Health care, health care, health care... In the U.S., you cannot turn on your computer or TV nor read a newspaper or magazine without getting bombarded with the latest news and views about reforming health care.
Over the course of the protracted health care debate, I would occasionally be struck by some of its similarities to the translation field: both use outdated processes (rewarding sickness in the healthcare field and translate-edit-proof in the translation business), both sectors are marked by an absence of leaders (sure, there are "800 pound gorillas" but no real leaders), and both business lack a workable quality definition.
This last point, in particular, goes beyond the U.S. health care system. In fact, the most recent discussion of this that I saw came from Canada.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal reported on this lack of quality standards of metrics in its report of the recent "Metrics For Healthcare Quality: The Leader's Role" event.
It's amazing: When reading the CMAJ article, you can literally substitute "translation" for any occurrence of "medicine" or "health care" and the article will appear written by a translation professional.
Here is a snipet that should sound familiar to translation professionals:
"Medicine is still very much an art"Here is another:
"One of the biggest challenges of quantifying health care quality is determining what to measure."And finally:
"I'm optimistic that there will be a day when we will have objective performance measures"Just like healthcare professionals, translation service providers need to figure out how to measure and compare the quality of their work - or get turned into a commodity.
To read more on measurable translation quality, take a look at:
- Quality is dead - long live measurable quality
- Measured translation quality - a paradigm shift
- ASTM F 2575-06: A Practical Guide for Achieving Translation Quality
- Why measure translation quality?
ForeignExchange's METRiQ quality system provides medical device and pharmaceutical companies with measurable, known translation quality. To learn more, contact ForeignExchange Translations.