;   Medical Translation Insight: Low marks for measurable translation quality - ForeignExchange Translations

Low marks for measurable translation qualityHow often have you had conversations with colleagues about how to write a particular passage or document? Sometimes it's hard to agree on the appropriate tone, style, and content. And that's only in one language.

Now add multiple languages, cultures, locales, and experiences into the mix and it's easy to see that what's a good translation for one person is a bad translation for somebody else.

The answer to sidestepping these kinds of unsolvable situations? Develop quality metrics. Quality metrics are:

  • Objective quality measurements that are customized to your needs (timing, post-ship defects per 1,000 words, number of review changes per page)
  • Jointly defined between client and vendor
  • Tracked on every assignment
  • Reviewed and reported on regular basis
The goal is to create an environment for continuous improvements ("we're doing well in this one area, so let's set the bar a little higher") and for identifying and fixing problems objectively ("we seem to have a problem here; let's look for underlying causes").

Given the importance of quality in medical translations, it is surprising and disappointing that in the course of this decade, very little progress has been made in the area of measurable translation quality. Nine years ago, I wrote about Six approaches to measuring translation quality. Looking at these six approaches now, the only change is that the Germany-only DIN 2345 standard has been replaced by EN 15038, a European standard that sets out the requirements for providing quality translation services.

Are there really no new models, no approaches, no new ideas?

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1 Comment:

  1. David said...
    Hi Andreas

    Thanks for digging up this article again through posting about it on twitter :)

    As to your question: I'd say that another approach, which isn't necessarily new, is long-term relationships between the lcient and the LSP as well as between the LSP and its translators.

    Sometimes we think so much outside the box (because that's what everybody's telling us, right?) that we forget the obvious: think inside the box. Long term relationships are, in my opinion, stil the best qualitiy assurance, providing that the LSP has the necessary QA in place and that the translator is an expert in her/his field.

    Best regards,

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