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Posted by Joan Phaup

“Please leave your values at the front desk.” This message, seen in a Paris hotel elevator, is among the many amusing translations that appear on signs and posters around the world.

We all chuckle over linguistic blunders like this one, but mistakes in translation, localization and adaptation are no laughing matter when delivering assessments to multilingual and multicultural audiences.

On Thursday, February 16, we will host a web seminar addressing this important subject: Assessment Translation, Localization and Adaptation: Expanding the Reach of your Testing Program

Sue Orchard

You can choose between two sessions:

  • In the UK at 2 p.m. GMT
  • In the US at 12 noon Eastern Time

The key presenter will be Sue Orchard, managing director and founder of Comms Multilingual, a professional translation services firm specializing in complex translation projects including test, assessment and exam content.

Sue will explain what it takes to ensure an assessment is adapted appropriately for target languages and cultures — something increasingly important as globalization continues to remove geographic barriers and open new economic opportunities. The session will also include some information about how Questionmark technologies can be used to aid translation management and multilingual assessment delivery.

I asked Sue for some details about her topic and what people can expect from the web seminar:

What will you cover during the presentation?

Translation, Localization and Adaptation is a bit of a mouthful so I will shorten it to TLA. In my presentation, I will be looking at the steps and processes which are necessary to ensure a successful TLA project. I will be examining some of the pitfalls and challenges with a TLA project and looking at ways to overcome these.

What are some of those pitfalls?

I think that the major issue is that TLA projects are usually an afterthought. People spend a lot of time and effort getting things right in the original language and then don’t allow enough time for the TLA element. Also, I think that it is very important that people think about future language versions when putting together the material in the original language.

Things such as text expansion, when materials are translated into languages such as Spanish and French, really need to be taken into account. French and Spanish can take up to 30% more space than an original English text, for example. Additionally, people need to think about how suitable their material is for translation. Are there a lot of items that can’t just be simply translated, but which must be adapted and localized first?

Is there one key piece of advice you give to organizations running multilingual assessments?

There are two key words that I would use: Preparation and Planning.

So many times the translation element of a project is an afterthought and everything has to be really rushed. This is when problems will occur. If you think about the amount of time it has taken to prepare and put together the original test, exam or assessment in the original language, then you can’t expect to have a successful translation project if you try to do things at the last minute. It is very important to allow enough time to ensure a successful outcome.

What do you hope your listeners will take away from your presentation?

I hope to give participants a guide to best practice when it comes to TLA projects. After my presentation, I hope that people will feel happier and more confident when it comes to translation projects and that they will know what needs to be done to ensure a successful TLA project.
For more details and free registration, choose one of links above