The illusion of test translations as evaluations of multilingual quality

Three reasons why Eurologos no longer does test translations

Factual inutility of 'God’s Proof’ after years of experience
Since the end of the 80s, Eurologos no longer does test translations. Why?
Fundamentally: out of respect for the client, for the seriousness of their own professionalism and for at least three technical reasons based on linguistic quality.

1 – Eurologos celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2007: what does it still have to prove?
First and foremost, a multilingual translation firm that can boast many years of experience and work on the markets (international and with two dozen offices on four continents!) no longer has anything to prove: not to have the true conditions and procedures intended to guarantee excellent (and not simply good quality) translations would be to lack respect for its future client.

2 – A test translation is never probing: it is the work of in-house translators!
A test translation is never a guarantee for the subsequent translations to be produced faced with the fatally anxious client who demands it. This is the case for at least three reasons:

a – The random instability of freelance translators
There is nothing to guarantee that the translators who perform the test will be subsequently used (especially for "monolocalised" companies, the infamous "mailboxes” who employ freelancers): freelance translators also work – among other things – for other translation agencies

b – 50 possible errors per line
The same translators can moreover make mistakes – up until their retirement – in successive translations: even the best of them run the risk of making more than 50 errors per line, with lines that are systematically highly changeable (this is the reason why Eurologos employs at least two translators and a terminologist per text, and who are in fact employed in-house by its agencies);

c – The six translation-related criteria and the acceptability of a translation
There are at least six assessment criteria which determine the level of acceptability of a translation (spelling, syntax, semantic faithfulness, terminology, geo- and socio-style, personal idiolect): no test translation can guarantee this future acceptability, whilst other conditions (see below) can!

In truth, the only circumstance under which a test translation can be meaningful is relative to the assessment of a very small unilingual and highly personalized “mailbox” or of an isolated translator.

3 – The professionalism of multilingual services companies: setting the true criteria of linguistic quality
If future clients ask for test translations, it is to attempt to “reassure themselves” of the quality of the translations to be performed. But it is up to the true professionals to inform them on the matter and to educate them, naturally, in this translatological culture which, in this case, is not their own: each has their own specialization. It is up to the supply market – as it is known – to inform and educate its own market demand!
That is why Eurologos has a website in more than twelve languages which explains translatological culture in detail. Including in its books!

Is ISO certification a guarantee of quality?

What do you think of "certifications" specific to translation, that are currently being contemplated, or which have already been approved, for example, the DIN standard in Germany?