Giving Constructive and Respectful Feedback

Giving Constructive and Respectful Feedback

General Guidelines

Our vision for quality and feedback is community-driven. Our translator community is a global network of like-minded professionals who volunteer their time and skill to further TWB’s mission. You can read more about it in the quality section of our forum.

It is important to provide constructive feedback on other people’s work. As a TWB reviser or reviewer, you should provide feedback to fellow volunteers, your peers, in a way that appreciates and respects their efforts. A great test to judge if your feedback is appropriate is to imagine how you would feel if you received that same feedback.

We understand that giving and receiving feedback is not easy. Here are some tips to increase the value of your feedback:

  • Provide fact-based and objective feedback.
  • Provide a couple of examples (not a list) of the errors you spot for each category (see below). Limit your comments to the most important issues.
  • Start and end with positive feedback. This helps translators understand their strengths, and what they need to work on.
  • Use friendly and professional language, while keeping a neutral tone. Remember that you are addressing fellow translators or future ones. Never use uppercase or exclamation points for emphasis.

What to look for

There are five error categories to consider when revising. Potential issues are scored in penalty points according to their severity. Make sure to check the TWB error typology section to learn more about our error typology.

If you spot a great job, don’t be shy and give kudos! Giving positive feedback to your peers is as important as pointing to issues or needs for improvement.

Constructive Wording and Terminology

The following table gives examples of constructive feedback, as well as phrasing you should avoid when giving feedback.

Inaccurate, incorrect Bad, terrible, weird
Mistranslated Doesn’t have enough knowledge of the source/target language
This translator needs more training/growth This is not a translator/a professional
The text is not natural, doesn’t follow the practice of the target language Looks like machine translation, translated by machine!, a machine would’ve done a better job
Needed heavy revision, needed a second reading Fail, failure, sloppy, careless

Constructive feedback example 1:

The translation is accurate and flows naturally. There were a couple of mistakes related to the use of abbreviations (for example, “ITS” stands for “infecciones de transmisión sexual” and not “enfermedades de transmisión sexual”).

Compare to this example of subjective and nonspecific feedback:

Translation was OK, although there were a couple of careless mistakes related to the use of abbreviations.

Constructive feedback example 2:

The translator has mistranslated the text in several instances (see: translated the word “devant”, “in the face of”, as “avant”, “before”). The translation would have benefitted from a second careful reading to avoid typos such as “not (t)he first”, “annd”, etc.

Compare to this example of subjective and nonspecific feedback:

The writer doesn’t appear to understand either the source or the target language and moreover, it’s SLOPPY work that wasn’t checked thoroughly!!!

Remember: There is always room for improvement! It is normal for a translation to go through some changes at the revision stage.

:thought_balloon: Do you have comments or suggestions on this? Join the discussion happening here! :speech_balloon:


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