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The Relationship Between Quality and Time

August 5, 2011 1 Comment »

Although the eternal dilemma focuses on the balance between cost and quality, the relationship between the quality of the outcome and the amount of time spent in the processing is also an important point under discussion when it comes to translation . Although it may seem more obvious in certain cases than others, I would like to expose my point of view on this respect.

We as people, in the modern world, are in a rush, especially Americans.  must be met, projects must be done, and things must be completed in in the right way and in a timely manner.   While quality and efficiency are always key and desirable in projects, it is clear that the amount of time that one spends on a translation project has a direct relation with the quality outcome.  If you have 5 hours to prepare for an exam, you might score better than if you have only 30 minutes.  This obvious analogy is true in most cases of nearly everything, including translations.

While machine translations (MT) are increasingly popular and seemingly time efficient, and do produce quick results, they often result in translation errors.  This translation method is sometimes just what a person needs to get the gist of the content.  With a simple human revision () to check for major errors and basic comprehension, a short document can be translated in a matter of hours.  This is a great option for those who are working with a tight deadline and who are not using this text for facing work.

However, more often than not, quality is a major priority.  The more time a human has for a project, the better the outcome.  Allowing for enough time is important, if possible.  The average human translator can translate an average of 2,000 to 2,500 words per day.  After translation, it’s important for the document or project to go through several polishing steps.  To reach the highest quality standards, uses three steps: translating, editing and .    The average can edit up to 5,000 words per day, and the average proofreader 10,000 words per day.  It’s important that a document goes through this three-step process to ensure consistency in the document; and if quality is a top priority, this three-step process is essential.

Often times, when translation agencies are working under tight deadlines, the translation process is split between several and is even split between multiple editors and multiple proofreaders.   As one might imagine, not everyone will translate in the same way.  This often results in inconsistencies which affects the overall quality of the document.  If a translation company has enough time to plan ahead and assign just enough translators, fewer editors and ideally one proofreader the cohesiveness will be of a much higher quality than when split into many hands for all three steps.

As expected, time has a strong correlation and impact with the level of quality. However, this is not to say that rush projects are always done poorly or that good translations cannot be done expediently, I’m simply saying that when it’s possible to dedicate more time to a project, it works in the favor of both parties.

One Response to “The Relationship Between Quality and Time”

  • Commented on August 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    […] del original de John LM) Etiquetas: calidad de traducción, calidad y tiempo, proyectos de traducción, tiempos […]