COMMON MYTHS ABOUT TRANSLATION QUALITY 2024-pretoria-sandton-capetown-durban


The world of translation can be a confusing place, especially in South Africa where the industry is not very well regulated. Many purchasers of translation services feel like you might when you take your car to the mechanic. How do you really know what’s going on underneath the hood? After all, if you don’t speak the language into which you’re having something translated, how can you measure quality and hold your vendors accountable?

  • Myth #1: Bigger is always better

Sometimes, people think that buying translation from a large agency will get them a better quality of service. After all, if a translation company has thousands of translators and handles hundreds of languages, this has to be a sign of quality, right? Not necessarily. Generalists are not always better than specialists. If you are seeking translation for just one language or in a specialized industry, you might be better off working with a small agency or a professional freelance translator. Large agencies have their role – usually in supporting large customers that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in translation.

  • Myth #2: Bilingual employees will provide me with helpful quality feedback

Many translation purchasers think they have a shortcut to measuring quality – simply ask a bilingual co-worker or employee to take a look. Translators are professionals, while bilinguals are laypeople. The only way bilingual employees can provide helpful feedback on translation quality is if they’re given explicit and focused guidance on what types of things to look for. If they’re just asked, “Can you read this and tell me what you think?” they will not be in a position to offer feedback of much value.

French Translation, Pretoria Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria & Durban - Translation & Interpreting Services

  • Myth #3: My source content has no impact on quality

A large percentage of “translation errors” are actually due to source text that is poorly written or unclear. Consider translation the “paint job” – it can only do so much to hide the scratches and flaws of the car underneath it. When a sentence can be understood in more than one way, the translator has to make an educated guess about what the original author intended. Usually, translators do not even have the opportunity to clarify with the source text author to find out what the intention was behind an ambiguous term. They rely on their research skills and professional experience to try to figure out the intended meaning, but this is not desirable, and can obviously lead to a translation that does not measure up – but not necessarily due to any fault on the translator’s part. Communication is a two-way street. If the source message isn’t clear, the translation often won’t be either.


  • Myth #4: Technology should be avoided

Many newbies to the world of translation mistakenly think that “translation technology” refers to computer-generated translation, such as Google Translate. In actual fact, most professional translators use software tools that incorporate “translation memory,” a database of previous translations. Translation memory also offers another advantage – it usually ends up saving some money for the buyer, because it means they do not have to pay to translate the same sentence or phrase over and over again. In any text with a lot of repetition, translation tools are extremely helpful for ensuring quality and consistency.

  • Myth #5: Any translator can work on legal documents.

In South Africa, only the Courts have the authority to accredit and swear in translators. Translators that would like to progress in their careers and translate official documents, will need to apply at the high court of their city. The application will be carefully examined and the person may also be interviewed by the high court. Once the application is successful, the translator will then be asked to take an oath by the high court, following which enables the translator to practice as a sworn translator and be authorised to affix a seal, signature, and unique case number on translated documents.

If you have doubts about the quality of a specific translation, Frenchside Johannesburg translation team will be glad to help you evaluate it.



1030 Francis Baard Street
Hatfield 0083
P. O. Box 8685
Pretoria 0001


(+27) 12 342 0049
(+27) 12 342 0050

Waterside Place 15
Zulberg Close Bruma
Postal Add:
P O Box 1079

(+27) 011 333 2721
(+27) 011 333 2725

In addition to Angola’s embassy in Pretoria and the consulate in Johannesburg,  Angola has 2 other representations in South Africa. These representations include consulates in Cape Town and Durban

Please contact the embassy in Pretoria directly for inquiries and questions regarding visa regulations and passport requirements. 

Contact Frenchside for all your Portuguese translation, Interpreting, and legalisation inquiries.


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Nobuhle Diane
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Excellent services. I had to urgently get my documents translated and apostille and they delivered. I highly recommend Frenchside
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Apostille Services Johannesburg
Frenchside apostille service is a Pretoria-based authentication and legalisation service that assists corporations and individuals in South Africa in obtaining Apostilles and Embassy legalisation services for their personal and commercial documents in order to be eligible for use abroad.
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February 23, 2023


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