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Translation Test

Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (ca. 2000 BCE) into Southwest Asian languages of the second millennium BCE.

translation test

In the other hand, translation is activity that have relationship with changing language, source language to target language.

Translators always risk inappropriate spill-over of source-language idiom and usage into the target-language translation. On the other hand, spill-overs have imported useful source-language claques and loanwords that have enriched the target languages. Indeed, translators have helped substantially to shape the languages into which they have translated.

A. Ways of testing a translation 

According to Larson, there exist five ways to test a translation: 

1. Comparison with the source text 
One of the main purposes of the comparison is to check for equivalence of information content. The comparison is actually a self – check; that is, it is done by the translator. Of course, it could be done by someone else who knows both languages well and knows translation principles. After checking to be sure that all of the information is there, the translator will make another comparison of source language and receptor language texts, looking for any problems. 

2. Back – translation into the source language
A second way to check a translation is by having someone else, who is bilingual in the source and receptor languages, make a back – translation of the translated text into the source language. This person takes the translation and writes out the meaning he gets from it back into source language. He should do it without having read the source text used by the translator. This back translation will let the translator know what is being communicated to this person. In translating, one uses natural and clear forms; in back – translating, literal forms are used in order to show up the structure of the translation being back – translated.

3. Comprehension checks 
Good comprehension testing is the key to a good translation. The purpose of this test is to see whether or not the translation is understood correctly by speakers of the language who have not seen the translation previously. It is designed to find out what the translation is communicating to the audience for whom it is intended. This type of test involves having people retell the content of the translation and answer questions about it. Comprehension testing is done with persons who are fluent speakers of the receptor language. These people should be ordinary people from various classes of the society. Testing should be done with young people, middle aged, and older people. It should be done with the more highly educated and with the newly literate, if the translation is intended for all.

4. Naturalness 
The purpose of naturalness tests is to see if the form of the translation is natural and the style appropriate. This testing is done by reviewers. After the reviewer has checked for clarity and naturalness, he may also check for accuracy, if he knows the source language well. He will compare the translation with the source text looking for omissions, additions, or any changes of meaning. Once again the reviewer should make careful notes for the translator.  

5. Readability testing 
The translator and tester may do readability tests. These tests are done by asking someone to read a part of the translation aloud. It should be a complete section; that is, a unit. As they read, the tester will notice any places where the reader hesitates. Also, if he stops and re –reads the sentence, this should be noted as it indicates some problem in readability.

6. Consistency checks 
As the translation comes near to completion, it is very important that consistency checks of various kinds be made. Some of these have to do with the content of the translation and others have to do with the technical details of presentation. All of those who are testing the translation should be alert for reading problems related to formatting as well as content.

B. Translation procedures, strategies and methods 

The translating procedures, as depicted by Nida (1964) are as follow:

Technical procedures: 
a. analysis of the source and target languages;
b. through study of the source language text before making attempts translate it;
c. Making judgments of the semantic and syntactic approximations. (pp. 241-45)

C. Direct Translation Techniques

Direct Translation Techniques are used when structural and conceptual elements of the source language can be transposed into the target language. Direct translation techniques include:

Borrowing is the taking of words directly from one language into another without translation.

A calque or loan translation (itself a calque of German Lehn├╝bersetzung) is a phrase borrowed from another language and translated literally word-for-word.

Literal Translation
A word-for-word translation can be used in some languages and not others dependent on the sentence structure: El equipo está trabajando para terminar el informe would translate into English as The team is working to finish the report.

D. Types of Assessment

a. A placement test
Generally the first test a student translator will sit for at university. The purpose of the placement test is to classify the level of incoming candidates to a translation or any other skill – based program. According to the results, the department may have to implement remedial or intensive courses. Placement tests are a practical way to assess the evolution in incoming students talents from one year to the next.Candidates to a translation or any other skill – based program. According to the results, the department may have to implement remedial or intensive courses. Placement tests are a practical way to assess the evolution in incoming students talents from one year to the next.

b. Diagnostic tests
Tests designed to pick out student problems before it is too late in the year or the semester to do so. A diagnostic test is given so as to facilitate the student’s learning, to encourage students to correct areas of weakness. Some progress tests may also serve a diagnostic function. 

c. Progress tests 
The most frequent tests instructors give. The objective of a progress test is to determine if the students have mastered material that has already been taught. Progress tests are most often “open book “in translation classes; and students have access to notes, databases, dictionaries, etc. Quizzes, graded homework, short projects, weekly or bi – weekly tests are all types of progress tests. 

d. Achievement tests 
Meant to determine if the student has met the course objectives. If students were placed in the correct course level, benefited from the results of diagnostic tests and progress tests, the achievement test should reaffirm their acquisition of skills necessary to advance to a further level of study. Their results should be examined closely so as to evaluate the program’s strengths and weaknesses. 

There are two further traditional types of tests: formative and summative. 

1. Formative assessment 
Takes place during the instruction period and is designed to guide instructors to object their teaching, if need be. Progress tests also fall into this category, as do diagnostic tests. Feedback from formative assessment must be communicated to the student as soon as possible. Students react more positively to formative assessment if the results are analyzed by the instructor and the teaching style or class content is altered if need be. This is called the wash back effect. Formative assessment is the ongoing process instructors and students use to gauge the success of the syllabus and to prepare for the second type of assessment, the summative. 

2. Summative assessment
Contrasts with formative assessment first of all by its purpose. The purpose of summative assessment is to attribute value, and for that reason it is often more quantitative than the qualitative formative assessment. It also occurs at the midpoint and/or end of instruction so as to determine the extent to which syllabus objectives have been met. Achievement tests, final exams, oral or written, and research projects are examples of summative assessment. Grades or marks from summative assessment often provide a basis for passing a student or for repeating a class. 

E. Testing and Evaluation in an Academic Atmosphere 

Remember that testing the class is as much a reflection of teaching as it is of the students’ knowledge. A test may evaluate the effectiveness of the instruction. Teaching should be in a way that prepares students to apply what they have learned in any situation, test or normal class work. As in the case of many university courses presently, if you are teaching with a team of teachers in what is called a "multi – section" course and are called upon to write a common exam for your students as well as the other instructors’ students, remember the following: 

1. Contribute items that have not been covered on your own class quizzes, this is not a fair evaluation of your students in comparison to the others. 
2. Consult with the other instructors in advance as to what is to be covered on the exam. 
3. Set up a common grading scale as well as the common exam. 
4. Meet and exchange papers to make sure grading is consistent. For example, ask that all your colleagues bring three papers for discussion: the highest, the average and the lowest grades. Exchange the papers and discuss objectively. 
5. You may even experiment with exchanging entire class sets of papers for truly objective grading. 

F. Case Studies of Tests for Translation Courses 

It is tempting to give a text and simply request that it be translated. If the objective in testing is to evaluate the overall ability of the student then this is an appropriate method. However, instructors may wish to test specific skills.

The hardest part of writing a test is deciding how much material can be tested within a certain time frame. When you carry out activities in class, gauge the amount of time your class needs to complete the work. 

One way to test basic knowledge on a theme is to give students terminology in the source and their equivalences in the disorder. Students are then allowed 4 minutes, or more (or less) depending on the length of the list to find the correct match. In order to test the student’s ability to apply the terminology, you may give the students sentences that must be translated within a certain time limit. 

For a higher – level course, provide two translations of the same text, or part of one, and ask students to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each. Testing will probably never be the high point of a teaching experience, but we can try to make our tests as creative as possible so that students learn both from their time in our classes and our testing sessions.

G. Conclusion 

There are five ways to test a translation: 
1. Comparison with the source language 
2. Back – translation into source language 
3. Comprehension tests 
4. Naturalness and 
5. Readability tests 
6. Consistency checks 

For testing and evaluation in the translation classroom, knowing the meaning of measurement, evaluation, reliability, and validity is of great importance. There exist different types of assessment that translation students will take during their time in university: a placement test, diagnostic tests, progress tests, and achievement tests. There are two further traditional types of tests: formative and summative. In the section of test items, there are supply or free – response items, the two alternative items, multiple choice items, dictation and dicto – comp. Assessment and grading are based on norm – referenced assessment and criteria – referenced assessment. Norm – referenced assessment judges one student’s performance based on the rest of the students in their group. It shows how the candidates are competing against each other. Criteria – referenced assessment involves evaluating whether the student can perform a test or not; so the instructors are not concerned with the comparison among students. Also the instructor assessment, self – assessment, and peer assessment are practical and useful in translation classroom. Moreover, testing and evaluation in an academic atmosphere, and case studies of tests for translation courses are two matters which should not be neglected in the translation classroom. 

Subject ........................

Find the synonym of the italic words after that translate to Indonesian language.

Mr.Basuki is a very popular mechanic in his town. When he was thirty-five years old, one of his fellows gave him a very old car as his birthday gift. The car was very dirty and rusty, but its engine was not so bad and worked well enough. Mr.Basuki was so pleased to have such an old car. He knew that the car was so antique that it could be a very precious object if he fixed and repainted it. One day he took his car out of the garage and then said to his wife, “I’m going downtown to purchase some spare parts and paint for this car.” He arrived at a silent road after a few kilometers from his house, but suddenly his car stopped. Mr.Basuki got out, opened the bonnet of the car, and checked its engine, but he didn’t discover anything wrong with it.
His head was under the bonnet for quite a long time. Then a young man ran to his car and started pulling off one of the red lights at the back. Of course, Mr.Basuki was very surprised, put his head up, stared at the young man, and shouted angrily,” What are you doing?!”
The young man answered,” You can steal the pieces at the front. I’m going to take the ones at the back.” (Adapted from Bahasa Inggris Teknologi Industri 2)


Farhady, H., Jafarpoor, A., Birjandi, p., (1995) Testing language skills from theory to practice. Tehran: SAMT.

Heaton, J. B. (1990). Classroom testing. Longman, New York.

Larson, Mildred L. ( 1984 ) . Meaning – based translation. University press of America.

Kunnan, Antony John: (2000). Studies in language testing. California State University, Los Angeles.

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