METM17 presentation

Back translations: making the round trip meaningful

Mary Fons i Fleming, Barcelona, Spain; Emma Goldsmith, Madrid, Spain
Back translation is an additional quality-assurance step frequently implemented for texts where standardization and target readability are critical, to ensure that a forward translation retains the same meaning and effect as the source text. “Stay close to the forward translation” is a typical instruction in a back-translation brief, but how close should we get? When is a literal back translation too literal? As back translators, how can we contribute to a linguistic validation process in a meaningful way and justify the significant increase in translation cost?
The speakers have had good and bad experiences of linguistic validation processes, including a project that they worked on together for the forward, back and reconciliation steps. They have investigated various guidelines and best practices that ensure a good outcome. In this 30-minute presentation, the speakers will share their findings and experience and include specific English-Spanish-English examples to discuss with attendees. They will also suggest how back translators can leave useful comments rather than highlighting text or just adding [sic].
The session will be relevant to all translators who are involved in back translations, and in particular to Spanish/English medical translators.
Emma Goldsmith is a freelance Spanish to English medical translator who made a career switch from nursing some 25 years ago. Her translation specialties are clinical trial documentation, research articles and product information for EMA submissions.
Emma writes a blog called “Signs & Symptoms of Translation” about medical translation and SDL Trados Studio, and last year she added a Keyboard Corner to her blog, reflecting her new-found interest in mechanical switches and typing techniques.
Mary Fons i Fleming has been a freelance conference interpreter and translator for over 30 years. While continued professional development as a strong all-rounder is essential to her conference interpreting practice, medical and scientific research articles form the bulk of her translation work, and acquisition of knowledge and skills in this area serves to focus her professional development strategy.