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!

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