As you know, our aim is to provide our clients with quality translations. To that end we have put in place a number of processes in line with the European standard EN 15038 for translation services. While processes are useful and may serve as safeguards, our translations will only be as good as our translators, which is why measuring the quality of your translations is highly important.

Measuring quality in translation objectively is a difficult task. Research soon revealed that there is no consensus in that area and that many different quality assessment systems are used throughout the world. Some were created to grade exams and are highly elaborate – the quality metric developed by the American Translators Association identifies 23 categories of errors and offers 5 levels ofseverity; others were developed to be used in specific industries, such as the SAE quality metric for the automotive industry. Translation project management systems now come with their own quality assessment features which allow language service providers to keep track of the quality provided by translators.

Green tick with the text Quality control Approved.Since we didn’t have a ready-to-use solution, we decided to create a simple assessment metric based on the Canadian quality assessment model Sical, and we now use it in our recruitment process when we ask existing members of our panel of translators to assess test translations. Our metric identifies 3 different types of errors (translation, language and compliance errors) and 2 levels of severity. It also allows the assessor to grade the overall ‘naturalness’ of the translation. For test assessments, we ask that the assessor mark up and explain all errors.

We have now decided to unroll our quality assessment metric to all translations. Revisers will be asked to fill out a simple form at the end of each job and indicate the number of each type of errors as well as the overall ‘naturalness’ grade. Comments are welcome too. The assessment form along with the revised translation will be sent to the original translator for feedback purposes, and we will enter the information into a purpose-built application which will keep track of the quality of translations, and help us make informed decisions and identify training needs.

This is an exciting development for us, as we will have better control over the quality of our translations. It will also allow us to help you strengthen your skills and support you in your professional development.

Feel free to write us an email if you have any questions regarding our on-going quality assessment system.

Stefan