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Translation Standards – FIT 2011 World Congress

Map of members of ISO

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By Mari D. González

I attended the International Federation of Translators – FIT 19th World Congress in San Francisco representing the International Medical Interpreters Association – IMIA and participated in two of the sessions on August 3 and the Key Note Session on August 4. Here are my notes from the two sessions.

I. “Quality Standards and the Translator’s Role” presented by Kristen Corridan, LUZ, Inc., Procurement and Quality Manager.

  • Quality is in the eye of the beholder or defined by what the client wants.
  • Standards are the requirements that ensure quality but do not delineate the “how” or “what” in a translation project.
  • Standards define and measure the process, customer satisfaction, and the requirements.
  • Basic translation job requirements are:
  1. Must done by a native speaker
  2. Who is a subject matter expert
  3. Has a number years of experience
  • The translation process should include:
  1. Client-approved glossary agreed by translator
  2. Editing
  3. Proofing
  • ISO(International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards
  • GALA(Globalization & Localization Association) has developed new standards.
  • Localization Standards are:

– EN15038 Europe

– ASTMF2575-06 International

– SAE-J2450 Automotive criteria (acknowledged because it taps into terminology and grammar)

In sum, the standards ensure a “process” that is uniform but not necessarily measure the “quality” of the content.

II. Translation Quality Standards presented by Jiri Stejskal, U.S; Beatriz A. Bonnet, U.S., Zhang Ciyun, China; and Reiner Heard, Germany.

EUROPE

  • In Europe, translations are done by a team of professionals that include a:
  1. Translator
  2. Reviser
  3. Reviewer
  4. Proofreader
  5. Final Verificator
  • Standards are overseen by the European Commission and focus on:

– Certifications

– Quality

UNITED STATES

  • In the U.S., standards are more detailed and include:

– Terminology and tools

– Specifications based on job standards and client’s requests such as:

-Marketing

-Nonprofit

-Pro bono

  • The editing and proofreading can be done by the translator.
  • Standards are about meeting the expected requirements of the outcome.

CHINA

  • Mr. Ciyun described the current challenges China faces since the demand for translations has grown beyond the capacity to establish a nation-wide uniform translation process.
  • The biggest challenged is the conflict between the market share and ensuring quality with the goal on customer satisfaction while working on the urgent need for standardization.
  • An important fact he shared was the earnings disparity between a translator and an interpreter. An interpreter can make $1,000 per day compared to $30 per day earned by a translator.
  • He spoke of

– A fast growing industry

– Chaotic market orders

– Translations that began as in-house work for which there is no regulation

– 1 million people is involved with doing translations

– Translators are faced with new Chinglish (English and Chinese) terms.