We believe in the 'native speaker' principle. This means that no translation goes out of the door without being seen by a native speaker of the language in question: English or Dutch. This gives a more natural, less 'translated' end result.
We think all translations should be checked by a second translator before being handed to the end client. Translations we do for translation agencies are usually checked by the agencies themselves, although we sometimes make agreements to perform the check ourselves. However, all our translations for direct clients are checked by a second Tessera translator as a matter of course.
In our opinion, you get a better translation result if you understand the content of what you are translating. Much of what we translate is highly technical, for instance pension policy conditions or medical information leaflets. You need a good understanding of what is going on to get the correct meaning across in such cases. And we have that understanding because of our background - both education and work experience. Such translations also require specialized terminology and we have accumulated an impressive array of specialist dictionaries and computerized terminology lists (term bases) to ensure we use the right word in the right context.
English has no equivalent of the L'Académie française, laying down the law on aspects of language. There is considerable leeway and quite a bit of variation. In particular there are big differences between UK English and US English, not just in terms of spelling (colour/color) but also in terms of terminology (nappy/diaper) and punctuation.
This means that when translating into English we will need to know whether you require US English or UK English and whether there are any company style rules we need to take into account. In the absence of any other information, we will use UK English and the style rules given in the Oxford Style Guide. We always make sure the style in any given document is consistent and correct.
One aspect of style is localization: making sure the text 'fits' the target language. For example, numbers often have to be reformatted as continental Europeans tend to use the point separator where the English use a comma separator and vice versa. So 1,500 is fifteen hundred to an English speaker but one and a half to a Dutch speaker. For more on this subject, see Localization. Localization is always part of the job unless expressly agreed otherwise with the customer.
CAT stands for Computer Assisted Translation (not to be confused with machine translation!). CAT tools such as Trados and MemoQ are translation software packages that store translations in translation memories and provide terminology lists. Their big advantage from the quality perspective is that they ensure consistency, making sure for instance that you always use the same English term for the department name - not just in one particular document but every time you do a job for that client. If the client has a list of preferred terms, these can be imported into the software and appear as the suggested term during translation. CAT tools also contain various standard QA checks, for example making sure that numbers and formatting are consistent with the source text.
You can help us get a better translation result by giving us background information. It is particularly important to know what the translation will be used for. A marketing text for a website or brochure requires a very different tone of voice to a technical manual. We also like to know the intended readers of the text. If the text is for an international readership rather than native English speakers, we will adjust the vocabulary we use accordingly and stick to simpler sentence structures. Other useful information includes standard company English terms for e.g. department names and managerial positons, previous translations of similar material and links to relevant websites.
The information received from clients is treated as confidential, irrespective of whether it comes directly from the end customer who owns the data or via an intermediary such as another translation agency. This means that it will not be passed on to any third party without prior written permission from the client. The same confidentiality restriction will be placed on any other translator or agency that we pass the work on to.