The dual control principle at exact!

by Reinhild Möller

Texts that are complex in terms of content and language and which need to be published are part of exact!’s day-to-day work. As you would expect, our customers have very high requirements, which is why quality assurance plays a crucial role.

At exact!, we want to wow our customers. So our goal is to ensure that the quality of our translations remains consistently high. An important quality assurance step is that we revise our translations. The dual control principle means that it is not (only) the translator who revises a translation, but that a second translator compares the source text with the target text sentence by sentence. Although translators do not revise their own work, the reviser can expect a high level of quality, even if the translation is “unchecked”.


The EN ISO 17100 standard and what it means for the translation process

The standard EN ISO 17100 for translation services sets out the following steps as part of the translation process:

  • Translation: A translator translates the source text with due care taking into account all customer-specific and project-specific guidelines. The translator researches terminology and clarifies parts of the source text that are unclear, if necessary compiling queries and notes, and produces a translation that flows well.
  • Check: The translator checks his or her own translation for potential semantic, grammatical and spelling errors as well as omissions.
  • Revision: The aim of a third-party revision is to reduce errors. A second translator therefore checks the translation, comparing it with the source text to detect any errors and to ensure that it is fit for its intended purpose.

The revision by a second translator is a process that needs to be planned as carefully as the translation itself. The dual control principle only provides those involved – customers, agencies and translators – with real added value if important aspects have been thought through and clarified beforehand.


Aspects of collaboration between the translator and the reviser

  • Clearly defined expectations with regard to the translator and the reviser: The reviser requires clear guidelines regarding what needs to be checked (spelling, style, terminology, content).
  • A network of translators and revisers: It is preferable for the external translator to deliver a finished translation that has already been revised by a second translator when the dual control principle is required. exact! can organise a reviser if the external translator does not have such a network for the language pair and subject area concerned.
  • Process design – assigning the correction entry work step: Often, a procedure in which the translator has the final say as to whether to accept the reviser’s corrections is not practical due to time constraints. It is more efficient when the reviser enters the corrections into the TM system straight away. The translator receives the corrected version of the translation for information purposes only.
  • Comments provided by the translator: In SDL Trados Studio and Across, it is possible to insert a comment in the target segment. This way, the translator can notify the reviser regarding research sources or translation decisions.

Organisational aspects

  • Estimate of the additional time required for project management: As part of the project calculation, the potential additional time required for project management must be estimated beforehand (finding revisers, more extensive communication or more complex billing).
  • Scheduling of the work steps for translation and revision: If, due to tight deadlines, the work steps cannot be performed in chronological order, the project manager can schedule partial deliveries from the translator to the reviser.
  • Pricing: If a job is assigned to an external translator and exact! organises the reviser, it is a good idea to bill using a proportionate word or line price. It is also possible to bill by time in exceptional cases.
  • Clarification of liability issues: As the reviser releases a translation when entering the corrections, it is the reviser who is responsible overall for the translation. In the interests of legal security, when the customer requires the dual control principle for a translation job, the version of the target text before the revision must be stored.
  • Evidence of the dual control principle: When external translators organise their own revisers for their translations, they notify exact! regarding the name and qualifications of the reviser in question. exact! can therefore provide evidence at any time to confirm that a third-party revision has actually been performed.

Technical aspects

  • Ensuring revision tracking: It is necessary to ensure that the translator can view the reviser’s corrections and comments in the TM system.
  • Procedure for updates and delta versions: When only a small percentage of the source text needs to be translated because the translation of a previous version is already available, the translator and reviser need to be able to recognise 100 % matches. These matches often require no additional checking. SDL Trados Studio provides the option to display a table with the match values indicated, for example.

exact! provides the dual control principle as a service and is happy to advise its customers in this regard. Contact us today to find out about our rates for the dual control principle for translations.

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