Re: FWD: Preparing a translator test

Subject: Re: FWD: Preparing a translator test
From: Andres Heuberger <andresh -at- fxtrans -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2000 08:04:42 -0500

Dear Anonymous,

Translator tests are tricky business.

On one hand, a single, short test passage does not adequately help you distinguish amongst different translators. There are to many issues that come into play, including each translator's schedule at the time of taking the test, the kind of text that is selected as a sample, backgrounds, experiences, and -- importantly -- the qualifications of the test evaluator.

At the same time, tests should be part of your vendor-selection toolbox. At ForeignExchange Translations, for instance, we test all of our translators, in each language combination, in up to five subject matters. This is one of five steps in our translator-evaluation process.

The tests that we have developed are short (approx. 500 words each) and contain typical passages from the work that the translator might be expected to handle. The tests may contain inconsistent phrases, "tricky" terms, or even obvious errors -- in other words, they mirror a real-life translation project.

We have found that testing in and of itself does not ensure quality. It does, however, weed out the translators who are clearly unqualified to translate a particular subject or language. Amongst the remaining linguists, the keys to long-term success are monitoring and consistent feedback.

Good luck,

ForeignExchange Translations, Inc.
Multilingual Compliance for Regulated Industries
Web globalization * Software localization * Technical translation

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