Measuring translation quality

Measuring translation quality

The objective of translation is to guarantee that the original text and target text transmit an identical message; a correct translation is a translation free of errors and it can be evaluated by two criteria: fidelity and transparency.

Fidelity is the point to which the translation accurately provides the meaning of the source text, without adding to it or subtracting from it, and without increasing or deteriorating any part of the meaning

Transparency is the point to which the translation seems to have originally been written in the target language (for a native speaker of that language), and fits the language's grammar, syntax and idiomatic rules.


The criteria used to judge the fidelity of a translation diverge according to the subject, the exactitude of the original contents, the type, function and use of the text, its literary virtues, its social or historical context, and so forth.

Judging translation's transparency can be really simple: an unidiomatic translation "sounds incorrect," and in the word-for-word translation, produced by many machine-translation systems, often results a translation without sense.

However, in some contexts a translator would attempt to make a rigorous translation. For example, translators in the literary translation often remain to the source as much as possible.