translation and interpreting

What is a back translation?

Back translation definition

In linguistic terms, a back translation refers to the procedure according to which a translator interprets or translates a document previously translated into another language back to the original language. It offers clients additional quality and accuracy assurance for  their most sensitive translations and localization projects.

With a back translation  you can evaluate equivalence of meaning between the source and target documents. A back translation is usually a quite literal translation, so it gives a close approach to the exact meaning of the target language.

The post-back translation phase is called reconciliation, which we will see in the next post.



One thought on “What is a back translation?”

  1. Back translation can screw up this badly – especially when two or more different terms in one language translate to only one in the other language – or vie versa. I had it happened on me – after I forewarned the client on that. I also encountered the inequality when I proofread some text – in Hebrew, “suspension” (mechanical thing) and same word referring to a position (job/title/license) are two different words. Needles to say, the poor translator translated one for the other. Same for “thread” (of a screw) and same referring to sewing (with a needle).

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