Translator’s self-evaluation

Translator’s self-evaluation

U.S. Government agency developed the following evaluation scheme few years ago. It helps in an honest and private evaluation of your skills. There’s nothing bad in admitting that you still need to develop. On the contrary, performing this translator’s self-evaluation and realising where you stand can help you in drawing a professional development plan!

Morry Sofer advises: “If you are below Level 2+, you need to keep practicing. If you are at Level 3 or higher, you can start doing some professional translating. After level 4 you are ready for some serious translating, and at Level 5 you can start making a living as a translator.”

Level 0

You have no functional ability to translate the language. You don’t understand the source text.

Level 1

You can translate familiar conversations or simple language. Mistranslations are common. In target language, you write in simple sentences, making errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation, but your translation is generally understandable.

Level 2

You are skilled enough to translate simple written text. You can translate uncomplicated texts on familiar subjects. You still commit some mistranslations and minor errors in spelling and punctuation.

Level 3

You are able to translate texts on unfamiliar subjects. Your translating ability doesn’t depend on your knowledge on a subject. Mistranslations are rare.

Level 4

You are able to translate fluently and accurately all styles and forms. You can translate precise and extensive vocabulary. You understand almost all sociolinguistic and cultural references.

Level 5

Congratulations! You can translate extremely difficult and abstract texts (legal, technical, etc), as well as colloquial texts and literary prose. You are able to translate a wide variety of vocabulary and idioms, colloquialisms, slang and cultural references. You are able to understand how natives think as they produce a text. Your target texts are as proficient as if written by an educated native.

I hope that you all scored 5. More descriptions available in Sofer’s book “The Translator’s Handbook”.

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