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By Maria Eugenia Padron

It seems to be a common misconception in the general population that people that know two languages are translators automatically. This couldn’t be further away from the truth. To become a quality translator, you need not only to know 2 different languages really well, but you need many skills on top of that. You need to be able to detect and interpret the context of the text and its meaning in different ways to be able to translate the text’s meaning accurately and in a relevant manner for the audience that’ll be reading the translated text. Dialects and register in language are to be considered, as well as social context. Differences in phonetics might even be considered if there’s a pun or rhyme intended in the original text.

So, how are we able to keep a quality check in translators? Some clients may rely in the accreditation of the translator’s studies. If she or he has a diploma in translation, that makes the clients trust in that the translator has the skills and manages the techniques required to create quality translations.

However, with the globalization of the world increasing, the demand for translators is on a rise. Also, the opportunity for translators to become freelance/independent amidst the changing job market of the 20th century has increased the offer of translators as well. To keep up with this market, many bilingual or multilingual people have started to become translators through experience, independent studies, or simply have studied translation but don’t know how to apply what they’ve learned in school or didn’t receive appropriate education on the field.

Translation being a difficult craft, with all the different techniques, theories, methods, and tools that exist for it, along with the ambiguity and flexibility language seems to show frequently, has made it necessary for many governments, organizations and businesses to have a standard way of measuring the quality of a translator’s services.

This is why apart from having examinations and qualifications, translators might need to check international or local translation quality standards, depending on where they’re working at.

According to Morning Translations, the most recognized standard for translators in the world is the ISO 9001 standard. It provides guidelines and a framework to evaluate the consistency of a translator’s performance at a variety of levels, customer satisfaction, staff motivation and improvement.

Another standard is EN 15038, which was created in 2006 by the European Committee for Standardization. It defines requirements for the personnel, technical resources, quality control, client contract parameters, as well as management methods and project management of the translator’s services. This standard is the one used by European countries, and it inspired the standard that was created and is employed in Canada, CGSB-131.10.

EN 15038 was recently updated in 2015 to a new standard to be used in Europe called ISO 17100:2015. Outside of the European Union and Canada, most countries rely on the ISO standards previously mentioned.

The LISA Scorecard is another standard that’s widely in use, despite that the Localization Industry Standards Association has ceased to be active and functioning. It relies in a grading system, and for a translation to pass it, it needs a grade of 99%.

The ATA metric was developed in the US by the American Translators Association also relies in a grading system, but it works differently. Instead of having a grade based on points, it’s based on performance levels. So it’s possible for a translation to pass the quality standards with different performance levels, such as strong or standard.

Apart from all these different quality standards, there are some that have been specifically created for a specific purpose, such as for medical translations. Translators have to keep this in mind, as well as that the translation standard to be used might not vary only by country, but also by government, business, institution or organization.

All translators need to keep up to date with all the laws and standards that are relevant for their job. This will set their professionalism and trustworthiness will be displayed, so as to get clients that look to hire such translators because they know their translation is a trustworthy, quality translation which is worth the money they’ll pay for the translating services that’ll leave then satisfied and require a fair pay that’s relevant to the quality of the translator’s services.

Therefore, translators need to constantly read new standards and changes made to them, keep informed through journals or newsletters for translators, and need to thoroughly explore the standards that are the most relevant. For example, a medical translator might not focus so much on the ISO standards as in learning about the standards the medical association she or he works for requires.

This is just another aspect through which it’s visible how a translator never stops learning and is in need of constant and permanent improvement. New research, technology and techniques appear constantly, and it's part of a translator’s job to keep informed and learn about them to maintain their services reliable.

By Maria Eugenia Padron - Summer 2017 Intern

Source: https://www.morningtrans.com/translation-quality-standards-what-do-they-mean/

Intern’s profile: http://modlingua.com/interns/388-maria-eugenia-padron-spanish-english-translator.html

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By Beti Levensteinas

Globalization helped in the rapid growth of translation and localization activities. However, there has been a mismatch of expectations, assumptions and goals between those who request a translation and those supplying a translation, affecting, thus, project quality. In view of that, national standards were developed in different parts of the world. Concerted efforts were endeavored to implement quality standards and maintain consistency in translations in the whole world.

Generally, those standards are not legally binding, they are just recommendations, but people are expected to follow them. They are connected with to management, procedures, project and they aim at increasing translation efficiency and improving translation processes. Those standards aim at teaching translators to improve their own processes, but it takes time for translators to improve, they go up various steps to improve their efficiency. 

There are basic standards which include, without limitation, information processing, information and documentation, terminological principles and methods. There are also subject standards, such as product standards, testing standards, process standards, service standards to interface standards and data standards. One standard may be used in a field at an office, for a client at an office, at one office as a whole, at various offices, at a region, in a country etc. 

Standardized definition of quality applied to translation refers to correct form and content expected from customer. Many countries have their own standards.
Languages lexicon, spelling and grammar are highly prescribed. And languages evolve along time and there is an ever increasing number of subject fields. Translation is a fast changing market environment. Technology evolves at a tremendous speed. More specialization is required and new qualifications have to be acquired. Customer’s requirements and expectations also change fast.

There’s a variation of terms from country to country and standards are used to try to apply only one term worldwide. Quality assurance is an added process that takes time to complete, since it requires more personnel to proofread, organize translation memories etc.There is also a lot of non-linguistics issues at stake in translation.Quality standards are applied to improve efficiency, speed up work, maintain consistency, then there’s no reason to increase cost charged from customers since translator is helping himself/herself, rather than the client.

It should be identified problem points in translation process and it should be improves quality as well as cost by reducing steps and additional work hours.
Translators/Translation agencies should prepare a list of key words and submit it to the customer for checking terminology so that translators/translation agencies can use that glossary as a protection, since customer’s approval is like a contract.

Some of standards are based on wrong terms, syntactic errors, omission, word structure or agreement errors, misspelling, punctuation error, miscellaneous errors (those are connected with linguistics).

However, they can also be based on nonlinguistic aspects, such as segment-level check: missing and incomplete translation, corrupt characters, inconsistent sentence count, source and target inconsistency, punctuation at the end of segments, spaces before punctuation, double spacing, double dots, double punctuation, quotation marks, brackets and parentheses, number values, number formatting, measurement unit conversion, digit to text conversion, terminology, project glossaries adherence, identical untranslatable, tags, identical tags.

There is no agreement on a universal concept of quality, one agency may say it is a mix between creative and normative, but different areas have different requirements, in order to use a particular product.

Some countries use standards as a basis for certification, while others do not do so. In U.S. translation standard, client provides specification, a contract is entered into, and then production starts, there’s a project manager, a translator, a proofreader and after proofreading, translation is submitted to client, in case of feedback, translation is improved and given back to client. LISA guide has linguistic and nonlinguistic standards that apply penalties to a translation. In ISO 17100:2015, there is cooperation between clients and translators/contractors, it is required a certification of competence in translation awarded by a relevant governmental agency. DIN 2345 – 1998, the German standard, focuses more on text. 

The large amount of standards causes confusion. There’s a need to harmonize the definitions to be adapted universally by all national standards. Conceptual agreement must exist at the definition level, scope, procedures and aims. Translation quality must include localization quality and must be applied from the uniform definition of quality set forth in ISO. Evaluation parameters have to be described as accurately as possible. Certification could be granted to individuals, companies or processes. The use of technology for translations has to be accurately described as it is in existing standards. Copyright specification and rules should be clearly stated. Services different from translation should be determined, classified and described as clearly as possible.

Indian translation industry has a lot to learn from leaders in terms of developing well organized translation management processes involving terminology management and standardization of terms, quality control standards, customer satisfaction and the use of technology, including human assisted machine translation. Indian industry wants no more regulation and burden, but it has a culture of being economical. In translation industry, one cannot be aloof and s/he/it will be forced to apply market standards.

Profile Link of the writer: http://modlingua.com/interns/433-beti-portuguese-translator.html

Certified Quality Translation Services in Delhi