Giving Constructive and Respectful Feedback

Giving Constructive and Respectful Feedback

General Guidelines

TWB’s 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 here.

Providing constructive feedback on other people’s work is important. As a TWB reviser or reviewer, you have to 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 of the errors you spot for each category (see below).
  • Limit your comments to the most important issues. A few examples are enough to give feedback and not discourage the translator. Do not compile "lists of errors”
  • Start and end with positive feedback. This helps translators understand their strengths, and what they need to work on.
  • Use friendly and professional language. Remember that you are addressing fellow translators or future ones. Avoid using upper case for emphasis.

What to look for

There are five error categories to consider when revising. You can read about TWB Quality Categories in this thread.

Constructive Wording and Terminology

The following table gives examples of constructive feedback terminology, as well as terminology to be avoided.

Inaccurate, incorrect Bad, terrible, weird
Mistranslated, Doesn’t have enough knowledge of the SL/TL
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 TL Looks like MT, 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.