Translation assessment in China and Australia: gaps and prospects

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter is intended to present an overview of practices of translation assessment (TA) for both education and accreditation purposes. Therefore, TA is defined here as a set of interconnected practices, not only involving judgements on the quality of translation as a product, but more importantly, the identification of appropriate translating standards and rationale for translation competence building.

    Given the breadth and scope of the overview, however, we narrow down our focus only on some typical assessment systems in two distinct markets: China and Australia, where, as we argue, practices of TA warrant representativeness of analysis of other markets. What is self-evident is that, on the one hand, English is the most popular foreign language in China where the official language is Chinese, and on the other, Chinese is a popular and demanding minority language in Australia, which, like UK, Canada, USA and New Zealand, is an English speaking country with inherited western values.

    Apart from the above difference in language-related characteristics between the two markets, they do have two shared features which deserve further examination. First, universities in both countries have offered translation programmes. While Master of Translation and Interpreting (MTI) programmes in Australia, just as in any other western countries, surged in the late 80s and the early 90s, they are a new phenomenon in China. Second, the two markets are governed, if not controlled to varying degrees, by their respective accreditation authorities: National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) in Australia and China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI) in China. Although the extent to which they influence the practices of TA is more than obvious, the comparison and contrast between the two systems is yet to be researched.

    The focus of our overview is therefore on the observation and interpretation of the practices of TA undertaken for both education and accreditation in the two contexts, but with a view to understanding more of how accreditation authorities influence TA, particularly in Australia. By understanding the differences between NAATI and CATTI, we may throw some light onto the current Chinese-English translation programmes widely available in the higher education sector around the world.

    The chapter consists of Literature Review, Background Information, A Case Study, and Conclusion. In Section One, the trend and practices of TA are introduced in reference to the current literature review. In Section Two, the background information of translation programmes in general and accreditation authorities in particular of the two countries are presented, so as to provide additional context for our discussions of a case study in Section Three, where we compare and contrast NAATI with CATTI in assessing their respective tests. In the final Section, we summarise the findings and project prospects in the near future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of Chinese translation
    EditorsChris Shei, Zhao-Ming Gao
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
    Number of pages23
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315675725
    ISBN (Print)9781138938267
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • translation
    • translation assessment
    • Chinese translation


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