The most important principle when updating translated documents

What is updating translated documents?

Updating translated documents means making modification to an available translation according to tracked changes made in the original documents. This can happen when:

  • Clients update their source document and requests corresponding updates in the translation.
  • New translation requests from clients, wherein its content and form are basically the same as previously translated documents. If you decide to update translated documents, compare the two source documents to make the most of previous translations.

What principles should be kept in mind when updating translated documents?

Always perform careful lookup during translation

Translators who update the documents must ALWAYS look up ways to translate words or phrases in the source text to ensure terminological consistency.

Always reread the whole sentence/paragraph while updating

Re-reading of the whole sentence/paragraph while updating is essential to help you make sure that the modifications will not affect the meaning of the whole sentence, and that all that need to be corrected has been corrected.

1. Example 1:

Source: Party AParty B shall and make sure its officers and employees shall comply with current laws.

Translation: Bên ABên B phải tuân thủ và đảm bảo rằng cán bộ và nhân viên của Bên ABên B phải tuân thủ luật hiện hành.

It is easy to notice that since the source text uses an independent possessive pronoun “its” to replace “Party A”, we only need to change “Party A” to “Party B” and leave the pronoun as is. However, Vietnamese translations tend to repeat the antecedent instead, so the pronoun would need a corresponding modification. In this particular case, if the person who makes the updates focuses solely on the tracked changes without re-reading the whole sentence, errors are likely to occur, creating a translation with a completely different meaning.

2. Example 2:

Source: Party A shall indemnify and hold indemnified Party B and all of its officers, employees, agents, assignees, and transferees against all loss and damage, claims, and suits in full compliance with current laws.

Bản dịch: Bên A sẽ bồi thường và đảm bảo Bên B và toàn bộ cán bộ, nhân viên, đại lý, bên nhận chuyển nhượng và bên nhận chuyển giao của Bên B được bồi thường trước mọi tổn thất và thiệt hại, yêu cầu thanh toán và khiếu kiện theo quy định của luật hiện hành.

Here, the translation text generated from the verb phrase “shall indemnify and hold indemnified” is inserted in between the object and the object complement. It is easy to overlook and obmit the phrase “được bồi thường” with the part that should be replaced, which could result in an incomplete sentence.

I hope that, after reading, you are now more aware of how important it is to apply the principles above while updating translated documents and achieve a complete, accurate and consistent translation.