Translation testing and evaluation: A study on methods and needs

Authors

  • Mehmet Şahin Izmir University of Economics
  • Nilgün Dungan Izmir University of Economics

Keywords:

translation assessment, translation technologies, post-editing, translator training

Abstract

The use of technology in the translation process has already become a common practice. Translation evaluation in most training programs in Turkey, however, seems to ignore the place of technology since exams are taken using printed resources only.  The current study aims at exploring students’ use of time, performance and reaction when they translate texts using different resources and in different settings, thus, seeing in which contexts students feel better and can achieve better results when tested. Nine senior translation students participated in the study. All were native speakers of Turkish and advanced-level learners of English. Each participant was given four different types of texts: technical, literary, legal, and media. Participants translated each text from English into Turkish in 40 minutes using three different ways. All translation sessions were supervised: (1) using printed resources only, (2) using online resources only, and (3) post-editing target texts produced via Google Translate. After each session, the participants completed online questionnaires. The analysis of the questionnaires and evaluations of the translations suggest that novice translators tend to prefer working in an electronic environment using Internet resources. The novice translators did not seem to be very comfortable with post-editing machine translation outputs, especially for literary texts.  No major differences, in terms of their scores and use of time, are observed across the three sessions, and individual preferences of the students and the perceived difficulty level of the texts seem to have more effect on the time use and performance. The answers to the survey questions also suggest that exam settings for the translation courses need to be customized so that Internet resources and other translation tools can be integrated.

Author Biographies

  • Mehmet Şahin, Izmir University of Economics
    Mehmet Şahin completed his undergraduate studies in the Department of Translation and Interpretation at Bilkent University. He received his master's degree at the same university in the field of Teacher Education. He received his PhD degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a minor in MA in Applied Linguistics/TESOL at Iowa State University. His research studies during his doctoral studies were mainly on computer-assisted language learning and language technologies. Mehmet Şahin has been working as an assistant professor of translation and interpreting at Izmir University of Economics since 2008 and his research interests include translation studies, translation and interpreting technologies, machine translation and translator and interpreter training.
  • Nilgün Dungan, Izmir University of Economics

    Nilgun Dungan is a translator and lecturer of translation and interpreting at Izmir University of Economics. She studied English Language and Literature and received her master’s degree in Management. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Translation Studies. She is a member of the Cunda Workshop of Translators of Turkish Literature and translates contemporary Turkish fiction and poetry into English.

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Published

2014-07-18