Our poll around the question of "Are quality expectations declining among translation buyers?" attracted a ton of interest. After 1,000 votes, the answer seems to be: No.
We received lots of great input and feedback. Many of the comments were informed by personal experience. Here is an example:
"In my experience, pharmaceutical companies are the most demanding clients, they usually commission their translation work through agencies and require several proofing and quality assurance steps. Naturally, this is understandable, because there are massive implications of translation errors in clinical trial protocol and drug sheets. The least demanding clients are usually companies looking for website translations, newsletters and 'softer' types of documents. Despite not agreeing with it, my experience is that they are usually price-sensitive, rarely inquire or are willing to pay for revisions and proofreading."It was interesting to note that there appears to be some tension between translation providers. Take a look at this comment:
"I don't believe that quality expectations have declined among translation buyers (not ours, as translation company, nor that of our clients) but the quality of what translators tend to deliver at times lately has declined."And now contrast it with this one:
"I think the critical factor is not so much the end client (who often has no way of knowing what quality a translation is) - it's the agency and the translator/editor."From a different person:
"I find that a worrying number of agencies display their attitude towards quality in the lazily written, semi-literate emails they send me asking me to translate for them."And this one from yet another respondent:
"This past summer I got a translation back from an agency, crisscrossed, red-marked and changed in almost every sentence by their editor. This was a cosmetics marketing text, and in the end I was able to prove that my choice of terminology was just as applicable and current as that of their editor. (That editor also made a number of gross mistakes in his/her correcting enthusiasm, which forced me to point it out to the agency with urgency not to let that translation go to the client as edited.)"After all is said and done, though, this comments sums it up well:
"Quality in medical translation should be the number one priority for the translator as it is for the client."A big Thank You! to everybody who participated in the poll!
For more about translation quality, take a look at these articles:
- Is Google Translate the new evil empire?
- Why translators need editors
- Measuring translators' performance
ForeignExchange Translations provides specialized medical translation solutions to the world's largest medical device and pharmaceutical companies.