An interesting statement from the QUALITY IN TRANSLATION campaign

Campaign Statement

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness amongst translation buyers that translation is not a commodity and translators are not pegs on a board. Despite the fact that language plays such a critical role in how we interact with the world, surprisingly few people understand what is required to deliver a “good” translation; a translation that strives to express the same thoughts and impressions as the original text; a translation that strives to pass as if originally written in the target language.

Few appreciate the years of study and effort spent by translators gaining the necessary proficiency not only in one or more foreign languages but also in their own language. On top of this, translators need to spend years building up expertise in particular fields such as legal or financial translation, getting to grips with the most arcane legal terminology or becoming thoroughly familiar with IFRS or other accounting standards. It is only when this cocktail of linguistic expertise and practical know-how is mixed that there is any chance of producing a translation that will achieve the goal of producing quality.

So what is quality? We simply define it as striving for the “best possible translation” in a particular context. In practice this means ensuring the involvement of translators with a high level of experience in a particular field, whether to carry out the translation or to review the work of a less experienced colleague.

So should we decline under-priced or rushed projects? Very few people get to work under ideal conditions all the time but in the translation world there is an increasing trend towards lower prices and faster turnarounds. Both negatively impact quality. It is thus better to decline any job that won’t allow the translator to carry out the necessary review passes. A month later nobody will remember the constraints but the poor quality will be there for all to see.

We’re not asking you to buy anything, donate money or register. All we ask is that you spread the message in whatever way you can. The campaign is wholly about the message, nothing else. Success is simply raising people’s awareness.


Agencies and companies displaying the Quality in Translation logo commit to:

1) Striving for the best possible translation every time
2) Only accepting assignments that allow them to strive for this goal
3) Declining assignments at prices that undercut this goal
4) Only working with professional translators translating into their native language
5) Only handing assignments to translators specialised in the particular field
6) Constantly striving to improve translators through constructive feedback and ongoing training
7) Actively raising the awareness of buyers about the goals of the “Quality in Translation” campaign

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