“Liar, liar! Pants on fire!” Who can afford to tell the truth about translation quality
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:13
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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Jan 30, 2013

http://translationbiz.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/liar-liar-pants-on-fire-who-can-afford-to-tell-the-truth-about-translation-quality-and-who-cant/

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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:13
English to French
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Hah! Jan 30, 2013

After over 30 years in this business and industry, as a staff translator and a free-lancer, BOTH in Europe and in the USA, let me share a few facts:

The post referred to, unsurprisingly, offers no solution about the downward spiral of price it mentions.

Buyers of translations in the USA care no more about quality now than they did when I started in the profession in 1980. In Europe, OTOH, where people know quite a bit more about interacting with people speaking a different language, the opposite is true.

The analogy with used cars falls short, because buyers of translation (certainly most of those in the US) don't care about the translation "leaving them stranded," since they are not personnallyh involved anyway.

A final thought: someone got a Nobel prize for THAT?


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PaulEdgar
New Zealand
Local time: 00:13
Russian to English
Telling the truth about "quality" Jan 31, 2013

Hi Jeff,

You are certainly right when you say 'The analogy with used cars falls short, because buyers of translation (certainly most of those in the US) don't care about the translation "leaving them stranded,"'. Of course, the article acknowledges that the analogy falls short:

"Translations are not cars, and the analogy with the second-hand car market can only be taken so far."


Translation buyers, on average, have little awareness that a poor translation may "leave them stranded" as you put it. "Quality" (at least, in terms, that we translators frequently tend to think about it,) just does not sell.

Having stated the problem, the article foreshadows some different ways of thinking about what is important to buyers, and how smart translators might leverage off alternative ways of looking at the problem.

The problem is a complex one, and so developing good solutions is not easy. The sequel to this article promises to explore some alternative ways of looking at the question. They may not qualify for a Nobel Prize, but the search for new ideas is worth the effort, I think.

I'll be interested in hearing your reaction to the next episode!

Cheers
Paul Sulzberger
Nice to know that you started translating in 1980 - same year as me!


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:13
Member (2002)
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TOPIC STARTER
Correction Jan 31, 2013

Hi Paul,

Just a quick correction. That quote was made by "JL01" and not by me.

PaulEdgar wrote:

Hi Jeff,

You are certainly right when you say 'The analogy with used cars falls short, because buyers of translation (certainly most of those in the US) don't care about the translation "leaving them stranded,"'. Of course, the article acknowledges that the analogy falls short:



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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:13
English to French
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Yup! Jan 31, 2013

[quote]Jeff Whittaker wrote:

Hi Paul,

Just a quick correction. That quote was made by "JL01" and not by me.

[quote]PaulEdgar wrote:


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 12:13
English to Croatian
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Yes... Jan 31, 2013

JL01 wrote:

A final thought: someone got a Nobel prize for THAT?


Do you know what the monetary award is for a Nobel Prize winner? US$1.2 million. Given that, I would say that this gentleman is "signalling" very well, his business seems to be very successful.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:13
Swedish to English
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Nope Jan 31, 2013

JL01 wrote:

A final thought: someone got a Nobel prize for THAT?


Since there is no such thing as a Nobel prize in economics, the answer is no.

What does exist is "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel".

When creating this award, Bank of Sweden and the Swedish parliament somehow forgot to exhume dear old Alfred to ask him what he thought about the idea.


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Jean-Pierre Artigau
Canada
Local time: 06:13
English to French
+ ...
A new market for us Jan 31, 2013

What I see is the possibility of a new market: translation evaluator. Get paid to take time to assess translation samples and tell the client what he doesn't know about the quality of his translators (in case he wants to know).

Jean-Pierre


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