English title: Improving Translation Quality
Author: Kevin Morrissey
Price: 2400 yen plus tax (as of December 2018)
First published in 2005, and available in bricks-and-mortar bookstores and online, this very useful book is now in its sixth printing. I thought I’d take a look at it after the recent publication of the JTF翻訳品質評価ガイドライン.
Improving Translation Quality is a 207-page, fully-bilingual Japanese-English book aimed at readers who are seeking to improve the quality of their own Japanese-English translations of technical documents, translation managers, editors, Japanese technical writers, and others who may be involved in teaching or evaluating translations. Hundreds of practice examples are provided for the reader to test their understanding.
The book is divided into five chapters as follows.
Chapter 1. Introduction to Improving Translation Quality
Who affects translation quality and how can they improve it?
Chapter 2. Common Problems: Grammar Errors, Spelling Errors, and Unnatural English
This chapter covers the most common problems (about 50%) encountered in evaluations of translation quality, accounting for the first 8 of the 27 error codes in the Translation Evaluation System (TES) developed by Hitachi Technical Communications Inc. (missing articles, subject-verb disagreement, singular/plural mismatch, incorrect or unnecessary prepositions, punctuation errors, other grammar errors, spelling errors, and unnatural English). Includes plenty of practice examples.
Chapter 3. Common Problems: Ignored Technical Writing Rules
The rules for English technical writing that are often ignored by translators and covers the remaining 20 error codes of the TES (including tautologies and redundancies, complete sentences, short sentences, pronouns, modifiers, clarity, layout problems, and use of recommended dictionaries and style guides). Includes plenty of practice examples.
Chapter 4. Using TES to Evaluate Translation Quality.
This chapter describes how to use the TES to evaluate translation quality and includes sample evaluation forms and texts, and advice on grading.
Chapter 5. Writing Japanese Documents to Improve the English
The brief final chapter focuses on tips for ensuring that the source Japanese text follows technical writing rules that afford the best opportunity for improving the quality of the translated English output.
Two appendices provide data for frequencies of errors in Japanese-English technical translations, and answers to the practice examples in the book.
The JTF quality evaluation system mentioned above has a similar number of error categories which match those of the TES in many areas: accuracy (includes mistranslation, omission, addition, and other errors); fluency (includes typography, spelling, grammar, usage error, collocation error, grammatical register, inconsistency, ambiguity, and unintelligibility); terminology (inconsistency versus termbase or domain, inconsistent use of terminology); style (includes company versus third-party style and register); locale convention (includes number, date, time, currency, measurement, and address formats); design (includes overall design, local formatting, length, truncation/text expansion, missing text, markup, and graphics and tables); and verity (includes locale-specific content, end-user suitability, and legal requirements).
Summary: Though slightly dated, an excellent bilingual reference that will be beneficial to its target audience. Copious practice examples with answers make it a practical resource for self-guided learning. Translators in the early stages of their careers in Japanese-English technical translation will find this book very useful for improving the quality of their work.
December 2, 2018