How to measure quality of art?
Translation is often regarded as art. It is an art, and everyone who speaks more than one language can testify how difficult it is to convey the same message accurately for two distinctive cultures in their native languages. So, how do we measure the quality of the art of translation?
Before we explain our processes of maintaining high quality translation, we’d like to touch on Google translate (again…). Do you think a machine can create art? Are Google’s algorithms able to write a good story? Can any software match writing brilliance of Dickens or Shakespeare?
No, no and no!
Machine translation is not able to match human translators and it won’t be for many years to come, if at all.
Ok, one could argue: ‘I’m not translating Oliver Twist, I just want my one page flyer translated. Surely, Google translate can handle that.’
The principle still holds. Machine translation is not able to produce culturally specific text. Translators can. Translators understand the audience and their linguistic abilities. Translators have been using that language all their lives as they translate into their native tongues and they are immersed in the target audience culture.
Now, back to how we ensure quality of translation. First of all we use experienced translators working into their native languages. We review their experience before adding them on our database.
Also, who is best at judging art? Other artists!
Therefore, when we sign up new translators we ask them to do a test translation which is then checked by our trusted translators. In addition, on many projects we have proofreading stage allowing translators to proofread each others work before it’s sent off to the client, follow this link if you wish to read more about proofreading (link to proofread or not to proofread).
We also follow up with our clients and collect all the feedback they might have from the text after it’s used in the target market. This helps us with fine tuning of the translation for future projects.
To finish off we’d like to share a comment we received recently from one of our new partners. Their client said:
I don’t trust translators. I sent one paragraph to three translators and they all translated it using different words. With Google I get consistent translation.
So what how will you have your text translated? I hope you’ll all opt for artfully crafted translation aimed accurately at your target audience instead of the consistently poor quality but free machine translation!