Learn to Use Query Sheets

A translator uses many types of reference material: glossaries, terminology lists, dictionaries, texts of the same field, etc. However, the best source of reference for a translator is the contact with the client.

This contact enables the translator to know more about the product to be translated and therefore select the correct terminology.

The best way to keep track of this communication between client and translator is by the use of query sheets. Some companies have their own way of keeping track of these ‘conversations’ but in general, all of them have the same minimum fields. Here you can see an example:

Query #    File name    Language    Source text    Target text    Question    Reply from client    Comments
                           
Although it is very simple, we have noticed that translators do not know how to ask queries and that clients do not know how to reply them, so we hope the tips below will help you to have a better communication with your clients and translators.

Tips for translators

1.    Provide context. Enter the full string, even if you are going to ask for one single word.
2.    Make your query simple and clear.
3.    Be polite! Sometimes the reference material provided is not what we expected, but you will not get anything saying that it is crap.
4.    Do not ask for translations, but for further context. You can enter what you assume the term/string means, but do not ask the client if your translation is correct.
5.    Do not waste your time and do not make the client waste his. When you are sharing the query sheet with several translators, make sure you are not going to ask something that was asked before.
6.    If you receive feedback from other languages, check it, as it may contain useful information for you.

Tips for clients

1.    Accept queries from translators. You are the one who knows your product, so you are their best reference. Be open to queries and feedback from them.
2.    Reply to the queries correctly! When you are asked about if this means x or z, do not reply ‘yes’. Do not be surprised, you know you have done this before… Unclear replies discourage translators from making further queries and this can affect the quality of the translation.
3.    Make sure you reply to all queries.

The Project Manager in charge of your project will filter the queries and replies so that you take all the advantages of this tool.

Do not hesitate to contact us to know more about these procedures!