, we sometimes venture out of our fields or comfort zones to try our hand at a new topic, third party review is neither the time nor the place for this. We should be the expert, or be gone.
  • We should not hesitate to speak our minds, but we should do so elegantly. Was the original translation found to be lacking? Was the client reviewer overstepping? Whatever the verdict, we must express our professional opinion with clarity and illustrate it with plenty of examples.
  • We must have no loyalties. The fact that one party is paying us for a third party review does not mean that we “owe” it to that party to tell them they are “right”. We must work based off of our subject-matter expertise and professional experience. Our focus should be solely on the document.
  • We must know what is expected of us (and quote accordingly): are we to simply provide an independent opinion or are we to finalize the text for publication/use (if it is salvageable)?

Final thoughts

Third party review is a difficult and sometimes daunting task that should preferably be undertaken by experienced translators who can handle conflict-filled situations, which begs one last question: why would we ever want to do it? Because being part of the solution is one of several great ways to gain a new client.

Over to you, what have been your experiences with third party review?