Further evidence for a functionalist approach to translation quality evaluation

Sonia Colina

Colina (2008) proposes a componential-functionalist approach to translation quality evaluation and reports on the results of a pilot test of a tool designed according to that approach. The results show good inter-rater reliability and justify further testing. The current article presents an experiment designed to test the approach and tool. Data was collected during two rounds of testing. A total of 30 raters, consisting of Spanish, Chinese and Russian translators and teachers, were asked to rate 4–5 translated texts (depending on the language). Results show that the tool exhibits good inter-rater reliability for all language groups and texts except Russian and suggest that the low reliability of the Russian raters’ scores is unrelated to the tool itself. The findings are in line with those of Colina (2008).

Table of contents

Recent US federal mandates (e.g. White House Executive Order #13166), requiring health care providers who are recipients of federal funds to provide language translation and interpretation for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP), have brought the long-standing issue of translation quality to a wider audience of health care professionals (e.g. managers, decision makers, industry stakeholders, private foundations), who generally feel unprepared to address the topic. A striking example of how challenging quality evaluation can be for health care organizations is illustrated by the experience of Hablamos Juntos, an initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop practical solutions to language barriers to health care.

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