Call for papers: Translator Quality—Translation Quality: Empirical Approaches to Assessment and Evaluation

Measuring translation quality, and thus translator quality, remains a thorny and unsatisfactorily resolved, yet fundamental problem in translation studies. Various models exist for measuring the translation product (e.g., ATA, ITI, MQM, SICAL), along with pedagogical models for feedback to translation learners or professionals on product and/or process (e.g., House 1997, Reiß 2000, Williams 2004). Further, as machine translation in conjunction with human post-editing continues to rise, it is increasingly important to study reliable automatic metrics to measure both machine (and human) translation quality along with post-editing quality. The trade-off between effort and quality is also significant, little understood, but important to measure. However, no broad consensus exists on how to measure translator or translation quality for either human or machine translation.  To comprehensively explore this issue, it is necessary to include various product-based and process-based factors, and to distinguish between formative/summative assessment for pedagogical purposes, assessment for certification, translation quality measurement for commercial purposes, etc. We propose a thematic issue exploring these issues of translator/translation/post-editing quality, assessment and evaluation from an empirical perspective.

This volume, particularly through an emphasis on empirical studies, will build on previous literature to bring new insights and advances. For example, contributions will expand on existing models (as does House 2015), propose new models (as did Williams 2004), propose scoring models (similar to Segers & van de Poel 2007) or adapt TQA to innovative applications.

Contributions should address translator/translation/post-editing quality in a broad sense from an empirical perspective using data-driven analyses and interpretations. Assessments of business processes related to the process of producing a translation, however, are beyond the scope of this volume, except where they specifically address the quality of the translation per se.

Research questions that would be addressed in this volume include:

  • How do translation processes affect translation quality?
  • What factors cause variation in translation product quality?
  • How do translation quality measurement (TQM) systems influence translation or translator quality?
  • What kinds of feedback positively or negatively affect translator/translation quality?
  • What factors (e.g., topic area, language complexity, experience, etc.) cause variation in translation quality within the output of a single translator?
  • How does machine translation followed by human post-editing influence the quality of the final translation product?
  • What metrics can quantify the trade-off between quality and effort, and can their study be used to improve productivity and utility?
  • In what ways does post-editor feedback to adaptive machine translation systems influence their quality?
  • What is the relationship between language proficiency (reading source/writing target) and translation quality?
  • What features of the source text significantly influence human or machine translation/post-editing quality?
  • Do source text features differentially influence human and machine translation/post-editing quality?
  • Case studies applying a translation quality measurement system to a particular problem
  • Statistical analyses of quality measurement systems


House, Juliane. 1997. Translation Quality Assessment: A Model Revisited. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.

House, Juliane. 2015. Translation Quality Assessment: Past and Present. London/New York: Routledge.

Reiss, Katharina. 2000. Translation Criticism, the Potentials and Limitations: Categories and Criteria for Translation Quality Assessment. Trans. Erroll F. Rhodes. Manchester, U.K.: St. Jerome Pub.

Segers, Winibert, and Chris van de Poel, eds. 2010. Tolk- en Vertaalcompetentie. Onderwijs- en Toetsvormen [Translation and Interpreting Competence. Teaching and Assessment Methods]. Leuven: Acco.

Williams, Malcolm. 2004. Translation Quality Assessment: An Argumentation-Centred Approach. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

Practical information and deadlines

Proposals: abstracts of approximately 500 words, including some relevant bibliography, should be submitted by 1st of June 2016.  Please send your proposals to both Dr. Geoffrey S. Koby ( and Dr. Isabel Lacruz (

Acceptance of proposals: 1st of July 2016

Submission of articles: 1st of December 2016

Acceptance of articles: 28th of February  2017

Publication: November-December 2017