Passing as “one of them”: the client Turing test

Thoughts On Translation

During Speaking of Translation’s recent interview with Chris Durban (recording online for free, at that link), Chris mentioned an excellent quality metric for specialized translators: the 10-minute Turing test. A Turing test involves a human attempting to determine if he/she is having a discussion with a computer or with another human. For example, many of you probably remember the ELIZA program, which simulated a psychiatric consultation and was often considered as having passed the Turing test. And as a complete aside, if you’re interested in Alan Turing and his era, you really have to read Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, often described as “the ultimate geek novel.”

But back to Chris’ advice. In order to pass the translation client Turing test, she advises that we translators should be able to pass as professionals in our field(s) of specialization for at least ten minutes. For example if you’re a medical translator…

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