Oliver Walter wrote:
I think the apparent paradoxes generally arise from a failure to recognise that there is an essential, but unarticulated, distinction between a property
of an entity and somebody's knowledge
of that property.
Pablo Bouvier wrote:
The subjective properties refer to the subjective way of thinking or the feelings of the observer (subject)
If they are the thoughts or feelings of the human observer, they are not properties of the object (translation) in question.
One consequence of this first premise is that translation quality depends on the way of thinking or feeling of the observer, or which is the same: the observer itself.
Confusion again. Two different meanings of the one word "quality". Meaning 1: A distinguishing characteristic, property or attribute. Meaning 2: Degree or standard of excellence.
The mere act of analyzing the translation modifies the translation-quality status, so that after the analysis we may consider a translation as of good or of poor quality.
The act of analysing the translation modifies our opinion, knowledge or judgement
of its quality.
The result of this second premise is that translation quality based on their subjective properties depends on the observation act at all times. That is, translation quality is altered by the act of observation itself.
Again, not the quality but our knowledge or judgement of it.
As a corollary, if we assume that the translation-quality system depends at least in part of the observer and the observation act themselves at all times,
Yes, we must do that; the system
depends on these, but the quality does not.
we must deduce that there are as many qualities as observers and observations that take place at every moment.
Not as many qualities, but as many opinions
of the quality.
This is a clear indicator that it is impossible to judge translation quality based on their subjective properties.
What is more likely to be impossible is that several people agree on the (judgement of) the quality of a translation. Again, the judgement is, itself, not the quality.
This approach would require an analysis of the translation quality from a totally opposite view, namely that of the translation objective properties one, or to refer to the translation as the object itself and not from the observer point of view.
Well, doing it in a totally objective way, (a) can in principle be done by a machine (a computer program), and (b) will usually produce results that humans will not agree with.
PS: I am sorry, I had a philosophical morning today.... But, I still guess it is a good food for thought in order to think about how we should consider translation quality when proofreading, etc.
- Translation quality is obviously important because we use it to mean the degree to which the translation is suited to its purpose.
- We talk about translation quality as though it were a property of the translation, but when a reviewer comes to the conclusion that the quality of a translation is such and such, s/he means the combined result of some objective assessment (e.g. mistranslations of terms) and personal opinion.
- Performing the review does not modify an existing quality of the translation: either it brings it (or brings this one of many possible judgements) into existence, or it adds an opinion to something that could have been measured objectively
- Therefore the use of the word quality causes problems. If you claim that the act of reviewing a translation modifies, or brings into existence, the quality of the translation, it is wrong to think that the same word "quality" designates an intrinsic property of the translation.
There is not really a philosophical paradox - there is a practical problem of whether the word "quality" can mean both
a property of a translation and
somebody's judgement of it. If we don't want it to have both meanings at the same time (because then we might draw conclusions about one meaning and think they apply to the other one), we should have two different words, or at least qualify one of the meanings with an adjective.
(This posting is a result of my thoughts feeding on the food you have provided.)
(my PS: I have corrected some errors in the quoted text, but I am sure I have not altered the intended meaning.)