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CIUTI-Forum 2008

Enhancing Translation Quality: Ways, Means, Methods

Edited By Martin Forstner, Hannelore Lee-Jahnke and Peter A. Schmitt

Quality assurance has been a major issue in Higher Education discourse during the past decade. Evaluations, accreditations and assessments have almost become standard procedures within the framework of translation studies. This quest for quality has not only to integrate market needs and new market requirements, but also novel strategies in training – whereby training learners and trainers has to be given equal attention.
Translation quality has become a key issue in the interlinguistic and intercultural communication market as well as in the translator education environment. It has to be looked upon as a multifaceted issue to which all major players have to contribute: institutes of higher education, labor market and individual translators.
Within the framework of the CIUTI FORUM 2008, the speakers emphasized the different aspects of quality from the point of view of the trainer, the professional and the market. This volume tries to highlight all those quality issues from an international, interdisciplinary and multifaceted perspective.


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The Quest for Quality: Perceptions and Realities Brian FOX 23


23 The Quest for Quality: Perceptions and Realities* Brian FOX Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen, Esteemed colleagues, As you will readily agree I’m sure, a definition of quality is a highly elusive beast, particularly for language-based professions. More- over, if we did find a definition it would probably be counter- productive. We all know that management indicators – a neces- sary and inevitable ‘translation’ of the definition – can all too often conceal more than they reveal. Not for nothing did Winston Churchill state that there are three kinds of lies: “lies, damned lies and statistics!” You will already have understood that I will not even attempt to produce a definition – other than the one implicit in the title of my presentation. Quality is a quest, meaning that it is, as Aristotle said, not an act but a habit of life. Moreover, quality may be per- ceived very differently according to one’s position or role. Taking an example from music, a neutral territory, one often sees refer- ences to a “musician’s musician”. This is someone who is highly respected by other musicians, but generally less so by public or the critics. Who is to judge? In 1992, in what now appears to have been a very prescient article, the Financial Times reported that Japan’s success was per- ceived (by foreigners) as due to the Japanese squirrelling away * Detailed feedback on the survey is available at: . 24 their money while the rest of the world had a good time. It went on to say...

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