This forum is for those interested in problems of modern linguistics and translation.
Dec 2009, 19:14, Mark Kit
What quality standards are established and used in translation industry?
Efforts have been repeatedly applied to develop and implement translation quality standards. The most significant among these are:
European Union Standard prEN-15038
Society of Automotive Engeneers standard SAE J2450
ASTM F2575 – 06, Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation
Neither of these standards defines translation quality characteristics nor it defines the very concept of quality.
Standard ASTM F2575, for instance, makes an explicit statement: “This guide does not provide specific metrics.” Common shortcomings of the known standards
Any standard shall contain at least 3 components:
Scope of application, i.e. objects or processes which it applies to
Definition of parameters to be standadized and the allowable range of these parameters
Indication of methods to be used for measurement of the standardized parameters
Based on our experience and studies we have conducted the following can be stated:
No known standard defines the scope of application. The standards do not indicate what language pairs they are applicable to and it is assumed that they are good for all source-target language pairs. This “equalization” is not supported by any explanation.
Some standards indicate parameters to be subjected to control, e.g. typos, ommissions and wrong terminology (standard J2450). However, the most important flaw – distortion of the meaning i- s not in the list of controlled parameter, neither defined the “weight” of specific types of errors. Even the entire notion of error is not standardized.
No known standard defines methods for measurement of controlled parameters.
In summary, one can conclude that the current standards are not objective and cannot be used as tools for quality assurance.
In our company practice (Language Interface ) we use our internal norms and procedures that control two aspects:
Maintain such a process that еnsure the highest quality of translation
Efficient QC of the complete translation that allows to identify and eliminate errors and inaccuracies.
At the same timeLanguage Interface works on development and implementation of a versatile objective standard of quality of English-Russian and Russian-English translation.
Thanks, M Frame,
The extensive study of translation quality standards is described in detail in my PhD dissertation and a paper I published (Kit M. On translation quality regulations. Lingua Mobilis. 2012. – №1(34). – pp.116-133). To me, the suit of translation quality standards is a nice example of a complete and irreparable failure. After years spent for development of, say, EN 15038 we learn from it that the translation process should include an editor and a technical expert to verify the translation. This requirement makes the cost of translation prohibitive (if not astronomical) and invariably results in false claims about compliance with this standard. Translation agencies have to to so, being unable to cope with the market realities if they do comply. And so on. Sad.