When it comes to Arabic Translation, there is a misconception that sentences in Arabic are always longer than their English translation. This case of so-called text expansion really does occur when it comes to Arabic translation, but is not always the case. The question now is: what should our standard metric really be when judging the quality of Arabic translation, or of other languages for that matter?
Firstly, go for accuracy. See to it that the Arabic translation is neither shorter nor longer than the length of the source. We’re not talking about the word count of the document here but the message itself, the main text and the sub-points of the article. The translator’s task is just to render the document in a whole new language. There is little or no room for creativity here. Sometimes, the author of the document is actually the client, and in this example, he is likely to call the final shots.
However, shifting from one natural language to another is never simply an issue of composing one-on-one replacements. Cultural and localisation factors should always be considered. Clients must make the most of the translator’s knowledge of how different expressions may be used to state the same thoughts in the Arabic translation. Making use of the alternatives could actually help the client’s message reach the target audience in a more effective manner.
Secondly, check the grammar and structure. The job of any Arabic translator will never be considered satisfactory if structure, as well as grammar, are incorrectly used. For translators, there is always the technical challenge to be met of the difference between structural accuracy and the true meaning of the text. This could lead to mistakes in judgement over the use of adverbs and the proper placing of adjectives. Consider how the passive and active voices could either weaken or strengthen the impact of every statement. One example is that of structural considerations which could alter the message. A good translation agency will make it a point to fix these problems before delivering the final version of the translation to their clients. On the other hand, the client should be able to evaluate the translations done. Basic knowledge of the language is a must.
Lastly, but definitely not least, consider the style and the language. These are more subjective issues, where translators actually have more control. However, this could also mean more traps to fall into. One example of a trap is being inappropriately creative when translating into Arabic. The Arabic language has classical and modern modes of its own, as well as colloquial varieties. There is the big question when translating as to whether the agency should preserve the style of the source or just use its own style. If the source’s style is already good, then it is better to retain it. Basically, this could make the entire Arabic translation process more stable.