Title: Production versus workload in public translation services

Authors: Martin Karlberg

Addresses: European Commission, Eurostat, L-2920, Luxembourg

Abstract: Translation services make up a large part of the European Union public administration, and differ from other parts of said administration by having a clear and tangible output: translated text. Studying the adequate definition of this output is hence long overdue. Precisely defining the concepts of translation production and translator workload, and presenting real examples from the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission, this paper argues that distinguishing between production and workload is a prerequisite for estimating public sector productivity gains due to more efficient ways of working. It is suggested that public translation services which equate production with workload should instead start reporting actual output, as this would allow citizens to assess the value for taxpayer money rendered by these services. This paper provides public administrations offering important translation services with a method to measure translation production which ensures that efficiency gains are adequately reported as productivity increases.

Keywords: public translation services; public services; translation memory; automation; multi-lingualism; output; outsourcing; productivity; translation production; translator workload; Euramis; European Commission; European Union; public sector; performance management; value chain; public administration; value for money; taxpayer money.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPSPM.2015.067816

International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management, 2015 Vol.2 No.3, pp.273 - 282

Published online: 27 Feb 2015 *

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