How To Assess The Quality Of A Translation?

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Written by: Marium Iqbal


Due to the rapid increase in globalization and interconnection of multi-linguistic people throughout the world, tremendous growth in the translation industry has been observed over the last decade. If we observe the market size of this growing industry over the past 10 years, it is expected to reach 57.7 billion dollars industry in 2022 from the figure of 23.5 billion US dollars in 2009.

This growth is the parameter that many translation businesses are coming forward to help in providing services to the globalized world. Considering this, the demand for qualified translators is also on the rise because translation is not something everybody can do. Why do we say this? Because every language has its structuring, grammar, and style of delivering the message in a particular tone. Here the question arises of “How to assess the quality of a translation?”

how to assess the quality of a translation

Translation Assessment Criteria (TAC)

Quality of translation is primarily based on the translator’s qualification, knowledge, and understanding. The translator should possess a command of dual languages.

  1. Language of the text document
  2. Language in which the document has to be translated

If a translator has expertise in both languages i.e. the language of the text and the language in which he could be qualified to translate the document or text in a justifiable way.

The translation of any text or document could be assessed with the help of the following steps.

Steps to Assess Quality of Translation

The quality of any translated material could be assessed by following the below simple checks:

1. Check for Accuracy of Words

This could be attained by translating each word of the source language document exactly to the translated document. It requires much time and vigilance. This step would analyze whether every word which is used in a translated document/ translated documents possesses the same meaning as the source language. 

Achieving this is quite challenging as the translator would accomplish it by translating word by word and then sentence by sentence. The content translated should be the same as per the source document or text.

Now, do you think the translation is done after completing this step? The answer is NO, it requires clarity of expressions too, which leads us toward the second step.

2. Check For Actual Expression

The goal is to comprehend accurately what is said as well as expressed in the source language.  Word-to-word translation is easy, but understanding the expression of the sentence is difficult to be translated in the same way. Therefore, it is necessary for the translator to analyze the translation so that it would exactly be the same in expression as the source text.

Some words could have different meanings in different regions, so here the translator should be capable of understanding the language to the extent of the local speaker of the translated language. 

3. Check For Technical Formatting And Grammatical Errors

Another step in assessing the quality of the translated document is to check the formatting of the text, spellings of words written, numbers, dates, or any grammatical errors the translated text contains.

This is the fundamental element to be considered while translating documents because these errors can change the meaning of the source document and hence create difficulties in comprehending the source document.

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4. Checked By Local Speakers Of The Language

Accurate translation could be accomplished only by analyzing the translated text in comparison with the original text by the local speakers of the language because they are the ones who understand the tone, accent, grammar, style, and expressions used in that language. Make your translation assessed and examined by the local language speakers or the person who is proficient in different languages.

The translated text should be provided to three to four members to read and comprehend by themselves without showing the source document. This step would give a clear picture of the comprehensiveness and readability of the translation.

5. Check For The Expert In The Field

This step plays a vital role while translating sensitive documents like medical, legal, etc. This requires specialized and qualified people in the relevant field who can understand the translation accurately in comparison with the original one because the knowledge of that field is not available to any other translator who does not aware of the terminologies related to that field.

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The translation is considered to be good when it rightly conveys the message of the original text to the user without any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes and it can only be achieved by truly qualified translators of the particular language. It is a highly sensitive job to get the true copy of the source text in any other language demanded by the customer. Moreover, it also requires a high level of expertise in the relevant field and familiarity with the language translated.

If you find the above article informative, please share your comments and thoughts with us below.

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