Survey results: Participants

Participants

184 people clicked on the link

164 filled in at least the first few questions

Most translators’ clients are based in the Netherlands, this is probably due to the fact that my name is known on the Dutch Facebook group “Vertalerskoffiehoek”. Even though I put a post about my survey on many translator Facebookgroups, I think this shows how much goodwill goes into filling in a Survey; people do it more readily for someone that they know (even if it is just a little).

English is of course a very big working language for translators, no surprises there. The large number of translators working into Dutch probably has the same explanation as in the graph above.

Many “fresh” translators. This could be due to the fact that there are a lot of people who start out in the translation business only to decide later on that it is not for them, and/or to the fact that beginning translators turn to Facebook and online forums more often. Translators who have many years experience are also older on average and therefore might have a smaller internet presence.

Translators were asked to fill in for every area if they did this never, sometimes or often. To get numerical results I scaled never as 0, sometimes as 1 and often as 2.

Translators had the option under “other” to fill in their area of expertise. Some of these answers showed me that I had missed some important areas (subtitling and arts). Some others I feel would have fit in with the areas I had mentioned in the survey, but I should have stipulated that. Looking at the additions translators made, I think I should have called “science” “science/ education”, “legal” should have been “legal/government” and “marketing” should have been “marketing/tourism”. Some translators (though not many) wrote things in the “other” section that I felt did fit in with the categories I had given, such as “HR” (which I think fits under business) and “fashion” (which I would put under marketing).

There was also somebody who specialised in philately, which I had to look up: it is “the collection and study of postage stamps”. Great to know and another reason I should have added the category “culture/history/arts”.

Based on this survey I would say that good categories for translator specialisations are:

Books (fiction and non-fiction)

Science/education

Culture/ history/ arts

Medical

Legal/ government

Technical

Software/ games/ apps

Subtitling

Marketing/tourism

Business/ financial

Market research/ surveys

Other

Of course, this is just my conclusion based on this one survey. Proz, for example, has the following division:

Tech/Engineering

Medical

Social sciences

Law/Patents

Science

Bus/Financial

Marketing

Art/Literary

Other

So Proz does not differentiate between books and other types of text, which makes sense because they are looking at the type of language you are good at translating. I was looking at the type of work translators do, and novel translators have a very different business life from marketing translators.

I have to wonder at the law/patents combination, though. A friend of mine does patents and they are super technical. There’s some legal language in there but it’s always the same, the new language is the description of the machine or drug or whatever is being patented…

Translators and feedback

If you work in the translation business, I need your help!

Questionnaire for professional translators

Questionnaire for translation students

Questionnaire for translation teachers

Questionnaire for professional translation editors

Questionnaire for project managers

Would you like to participate in my study and get feedback on a translation?  Click this link to leave your email address.
You will be asked to translate a short text of about 200 words, and to (anonymously) check someone else’s translation and give feedback.

If you have more than one role within the world of translation, you are welcome to fill in more than one questionnaire. But don’t worry, I won’t get angry if you only do one of them 😉

My research is about feedback, not about assessment (and it hurts my brain).

Assessment of a translation is deciding how good a translation is, which parts of a translation could have been better and which parts are just plain wrong.

Feedback is the communication of (part of) the assessment to the original translator.

My research is about feedback, and not about assessment.

This is a really important distinction to make because there is so much to say about assessment of a translation. When is a translation “wrong”? When is a translation “ugly”? Who decides? What is “personal preference” and what is “an actual mistake”? Books and books have been written about the subject, and I do not think we are anywhere near a consensus.

I am not looking at that. I am looking at feedback. How often is it given to translators? Who gives it? Do translators avoid it or go looking for it? Is it helpful? What’s the best way of communicating feedback? How does feedback make translators feel?

But making the distinction between feedback and assessment is not always easy. When I ask that last question, “How does feedback make translators feel?”, for example, the assessment part rears up its head again, because feedback makes people feel bad if they feel the assessment was not fair, or wasn’t competently carried out. So for that part of my research, assessment does have something to do with it. I can’t avoid it. And that’s when sometimes my brain starts to hurt, because I have to be very careful to keep the two separate, and sometimes I’m not sure myself where assessment ends and feedback starts. But I’m doing my best!

What do you think? Where does assessment end and feedback start? Is the distinction even useful? Let me know in the comments!

What literature have I found already?

Below you will find a long list of names of rather specialist articles and books that I have been reading for my master’s thesis.

I am posting this list because I am hoping to find a specialist out there who knows a lot about this very subject who will look at this list and say “Oh no, you’ve completely missed this one very important piece of literature! I must tell you about it immediately!”

If you are that specialist, do please let me know your suggestions. You can post a comment to this post, or email me on H.M.K.Newton (at) students.uu.nl.

If you are not that specialist, then I suggest you skip this post. It is very long and boring 🙂

Literature about feedback in a translator context (a rare beast)

  • ‘No News Is Good News?’ The Role of Feedback in the Virtual-Team-Style Translation Production Network (Sakamoto, 2017) – a small qualitative study looking at feedback between project managers and freelance translators
  • Accomplishment in the multitude of counsellors: Peer feedback in translation training (Wang & Han, 2013) – probably the study that is most similar to what I am planning
  • Beyond error marking: Written corrective feedback for a dialogic pedagogy in translator training (Washbourne, 2014) – an overview of what written corrective feedback, feedback levels and feedback strategies are, and a plea for more use of dialogic feedback in translation studies (i.e. teachers should enter into a (written) conversation with their students on the feedback they have given them, so that the students can ask for elaboration or explain their choices, etc)
  • Current trends on MA translation courses in the UK: changing assessment practices on core translation modules (Huertas Barros & Vine, 2018a) – research into assessment practices on core translation modules of MA Translation courses offered in the UK. This article mentions feedback but does not go into it in depth, as it is more focused on summative assessment.
  • Online Peer Feedback as a Strategy to Improve Students’ Translation Skills (Sujannah, 2017) – an overview of the benefits of online peer feedback
  • Peer-feedback as a translation training tool in web-based communication (Flanagan & Heine, 2015) – discusses peer-feedback and its implementation as a translation training tool in the context of web-based communication
  • New Perspectives in Assessment in Translator Training (The Interpreter and Translator Trainer: Vol 12, No 1) (Huertas Barros & Vine, 2018b) – a special issue of The Interpreter and Translator Trainer that looks at assessment, but unfortunately not at all at feedback.
  • The feedback culture in translator education: A comparative exploration of two distinct university translation programs (Alfayyadh, 2016) – a dissertation looking at how feedback is given at two translation degrees, one Saudi Arabia and one in the USA.
  • Towards Effective Feedback to Translation Students: Empowering Through Group Revision and Evaluation (Pietrzak, 2014) – an overview of the most popular ways of giving feedback , and a plea for more and better use of feedback in translation education

Literature about (peer) feedback in education (but not within translator context)

  • Effective peer assessment processes: Research findings and future directions (van Zundert, Sluijsmans, & van Merriënboer, 2010) – a literature review on peer assessment
  • Effects of Feedback in a Computer-Based Learning Environment on Students’ Learning Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis (Van der Kleij, Feskens, & Eggen, 2015) – it’s all there in the title, really
  • Improving the effectiveness of peer feedback for learning (Gielen, Peeters, Dochy, Onghena, & Struyven, 2010) – justification for is more important than accuracy of peer feedback
  • Making Sense of Assessment Feedback in Higher Education (Evans, 2013) – a literature review on feedback in higher education
  • Peer feedback on academic writing: undergraduate students’ peer feedback role, peer feedback perceptions and essay performance (Huisman, Saab, van Driel, & van den Broek, 2018)
  • Promoting effective teacher-feedback: From theory to practice through a multiple component trajectory for professional development (Voerman, Meijer, Korthagen, & Simons, 2015)
  • The anonymous reviewer : the relationship between perceived expertise and the perceptions of peer feedback in higher education (Dijks, Brummer, & Kostons, 2018)
  • The development of student feedback literacy: enabling uptake of feedback (Carless & Boud, 2018)
  • The nature of feedback: How different types of peer feedback affect writing performance (Nelson & Schunn, 2009)
  • The Power of Feedback (Hattie & Timperley, 2007) – the seminal article on feedback in education
  • Why does intrinsic motivation decline following negative feedback? The mediating role of ability self-concept and its moderation by goal orientations (Weidinger, Spinath, & Steinmayr, 2016)

Literature about quality assessment of translations (which is not what I am looking at. I am adding the titles here to let people know they do not need to suggest them ;-))

  • Assessment In Translation Studies: Research Needs (Martínez Melis & Hurtado Albir, 2001)
  • Quality Assessment in School vs. Professional Translation (Kinga, 1996)
  • Translation Quality Assessment Past and Present (House, 2015)

Literature about translators/ translation studies in general (which for me counts as background information)

  • Occupation or profession: A survey of the translators’ world (Katan, 2010) – Results of a survey on translator and interpreter  perceptions of their working world, their mindset or weltanshaung, and the impact of Translation studies and university training on that world.
  • The project manager and virtual translation teams: Critical factors (Rodríguez-Castro, 2013) – looks at the “new world” of virtual translation teams where everyone is at home behind their own computer rather than sitting in an office together
  • Training the Trainers: Towards a Description of Translator Trainer Competence and Training Needs Analysis (Kelly, 2008)

And here’s the alphabetical list of references, in beautiful APA format

Alfayyadh, H. M. (2016). The feedback culture in translator education: A comparative exploration of two distinct university translation programs. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, (May), 313. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1792072521

Carless, D., & Boud, D. (2018). The development of student feedback literacy: enabling uptake of feedback. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 2938(May), 1315–1325. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2018.1463354

Dijks, M. A., Brummer, L., & Kostons, D. (2018). The anonymous reviewer : the relationship between perceived expertise and the perceptions of peer feedback in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2018.1447645

Evans, C. (2013). Making Sense of Assessment Feedback in Higher Education. Review of Educational Research, 83(1), 70–120. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654312474350

Flanagan, M., & Heine, C. (2015). Peer-feedback as a translation training tool in web-based communication. Hermes (Denmark), (54), 115–136.

Gielen, S., Peeters, E., Dochy, F., Onghena, P., & Struyven, K. (2010). Improving the effectiveness of peer feedback for learning. Learning and Instruction, 20(4), 304–315. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.08.007

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. [References]. Review of Educational Research, .77(1), 16–7. https://doi.org/10.3102/003465430298487

House, J. (2015). Translation Quality Assessment Past and Present. New York: Routledge.

Huertas Barros, E., & Vine, J. (2018a). Current trends on MA translation courses in the UK: changing assessment practices on core translation modules. Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 12(1), 5–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750399X.2017.1400365

Huertas Barros, E., & Vine, J. (2018b). Introduction. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 12(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750399X.2018.1428031

Huisman, B., Saab, N., van Driel, J., & van den Broek, P. (2018). Peer feedback on academic writing: undergraduate students’ peer feedback role, peer feedback perceptions and essay performance. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(6), 955–968. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2018.1424318

Katan, D. (2010). Occupation or profession: A survey of the translators’ world. Translation and Interpreting Studies, 4(2), 187–209. https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.4.2.04kat

Kelly, D. (2008). Training the Trainers: Towards a Description of Translator Trainer Competence and Training Needs Analysis. TTR: Traduction, Terminologie, Rédaction, 21(1), 99. https://doi.org/10.7202/029688ar

Kinga, K. (1996). Quality Assessment in School vs Professional Translation To. In C. Dollerup & V. Appel (Eds.), Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3 (pp. 197–207). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmgm.2005.11.005

Martínez Melis, N., & Hurtado Albir, A. (2001). Assessment In Translation Studies: Research Needs. Evaluation: Parameters, Methods, Pedagogical Aspects, 46(2), 272–287. https://doi.org/10.7202/003624ar

Nelson, M. M., & Schunn, C. D. (2009). The nature of feedback: How different types of peer feedback affect writing performance. Instructional Science, 37(4), 375–401. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-008-9053-x

Pietrzak, P. (2014). Towards Effective Feedback to Translation Students: Empowering Through Group Revision and Evaluation. InTRAlinea Special Issue: Challenges in Translation Pedagogy, 1–6. https://doi.org/http://www.intralinea.org/archive/article/2095 inTRAlinea

Rodríguez-Castro, M. (2013). The project manager and virtual translation teams: Critical factors. Translation Spaces, 2(2013), 37–62. https://doi.org/10.1075/ts.2.03rod

Sakamoto, A. (2017). ‘No News Is Good News?’ The Role of Feedback in the Virtual-Team-Style Translation Production Network. Translation Spaces, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1075/ts.6.2.08sak

Sujannah, W. D. (2017). Online Peer Feedback as a Strategy to Improve Students’ Translation Skills. Jurnal Pendidikan Humaniora, 5(4), 165–168. https://doi.org/http://journal.um.ac.id/index.php/jph

Van der Kleij, F. M., Feskens, R. C. W., & Eggen, T. J. H. M. (2015). Effects of Feedback in a Computer-Based Learning Environment on Students’ Learning Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 85(4), 475–511. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654314564881

van Zundert, M., Sluijsmans, D., & van Merriënboer, J. (2010). Effective peer assessment processes: Research findings and future directions. Learning and Instruction, 20(4), 270–279. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.08.004

Voerman, L., Meijer, P. C., Korthagen, F., & Simons, R. J. (2015). Promoting effective teacher-feedback: From theory to practice through a multiple component trajectory for professional development. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 21(8), 990–1009. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2015.1005868

Wang, K., & Han, C. (2013). Accomplishment in the multitude of counsellors: Peer feedback in translation training. Translation & Interpreting, 5(2), 62–75. https://doi.org/ti.105202.2013.a05

Washbourne, K. (2014). Beyond error marking: Written corrective feedback for a dialogic pedagogy in translator training. Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 8(2), 240–256. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750399X.2014.908554

Weidinger, A. F., Spinath, B., & Steinmayr, R. (2016). Why does intrinsic motivation decline following negative feedback? The mediating role of ability self-concept and its moderation by goal orientations. Learning and Individual Differences, 47, 117–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2016.01.003

The big translator feedback survey

Hi there! My name is Heddwen and I am doing research about peer feedback in the field of translation. At this point I am doing two things at once: I am collecting email addresses of people who would like to participate in a study where they give and receive feedback, and I am also conducting a questionnaire to gain more insight into the topic in general.

If you are a translator, or studying to be a translator, a project manager, a teacher or an editor, I need your help!

(This survey is not suitable for interpreters and subtitlers, I’m afraid.)

If you click on the link below, you can leave your email address so that I can contact you when I am ready to start the main part of my study. You will be asked to translate a short text of about 200 words, and to (anonymously) check someone else’s translation and give feedback.

Would you like to participate in my study and get feedback on a translation?

There is also a questionnaire to find out how translators and other people in the translation industry view feedback.

Questionnaire for professional translators

Questionnaire for translation students

Questionnaire for translation teachers

Questionnaire for professional translation editors

Questionnaire for project managers

Where have I posted the link to my questionnaire?

The great thing about doing research among translators is that there are a lot of groups and forums where I can disseminate my questionnaire. And I mean a LOT. Translators just love hanging out online!

I am indebted to the brilliant Erik Hansson for his amazing comprehensive list of translator Facebook groups. If you would also like this list, you can download it here (the link opens straight into a zip-file which you then need to unpack). )

24 January 2019

The League of Extraordinary Translators (Facebook)

25 January 2019

Standing Up (Facebook)

Vertalerskoffiehoek (Facebook)

29 January 2019

TranslationStudies subReddit

Proz.com professional development forum

Proz.com proofreading/editing/reviewing forum

Translatorscafe.com

ÜbersetzerInnen (Facebook)

Translators and Interpreters (Facebook)

The freelancing student (Facebook)

30 January 2019

Digital Nomad Translators (Facebook)

Translators help translators EN-DE-IT-FR-ES (Facebook)