Are Translation Tests A Good Idea?
Usually, if you need a translator, you advertise the job or seek one out through a number of channels. A number of translators then contact you and you offer a test to check their skill and proficiency. The translation test usually has a number of sentences or a passage to be translated into a specific language. After that, the most accurate translator is hired. Well, is the translation test really a good idea?
The answer to that question is not so straight forward. The translation test has a number of flaws but there also aren’t many options for quality assurance when it comes to translation. A translation test is not a good idea if it is the only measure of assurance. However, as part of a number of other assurance measures, a translation test is a great idea. To make it a great idea, the goal lies in eliminating its flaws. Some of these include;
- A translation test is usually offered on short notice and with pressing urgency. This means that if mistakes are made, they can be blamed on haste.
- Client dependent
- A translation test usually leans on the client’s knowledge of the language. In most cases, this is not so assuring. If the client has little or no knowledge of either of the languages, then he/she is put at a great disadvantage when the test is offered.
- Little measure of honesty
- With online translation as well as translation application, it often becomes difficult to know if the translator did the work himself/herself or whether he/she sought out technological assistance which is usually not very accurate.
A translation test is usually basic and doesn’t cover most of the language rules. Its quality cannot therefore be trusted.
While it may be difficult to deal with the faults directly, there are other approaches that an individual can take to ensure the quality and validity of the translation test. These include;
- Previous work history
- Asking the translator to offer evidence of precious work history is a great way of knowing if he/she is experienced. At the same time, you can check the previous work to evaluate the work quality.
- Previous client contact
- Contacting a previous client or a number of them, is a great way to know if the translator delivers quality content.
The best way to get a quality translator is to ask for a referral. The referral means that the translators work has been put to test before and assurances have been made on the work quality.
A translation test is not full proof but if done hand in hand with other ‘tests’ it can be a really great idea.