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The Journal of Specialised Translation

Issue 8 - July 2007

observations since people may report ideals rather than realities or may not be very self-observant.

In this article, I look at a selection of reports in English about empirical studies. I won’t be considering the validity of the methods employed or the validity of the authors’ interpretations of their observations. Rather I shall take their findings and conclusions at face value and relate them to practical issues in revision and quality control work.

1. Other-revision

The revision of the work of other translators may become increasingly important, at least in Europe, with the publication in 2006 of the new standard EN 15038 Translation services – Service requirements. If this standard is widely taken up, then questions about the nature of other- revision will come more sharply into focus.

Unilingual revising The standard specifically states that in addition to “checking” by the translator (i.e. self-revising), “the Translation Service Provider shall ensure that the translation is revised. The reviser shall be a person other than the translator…” (section 5.4.3). More specifically, the standard states that “The reviser shall examine the translation for its suitability for purpose. This shall include, as required by the project, comparison of the source and target texts for terminology consistency, register and style.” This statement is vague about the circumstances (“as required by the project”) under which the check must be comparative (compare translation with source) rather than unilingual (read translation only, either without looking at the source, or just referring to it occasionally). Two empirical studies of other-revision are concerned with the question of unilingual revising, a crucial practical matter since comparative revision is much more time-consuming: there is twice as much text to read, and it takes time to consider whether the translation adequately reflects the meaning of the source text.

1. Brunette, Louise, C. Gagnon and J. Hine (2005). “The GREVIS project: revise or court calamity.” Across Languages and Cultures 6(1): 29-45.

This study compared the result of unilingual revision of 5 French- English texts (5,000 words) and 18 English-French texts (14,000 words) in a variety of genres with the results of comparative revision of the same translations by the same subjects a few days earlier. The subjects were 14 professional translators working into their L1. Their revisions were analysed by a group of university instructors and professional translator/revisers, who worked both separately and


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