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Translation Quality Assurance

What is Translation Quality Assurance?

Effective Translation Quality Assurance (TQA) will ensure a consistent level of quality, augmenting the perception of the brand held by customers and stakeholders. However, we have established again and again that the ‘quality’ of a translation is very hard to measure absolutely. Beyond certain objective indices that everyone can agree on (see below) it very often comes down to a question of (subjective) preference. This is why TQA is so vital in professional translation. That said, we define translation quality as the degree to which a translation met predefined standards or requirements.

Basic indices for translation quality:

  • Spelling and grammar is correct
  • Consistent use of the correct terminology
  • Communicates the meaning and message accurately
  • Is written in the correct style (register)
  • Cultural- or regional-specifics have been adapted appropriately
  • The representation of dates and units is appropriate to the target market
  • (If supplied) the translator followed the client’s style guide and used their glossary 

An effective Translation Quality Assurance process

An effective TQA must be structured to include multiple steps and multiple professionals to ensure that errors are caught before delivery to the client. It must include internal processes that assess translator performance and provide opportunities for feedback. We believe that it should also include the use of CAT tools.

Quicksilver Translate’s TQA process:

  1. The project manager selects the appropriate translator — ideally someone with specialised knowledge of that field (legal, medical, engineering, etc).
  2. If possible, the client supplies a Glossary (we can also build one for you) and their brand style guide.
  3. The client supplies a translation brief detailing the target audience and purpose of the translation.
  4. A proofreader or editor reviews the translation: they will check for errors, but also improve the flow of the text if required.
  5. The DTP team inserts the translation back into the original format — ie. the original InDesign or Word document. (NB. This is not part of the translation process, but if it is carried out poorly it can impact upon the quality of the final document.)
  6. The project manager delivers the document (usually as a PDF) to the client. They will also offer any appropriate notes regarding queries, clarifications or potential issues.
  7. The client’s internal reviewer performs a final check.
  8. Any final amendments are managed by the project manager or editor.

Find out more: Quicksilver Translate’s QA checks

The use of CAT tools

Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools such as a Translation Memory (TM) are essential. With a TM the translator can quickly refer to previous projects to verify client preferences. Features like Term Bases (Glossary) will supply the translator with any previously agreed terminology.

Most CAT tools also include a basic QA check which identifies spelling and grammatical mistakes, as well as rejected terminology, phrases, or specific words. CAT tools will also check that every segment has been translated and confirmed.

The benefits of an effective TQA 

An effective Translation Quality Assurance process will ensure a consistent level of quality, which augments the perception of the brand held by customers and stakeholders. It ensures our clients can avoid costly mistakes such as reprints or product recalls as a result of an incorrect translation, or delays to deployment of a document, and therefore time-to-market. It also ensures legal compliance with local or regional regulators.

Internally, our TQA improves our efficiency enabling us to guarantee faster turnaround times, and better value for money.

Find out more: How to evaluate a Translation Agency

Find out more: How to be a Great Translator

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