The Case for a Holistic-Componential Approach to TQA

Résumé de la conférence prononcée par Malcolm Williams (professeur – Université d’Ottawa) le 10 mars 2011.

The relevance of, and justification for, translation quality assessment (TQA) is stronger than ever: professional translators, their clients, translation studies researchers and trainee translators all rely on TQA for different reasons. Yet whereas there is general agreement on the need for a translation to be "good," "satisfactory" or "acceptable," the definition of acceptability and of the means of determining it are matters of ongoing debate.

Many quantitative models (e.g. Sical, CTTIC, SEPT) and qualitative models (e.g. Berman, Reiss) have been proposed over the years, but such proposals are inevitably criticized on the grounds of subjectivity, arbitrariness and their reliance on "equivalence". Partly as a result of this, the descriptive-explanatory trend in translation studies has steered attention away from judgments of overall quality toward the study of discrete norms and conventions and "descriptive" quality analysis (Nord, House). 

That being said, TQA models generating overall quality assessments from a criteria-based analysis of specific translation components or traits seem to provide for the greatest validity. Drawing on these models and the principles of Educative Assessment developed by Wiggins, this paper will explore the feasibility and advantages of a holistic-componential TQA model combining assessments of macrotextual and microtextual components.