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J2450 Translation Quality Metric

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The aim of the metric is to be “a consistent standard against which the translation quality of automotive service information can be objectively measured,

  • regardless of the source language,
  • regardless of the target language,
  • regardless of how the translation is performed--i.e., human translation or machine translation.”

This is a points based method. The more points a translation receives, the poorer the quality of the translation.

As a brief overview, the metric divides errors into seven categories, each of which is outlined comprehensively

  • Wrong Term
  • Wrong Meaning
  • Omission
  • Structural Error
  • Misspelling
  • Punctuation Error
  • Miscellaneous Error

Each category is weighted and some error categories are considered to impinge on quality more than others. Spelling Errors for example always receive fewer points than errors in the Wrong Term category.

When an error is identified as belonging to a category, the reviewer decides whether the error is serious or minor. A serious error is weighted to constitute more points than a minor error.


The metric is easy to follow, easy to implement and is an excellent step towards creating an objective, linguistic quality measure. In addition it is highly customisable and should you feel that a spelling error is more damaging to a translation than an incorrect term, it is easy to change the weighting.

The results of the metrics can then be used for benchmarking linguistic standards and serve as a basis for discussion with both clients and translation groups.

However, there are the following drawbacks:

1. The metric is meant to cover automotive service information only and is therefore not a good tool for evaluating a translation where style and voice are important issues.

2. Results for the reviews have to be collated manually and comparisons can be difficult if you are working directly from spreadsheets.

3. More guidance is needed in the metric so that reviewers are clear on what constitutes a serious and a minor error. The evaluators then need to be trained on this aspect so there is a clear and common understanding. Also, the results from our testing of the metric have shown that two error categories are not sufficient.

4. Once the points have been allocated, there is no guidance as to what constitutes a good or a bad mark. In one test of the metric we carried out, translations of the same piece of text into five different languages were sent to our in-country reviewers. After evaluation we found that the language which scored the second best in points was given a scathing review by the evaluator whereas reviewers for languages that had scored more points were, overall, happy with the translation.

The J2450 Translation Quality Metric can be purchased through the SAE internet site.

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