Friday, March 31, 2006

CEN Approves Translation Quality Specification

Common Sense Advisory has an interesting article about the approval, by CEN (the European Committee for Standardization), of EN 15038 quality standard for translation service providers.

The article also compares EN 15038 with ASTM 15.48, then goes on and criticizes the antiquated procedures that were followed in drafting the standard, and above all the lack of transparency in these procedures.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

How To Set Up a Language Quality Measurement System

The six phases for setting up a robust quality system:

  1. Design
    • - Collect a corpus of good and bad translations
    • - Analyze the corpus to identify critical-to-quality errors (error definition)
    • - Decide what to measure (error categorization)
    • - Assign a weight to various types of errors (severities)
    • - Define an error threshold

  2. Calibration
    • - Pilot,
    • - test, and
    • - adjust
      until the system works in an objective, repeatable, and reproducible way

  3. Sampling
    • - Sample selection criteria (e.g. random, systematic)
    • - Sample size, confidence intervals, margins of error
    • - Cost considerations (find the point of diminishing returns)

  4. Measurement
    • - Calculation of a Translation Quality Index (TQI)
    • - Evaluation must be
      • * repeatable,
      • * reproducible,
      • * objective
    • - Use of independent auditors
    • - Provide formal training

  5. Statistical Analysis
    • - Use of control charts
    • - Investigate results
    • - Rule out special causes

  6. Process Improvement
    • - Take corrective actions
    • - Compare the TQI values before and after a process change to check for actual process improvement

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Writing for Translation

An aspect of translation quality that is often not mentioned, is how much the quality of the SL affects the quality of the translation.

Courses on "Writing for Translation" such as this one are often popular, and, when done right, also useful, as technical writers may learn why, for example, concatenated strings are so much trouble for us.

One thing I saw when I worked in a large business software company, however, was that technical writers often resist any attempt to introduce controlled English, to limit their terminological choices, to introduce stringent editing rules, or, more in general, anything that they perceive as limiting their freedom and creativity.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"About Translation" Locked by BlogSpot

I have another blog on BlogSpot, About Translation, where I write more in general about translation and things of interest for professional tanslators.

Unfortunately, since last week my blog has been locked by Blogger, as their algorithms have (wrongly!!!) deemed it a "spam blog" (no idea why: it is clearly a legitimate blog, but until some human person takes a look, it remains locked)... so while the blog is still up, I cannot post anything new.

If the situation persists, I'll move the blog to some other service.

UPDATE: About Translation has finally been checked by a human member of the support team, white listed, and unlocked.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Brave Comment on the Blog

We have just received a comment on our blog, from "Anonymous":
That's rich, a blog about quality in translation operated by a Lionbridge employee. Lionbridge is a fraudulent company that doesn't pay its translators.

To which I have a few things to say:

  1. This blog is completely independent from Lionbridge; it was set up to complement our web site with an area where we could discuss issues related to translation in a more dynamic way than on the main web site (where we make available more information about our work on translation quality, such as our presentations and articles).
  2. Franco is indeed a Lionbridge employee. I am not: I have my own small translation company, and we provide our services to several larger translation companies. Among the services we provide on request is translation quality assessment services, including helping other companies improving their translation quality systems.
  3. This information is clearly available both on the "Profiles" section of this blog and on our main web site.
  4. I suggest that if "Anonymous" has a complaint against Lionbirdge, he should contact Lionbridge directly, and, if not satisfied, take the appropriate legal steps. On the other hand, this blog is not an appropriate venue for such complaints.
  5. While Franco and I are clearly named in our blog, "Anonymous" has not the courage of signing his message. That, to me, says all there is to say about the merit of his complaint.

Any further anonymous abusive messages will be deleted from this blog without comment.