Ask Applingua: How Can I Trust Translation Quality?

It’s difficult to judge the quality of something when you don’t really know what you’re looking for and when you can’t speak the language it’s written in. This is especially the case when you’re entrusting the reputation of your app to a third-party, without many means of checking their work. 

How do I know that the quality of the translations I get back is going to be good? What if I don’t realise until my users point it out? Am I paying for native translation and not getting it?

“How Can I Trust Translation Quality?”

Choose the right people for the job

Choosing the right localization or translation partner is obviously important. Here are a few tips to ensure quality:

  • Look for qualified translators. Not everyone knows that translation is actually a post-degree level skill. While many bilingual people assume they can translate professionally, this isn’t usually the case.
  • Ensure your translators speak English (or your original language) very well.
  • Make sure the translator you’re working with understands how your target device works. Not all software is made equally.
  • If you’re working with an agency, ensure they use the same translator, as far as possible, for future updates.

The very reason Applingua was founded was to offer an alternative to the many traditional translation agencies who offered “expert technical translations” but had little clue about the nature of an iOS or Android device and the constraints that come with it. We’re proud to know our tap from our click!

In addition to passing all the above with flying colors (we would say that, right? But it’s true…), we also offer the following to ensure quality:

  • We live and breathe iOS, OS X, Android and Windows Phone 8
  • We own multiple devices and understand the platform
  • All our translators have demonstrated geekiness! (which is why they fit in with us so well 😉 )
  • We can and do test our localizations on-device prior to App Store submission

Use your common sense

The short answer to “how can I trust translation quality?” is – sometimes you can’t. If you spoke the language you wouldn’t need a translator! Instead, you have to rely on what people say they’ve done, which can be a little daunting. That age old mantra is true though –

if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Be wary of anyone offering “native translation” for a ridiculous price, as you might end up getting stung paying for something you didn’t receive. Trusting your users to report errors and not receiving many is a good indication of the quality of someone’s work, so encourage your fan base to be vocal if they spot any errors in your app.

It should go without saying that if you find a good translator it’s worth holding onto them! 🙂 Not only will they become super familiar with your app, but you’ll also be able to build up trust with them. Win win.

Your concern, our solution

We’d love you to choose us to be your localization partner (no, really), but whoever you choose, make sure they the best interests of your app at heart. After all, you put all that time and effort into making the native version spot on, why go for inferior quality for your non-native users? 🙂

This is the second in our new series “Ask Applingua” – if you have a question about localization then fire it over or tweet us and we’ll do our best to answer it!


Robert Lo Bue

Rob is CEO of Applingua. With over a decade's experience, he is at the forefront of tech localization.