Assessing Translation Quality: Is It Accurate, Readable, and Acceptable?

As translation becomes more and more trending, we need to understand that when we translate a text, it is not just transferring words in a language into similar words in another language. Translation should be able to transfer the text message from the Source Language (SL) to the Target Language (TL). In order to be considered a good translation, it should be accurate, readable, and acceptable. Hereunder we will discuss those three translation quality assessment criteria.

Accuracy – meaning that the TL conveys equivalently the message and information of the SL. No addition or missing information. Keep in mind that translation is not meant to create a new text.

Readability – This is a degree to which the TL can be understood. The reader becomes the subject that determines the readability of TL. Sakri in Nababan, 1999: 63-64 states that whether the translated text is readable or not, it depends on the vocabulary and the sentence structure. If the text contains uncommon words, it might appear to be difficult to understand by the readers. According to Nababan, 1999: 63-64, there are some factors that influence the text’s readability: new words, local words, ambiguous words, strange words, incomplete words, and complex words, and the average length of the sentences.

Acceptability – The norm and culture of the target readers determine the acceptability of the Target Language. Acceptability term is used to measure how well the translation adheres to the linguistic rules and textual norms of the TL. A translation is acceptable for the target readers if it is read as an original text in TL and sounds natural.

Source: Samuel V. McDonald

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