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The Journal of Specialised Translation

Issue 8 - July 2007

together to reach a consensus on the subjects’ work. It was found that comparative revision yielded a better quality final product than unilingual, not only (as one might expect) with regard to accuracy but also with regard to the readability, the linguistic correctness and the appropriateness to purpose and to readership of the revised translations. Numerical results are given for the English-to-French subjects. When working unilingually, they more often failed to make needed corrections than when working comparatively (total of 890 failures to correct versus 727 in comparative). They did manage to introduce fewer errors when working unilingually (total of 89 versus 113 in comparative), though the figure of 89 error introductions is actually more than the 81 errors they managed to correct!

From the point of view of translation practice, this result is somewhat alarming. It suggests that the less time-consuming process of unilingual re-reading is not a good idea if one wants high quality. However no practical conclusions can be drawn from a single study. More studies are needed to confirm (or, we may hope, disconfirm!) the findings of Brunette and her co-workers. At one point, the authors suggest that the subjects were not used to the unilingual method. This may explain their finding to some extent.

2. Krings, Hans (2001). Repairing Texts [edited by G.S. Koby, translated from German by G.S. Koby, G.M. Shreve, K. Mischerikow and S. Litzer]. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press.

This is a study of the post-editing (i.e. revision) of English-German, French-German and German-English machine translation output, by 52 German-speaking students in a technical translation program. The methods used were thinking aloud and video recording (a camera was trained on the piece of paper on which subjects were revising, so that they could be asked for commentary after completing the task). The book is a translation of a 1994 dissertation, and a large portion of its 636 pages is concerned with methodological issues and with extremely detailed reporting of results. Section 11.8 provides a seven-page summary.

Unilingual revision (with no access at all to the source text) is just one of many topics which Krings considers (see sections 7.3, 7.6 and 11.6). He asked some translation instructors and professional translators to rate, on a 1-5 scale, the quality of each sentence of the raw English-to-German MT output and of the unilingually revised output of each subject. The raters were not given specific criteria to use, except that in rating the revised version they were to pay special attention to whether or not it reflected the correct and complete meaning of each sentence of the source text. The average quality of


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