Translation Quality Assurance: What It Is And How It Works
By United Language Group
When sending a communication in a different language, it can be tempting to rely on an online translator like Google Translate that provides instant results. After all, we all love a convenient solution.
However, online translators are notorious for their inaccuracy, and quick-and-easy fixes usually fail to impress. How can an organization be assured that the translations they receive will be the most accurate possible and convey the intended meaning to the audience?
One of the benefits of working with a Language Solutions Partner (LSP) is the extensive quality assurance process required before a translation project is complete. After a document has been initially translated, it goes through a team of experts to ensure the highest accuracy and adherence to standards set by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO).
Having a team of specialists behind the completion of a translation project minimizes the risk of embarrassing linguistic or cultural mistakes, maximizes customization to the target audience, and ensures compliance and best practices with all relevant regulatory agencies.
Here are some of the major steps necessary during the translation quality assurance process.
1 . Translating
The process begins with a native speaker or linguist of the target language who has expertise in the subject matter related to the original document. This is particularly useful for jargon-heavy fields like finance, healthcare, or law.
The linguist will either complete the translation in its entirety, or work in tandem with machine translation technology to translate while reducing costs and improving speed.
2 . Editing
The editor is another native speaker with subject matter expertise and serves as a second pair of eyes before the document moves forward in the translation process. The editor performs Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA) by reviewing the translated document for grammatical errors, brevity, and accuracy.
3 . Formatting and Localizing
Most final translated documents will not end up in a Word Document or other word processor. They will likely take a new form such as a web page, a handbook, an ad, or other media.
A desktop publishing team or localization team will take the translated text from the editor and place it into the appropriate print or digital layout, accounting for differences such as a new alphabet or the size of the translated text compared to the original.
This team may also be responsible for choosing appropriate images to fit with the text, based on cultural and geographic factors that will resonate most with the target audience.
4 . Proofreading
In addition to checking the quality of the text, an LSP’s proofreaders check the quality of the layout. This step, also known as Publishing Quality Assurance (PubQA), analyzes the translated text for surface-level errors as well as the overall look of the project--if fonts seem inconsistent, if headlines are cut off, etc.
These proofreaders will also be native speakers of the target language and will be able to tell if any text has been accidentally cut or transferred incorrectly between the editing step and the formatting and localizing step. The proofreaders will collaborate with the editors, translators, and localization team as needed to correct errors.
5 . Final Reviews
Before declaring a project complete, a final review will be conducted by one or more of the following:
- The Project Manager, who serves as the liaison between translators, editors, localization teams, and the client.
- Quality Assurance testers from the target audience, who are local and native speakers providing feedback based on their experience with the newly translated document.
- The Client, who may request some fine-tuning before accepting the completed project.
After all these steps have been taken, the project is complete! Working with a team of experts ensures that shared knowledge goes into the final product rather than placing trust in just one person or a machine.
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