Quality in Translation and AGM – Ángeles Sanchez writes:

This year´s well attended AGM took place on the 22nd of June at Friends Meeting House in York. The meeting was preceded by a talk by Dr. Joanna Drugan of the University of East Anglia about Quality in Translation, where she shared with us part of the content of her book recently published, Quality in Professional Translation: Assessment and Improvement.

The day began slowly as the members of the YTI took the opportunity of registration and refreshment time to catch up and network over a cup of coffee. Dr. Drugan started her talk asking us to consider in small groups how we understand and ensure the quality of our work, taking as a reference a recent job. The groups reported a variety of answers that reflected how we approach the evaluation of our work, such as correct use of language, grammar and expression, fitness for a purpose, as well as knowing and meeting the client´s requirements and expectations.

Dr. Drugan passed to illustrate the gap between how the academia and the translation industry approach quality in translation. She talked about how academic research could help the translation industry as, at the moment, she had found no professionals who use an academic theory of quality in translation. This is because the academic models are not efficient for the industry from the point of view of the return on investment.  On the other hand, she highlighted that professional translators often don’t recognise their own quality control processes, imbedded in their practice, or for example remember that their training and experience are part of their quality control process. So, while at the moment it seems academics and professionals are asking different questions about quality, Dr. Drugan sees the whole world of translation at a very exciting point where the strengths of both the academic and the industry approach to quality are being drawn out, and leading somewhere which could be mutually beneficial.

In the final part of her presentation, Dr. Drugan split the audience in two groups and gave each group the task of evaluating one approach towards quality control and assessment available in the professional arena. These two extremes illustrate the top-down and bottom-up approaches to quality control. In a top-down model, the aim is to control quality from the outset, control processes as well as control the product. This was illustrated with the procedures of the translation department of an organisation that has in place stringent and numerous controls in the pre-translation, translation and post-translation stage, such as approved vocabulary, peer to peer reviews, or reading translations aloud. It was generally agreed that it would be almost impossible to implement such tight controls widely in the industry.

The second approach, the bottom-up approach, aims to build in processes to encourage providers and users to take control of quality themselves. To illustrate this model we took a look at a well known, international group and database of translators based online, which operates with extremely open registration criteria and little control on the quality of the job provided to the client by its members, as it allows anyone registered to tender for jobs. This model presents serious quality control issues and risks for the client.

From Dr. Drugan’s point of view, the top-down model works best in practice to control the quality of translations. In this sense, she mentioned the important role that professional bodies play as a source of information and reassurance for the client. She also emphasised the relevance of training and continuous professional development as a tool for quality assurance.

After a lively lunch where there was opportunity for more networking, the AGM took place and we learnt of the healthy state of YTI’s finances and the rapid growth in membership. We also said goodbye from their official position to two devoted and hardworking members, our Treasurer for over a decade, Gottfried Pollhammer, and an extremely active Membership Secretary, Charles Rothwell. We all wished them well with their next projects and showed our gratitude with cards and presents.

Vorsprung durch Weinseminar – Debbie Elliott writes:

On Wednesday 12th June, 20 of us pootled over to the centre of Leeds for an evening of wine tasting and German food at Behind the Town Hall. It was a homely little venue (you can even take your own CDs or an instrument to play), and we were immediately made to feel welcome by Martin, our host for the evening.

The wine tasting began with three white wines from Rhineland-Palatine: a dry Deidesheimer Hofstueck Riesling, a sauvignon blanc and a Wachenheimer Schenkenboehl Riesling (halbtrocken). We then tasted a slightly sparkling Vinho Verde (rosé) from Portugal, made from Padeiro grapes, before two powerful reds: a 2009 Spaetburgunder (Pinot Noir), with an alcohol content of 15%, and finally, an oak barrel aged 2007 Spaetburgunder from the Mosel. Martin gave us an introduction to each wine and we were encouraged to smell, taste and talk about the flavours that popped into our heads: from citrus, vanilla and pineapple to chocolate, honey, and strawberries and cream!

After the wine tasting, we each enjoyed a glass of our favourite wine with a generous helping of traditional German Bratwuerst (sausages with herbs and spices), Spaetzle (noodles), and either Rotkohl (red cabbage) or Sauerkraut. Some of us even managed a portion of Apfelstrudel with a dessert wine.

This was a really enjoyable evening, lubricated well by some interesting beverages and conversation, both of which flowed with no problem from the outset. It would be great to repeat this event next year, and as Martin’s wife is Portuguese, he said they’d be more than happy to organise an evening of Portuguese food and wine for us. Must remember to leave the car at home next time though!