What’s a query log?

Query Log is a list of anything you are not sure of when translating, including the meaning of certain words/phrases, errors in source text or others you think you need to check with the client.

What’s a query log consisted of?

A query log should be consisted of at least the following items:

File Name: the name of the file where you have questions, especially when more than one file is involved in translation.

Original: the source text you are not quite sure about.

Question: your question or anything you need to check with the client.

Suggestion: your suggested translation.

Answer: the answer of the client to your questions.

Why and when we need to submit a query log?

As we all know, the quality of the translation is of high importance. However, the source text is not always clear or may contain multiple meanings, especially for UI strings that are short and lack context. If the source text is unclear or could contain more than one meaning, please clarify with client for intended meaning.

If it is impossible to decide the accurate meaning due to lack of context, you also need to file a query log to the client. Never attempt to ignore/skip any question about the source text. However, it does not mean submit any question to the client without double check or careful research. Only after doing all possible researches could you submit a query log with all your questions to the client.

How to prepare a query log?

As above mentioned, a query log comprises several items including File Name, Original, Question, Suggestion, Answer, etc. Among them, “Question” is crucial, which should be as concise, clear and professional as possible. If your question is unclear, it will leave a bad impression on the client that you are not professional or qualified on your work.

For example, you are not sure about this sentence “CCJK OK FOR 250 000 AS QUANTITY”. What does “OK” mean in this case? It is hard to figure it our without more context. Now you need to check with the client for its intended meaning. If your question is “Please tell me how to translate ‘OK’ in this sentence”, okay, your client will say bye-bye to you. Obviously, your question is childish and lack of professional research.

It’s better to indicate clearly your understandings and your reasons to support your translation. In the above example, you can ask “Does ‘OK’ here mean ‘CCJK can prepare 250 000 pieces’?” or “’OK’ appears twice in this file, the first one is supposed to mean ‘agreed’, so please check whether we can understand the sentence as ‘CCJK agreed the quantity’.”

In this way, even though your understanding is incorrect, the client will not rebuke your for your mistake, instead he/she will tell you the correct meaning.

Now you have some ideas about the importance of the query log and how to prepare it in a professional way. Please send your query to the client along with your translation whenever necessary so as to guarantee the accurate translation and avoid complaint from the client.