Monday, February 27, 2006

Revision, Editing and Proofreading

The February issue of the ATA Chronicle has just arrived, and with it an interesting article on translation quality control: "A Second Pair of Eyes: Revision, Editing and Proofreading", by S. Alexandra Russell-Bitting.

After introducing herself and her experience, the author devotes sections of her article to Quality Control in Translation, Revision, Editing, Proofreading, and Managing Quality.

Apart from other things, the article could be very useful in that it differentiates between activities that are often lumped together, confused with each other, or misnamed.

In this case, "Revision" is defined as "checking a translation for accuracy and style", going through the text sentence by sentence and comparing SL and TL.

"Editing" is described as "more creative work than revision [where] you have the freedom to make improvements in the text for readability"

"Proofreading", finally, according to Russell-Bitting is "a final check before publication".

When I am asked by a translation company to "proof" or "edit" a translation, I always have to ask what, exactly, they want me to do: what's proofreading to someone is called editing by a others, and revision is confused with both things. I hope this article may help differentiate between these important translation quality control activities.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Simple QC Technique for Bilingual Files

One of the most insidious kind of errors happens when a negation is translated in the affirmative, or vice-versa. Insidious because sometimes such errors are difficult to spot, as the sentences that contain them, on their own, probably still make sense.

However, when translating using an environment, such as TM program, which produces bilingual files, there is a simple quality control technique that, while not 100% effective, still helps avoiding this type of errors. The following example works for the English-Italian language pair, but it could easily be adapted to other languages:

  1. Once the translation (or editing) is complete, search for word "not" throughout the bilingual file
  2. For each occurrence of the word found, check the corresponding Italian segment, to make sure that the negative meaning is preserved
  3. Once completed the search for the English "not", repeate the search for the Italian "non", so as to make sure that a negative meaning has not cropped where the English instead has an affermative sentence

Of course this is not 100% foolproof, but it can be improved by adding other relevant words (such as "cannot", "failed", "impossible", etc.) to the search.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Why Translation Quality Measurement?

You cannot manage what you cannot (or do not) measure; yet, this is precisely what most translation quality control processes try to do.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Method for Predicting the Productivity of Machine Translation

Better Localization has recently published an interesting article on how to predict the productivity of an MT and post-editing process.

The article also deals by necessity with the translation quality level of machine translation, as the productivity that can be achieved during post-editing heavily depends on the quality of the MT output.

I have some issues with some of the things the article says (for instance that "testers and cannot give reliable quantitative results in a cost-effective manner.": I believe that the work Franco and I have done on translation quality measurement is cost effective and could be adapted to MT as well, but the article is very well worth reading, and suggests a novel approach that looks promising.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Article for Multilingual: Translation Quality Measurement and the Translation Quality Index

That is the tentative title for the article Franco and I are committed to write for a forthcoming issue of Multilingual devoted to Translation Quality. Jeff Allen is coordinating the issue, will write a companion article and, as I understand, has another two articles being written by others.

Now the hard part: writing the article itself.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Language Standards For Global Business

Interesting press release about the first language standards summit, which was held a few days ago in Berlin.

Practitioners, corporate planners, suppliers, and academics came together and actively shared their views on what they needed in language technology and process standards.

Among the issues tackled were language standards and translation quality.

The next summit is scheduled for May 29 and 30, in Barcelona.