Failure is an option

I am an avid Mythbusters fan for scientific, entertainment and, now, language reasons. In a recent episode (or rerun, not sure), Adam explained the rationale behind his motto ‘Failure is an option’. Paraphrasing his explanation, he says that scientists do not look at failure as, well, failure but as a learning experience. The purpose of scientific experimentation is data collection to determine the feasibility of a certain process, for example, testing the tensile strength of a certain type of steel fibers.

He added (or I think it was Jamie who said this…) that the point of scientific experimentation is not to succeed in every attempt but to learn from the information acquired from the ‘misses’. I agree. I also found this reasoning to be a fresh outlook on translation errors. Phrases like “perfect translations” or “error-free translations” fill websites and business communications in our industry.

Why are we so afraid of making mistakes? Why do we make the colossal error of equating absence of translation issues with high quality translation?

This posting is a follow-up to a previous one regarding Rethinking Translation QA. What are your thoughts?

1 Comment

Filed under Notepad ++, Passolo, QA standards, Translation errors

One response to “Failure is an option

  1. g2lls

    This is a great article, I too question the emphasis on perfection. A person, at least in my opinion, is measured by how they respond to mistakes, not that they never make them. In business, that is the best approach to take as well. When you deal with translators, interpreters, employees, etc., you are dealing with human beings. No one is perfect, it is ridiculous to expect it. The quicker you own up to a mistake and fix it, the better. That is all anyone can ask of another……..

    Grace Bosworth
    President, Global2Local Language Solutions

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