How to Perform Content Checks on Foreign Language Translations

Translation Project Managers are often tasked with performing the final quality control check on a translated document. A single project manager may work on over 60 languages in a single calendar year, so it is obvious that the PM will work on languages outside of their expertise on a regular basis. One might think it would be difficult to provide additional quality assurance after the translator and editor have already reviewed the document, but there are several items that must be checked to ensure a properly translated document.


To have a successful translation, the target document must mimic the source document in terms of formatting. This includes items such as margins, number of columns, and line spacing. 

Matching Pages from Source to Target

This is especially important for legal translations. The content contained within a page from the source needs to also appear on the corresponding page in the target document. For instance, page 4 from the source document should look exactly like page 4 from the target document. To ensure that this is the case, one must verify that paragraphs from page 4 have not spilled over to page 5 on the newly translated document.

To match pages from source to target, the font must often be adjusted. Let’s use an English to Spanish document as an example. When translating from English to Spanish, the text often expands as much as 10%. This will cause a section that appears on page 1 in the English to appear on page 2 in the Spanish. Therefore, to match the source document and keep the text on the proper number of pages, small changes to the font size must be made.

Missing Content

There are scenarios where a translated document may look exactly the same as the original, but some text small sections may be missing. There are a couple of ways to make sure this does not occur. The first is to count the number of paragraphs contained on a certain page. Even if you cannot read the target document, the number of paragraphs a page contains can be identified rather quickly. If the number does not match, there is either a missing paragraph or an improper indention. The second method is to review all sections for any numerical entries. Since numbers can easily be identified across a wide variety of languages, they are a strong indicator of whether or not there is missing content in the document.

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