Developing a Model for Translation Quality Assessment

Key Words: Translation Quality Assessment, Accuracy, Accepatability, Readability

By: Mangatur Nababan et al

The present study is intended to develop a model for Translation Quality Assessment (TQA) based on the prototipe designed in the previous research. The study aims to examine the strenghts and weaknesses of the prototipe, to revise the protipe, and to produce a model applicable for assessing the quality of translation from English into Indonesian.

The study employs a descriptive-qualitative approach. The data for the study were obtained through document analysis, interviewing with key informants and respondents and Focus Group Discussion, and were analyzed using an interactive data analysis technique.

The results of data analysis indicate that the prototipe of the model for translation assessment has some strenghts and weaknesses. The strenghts are as follows. Firstly, the prototipe assesses the quality of a translation holistically as it evaluates not only the accuracy, acceptability but also the readability of a translation. Secondly, there is a possibility that scores given by the raters may be different from one another; nevertheless, the results of the assessment are still valid as the final scores are based on the mean scores. Thirdly, though the scores given are in the forms of numbers and are used as the basis for determining the quality of a translation, the raters and readers are required to provide qualitative statements underlying their scoring.

Fourthly, the prototipe can be used not only to assess professional translation but also to evaluate the quality of translation within teaching and research settings. The prototipe, however, is not without weaknesses. Firstly, as the assessment is targetted at the micro level, there is a possibility that the assessment is out of context. Secondly, the raters or readers assigned to do the assessment should fulfill required criteria; in many cases, they cannot be obtained and sometimes are reluctant to participate. Thirdly, the application of prototipe is time consuming as prior to the assessment, the raters and readers should be trained first.

To solve the problems, it is neccessary to provide context for each translation unit to assist raters and readers to determine whether the translation unit in question is of high quality or not. In addition, prior to the assessment, the raters and readers that fulfill the criteria need to be identified and contacted first for their willingness to participate; it is also necessary to provide an incentive for them. Moreover, in addition to the source and target texts and the instruments, a necessary instruction on how to apply the instruments should be provided to facilitate the raters and readers to do the assessment.