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J2450: scoring translations

J2450: scoring translations

Is it possible to objectively rate the quality of a translation? 

Large corporations that spend millions of euros every year on translation services usually use carefully defined metrics that determine whether a translation “passes” or “fails”. When a company's translation budget carries a lot of weight, purely subjective evaluations such as “I don't like it”, “it's okay” or “it looks good” are not acceptable. A uniform and clearly outlined method is required that allows comparisons to be drawn between certain translations and others, as well as allowing early detection of any deviations, when it is still possible to correct them without affecting deadlines and costs.

J2450 is a quality metric for technical translation quality that was developed by a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) task force. Its use in the industry has continued to expand and it is also now commonly used to assess the quality of translations in sectors that have little to do with the automotive industry. The idea was to transfer quality controls to translation services that were comparable to those used for decades in industrial processes, such as the car manufacturing process itself.

Within the framework of the J2450 standard, errors are classified according to type and severity, with the standard defining seven types of error:

Type of error


Wrong term


Wrong meaning


Syntactic error






Punctuation error


Miscellaneous error










The composite score, which decides the translation quality of a text, is the weighted sum of the errors normalised by the number of words in the source text.

STAR Transit NXT includes a feature to rate translations according to the J2450 standard. Each segment is classified via the right-click context menu or via a key combination. In both methods, if the “Miscellaneous error” type is selected, an explanation of the error detected must be given. Once all segments have been checked, the “Quality report”, which can be generated in various formats (Excel, HTML, XML, etc.), offers the option to “Include quality ratings” together with all of the other automatic checks that may be selected in the STAR Transit quality reports. By selecting this option, the errors detected will be weighted and a score that reflects the quality of the translation project Will be calculated.

If you are looking for translation services with verified quality according to the J2450 standard, we are more tan happy to help.


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