Translation quality is the degree to which a translated phrase, video, or document meets specific predefined standards. Translation quality management is the process of overseeing all the activities that must be accomplished to achieve the predefined criteria and to improve continually.
Translation quality management comprises five key activities.
1. Quality Planning
Quality planning is the first step in translation quality management. You decide the type of quality you need and how you'll know you've achieved it. While the ideal is 100 percent accuracy of translation, spelling, and punctuation for every project, budget restrictions may pose limitations. To stay within a budget, you might prioritize. For example, you may decide that certain types of translations, such as legal documents or marketing materials, require 100 percent accuracy, but internal documents may meet a lesser standard.
Translation quality management software can help during the planning phase by allowing an organization to enter its unique quality standards and priorities. It then can automatically schedule and launch quality evaluations based on your standards and priorities.
2. Quality Assurance
The second step is translation quality assurance, otherwise known as translation QA. In this step, you inspect your processes to ensure they provide the best opportunity to meet your quality goals successfully. W. Edwards Deming, an expert in quality management and improvement, estimated that 94 percent of errors are because of the system (such as processes and management) and only 6 percent because of workers. The most effective way to improve quality is to improve the system, Deming said.
To continue to improve quality, leaders should check processes regularly. Equipment can break, or new tasks can occur, causing the process to cease to be effective. Translation quality management software can quickly highlight areas of difficulty.
3. Quality Control
Quality control occurs as the translators, both human and machine, are doing their work. Leaders inspect and assess quality as the work is being done to adjust as needed.
Linguistic quality assurance software can dramatically improve quality control by quickly gathering and analyzing data. When translation quality control data is kept manually, the analysis may take as long as four weeks, making corrections or adjustments during the process almost impossible. Translation quality software also can adjust its processes automatically as data comes in. For example, if data shows that translation quality is declining in one particular language, it may alter evaluation schedules to monitor those translations more closely.
4. Quality Evaluation
Once the job is finished, leaders evaluate it to determine whether it meets the standards defined in the planning process. Translation quality assurance tools help during this evaluation as well. Software tools can provide insights about 500 percent faster insights than manual tools.
Leaders might evaluate analytically, holistically, based on outcomes, or using a hybrid method. Analytical evaluation scrutinizes for specific significant errors. Holistic evaluation assesses the translation as a whole subjectively on different aspects such as accuracy or fluency. Outcome-based evaluation considers how well the translation enables the company to meet certain business goals.
5. Quality Improvement
After the project ends, leaders and key participants analyze the data to determine what went well and what was lacking, so that translation quality improves the next time. Having good feedback is one way both human and machine translators improve; quality control translation software can provide 1000 percent more feedback than manual quality control processes can.
Based upon the data analysis, organization leaders can decide on actions for the future. For example, they may provide better training, tweak their translation processes, or choose different translators the next time around.
The best linguistic quality assurance software helps companies progress through the five steps of quality management. It also provides flexibility. The software integrates with machine translation engines and with translation management systems (TMS). It can also function independently of TMS. It supports any quality methodology or workflow, and it doesn't require that you use any particular language service provider (LSP) or that you use an LSP, at all. A top translation quality management software also will save on overhead by automating tedious manual processes and freeing staff for more strategic tasks.
Some organizations can handle their translations in-house, maintaining appropriate quality within their budget. Others, however, find that they need the technical expertise and scalability of an LSP. An LSP can often find a way for a company to obtain better translations without exceeding its budget.
Andovar is a niche, media-focused localization agency with global presence. We help enterprise companies, games developers, eLearning, HR & training, technology (Software and Apps), MarCom, Ecommerce, and media-focused organizations deliver media-rich global content to users, fans, clients, and employees across the globe. We partner with other companies, such as ContentQuo, to deliver turnkey localization solutions for our clients. We work with more than 5,000 native translators worldwide and provide services from six offices in Asia, Europe, and North America. To schedule a free consultation with one of our translation experts, complete the online form.
For more tips and content for global growth, please visit our blog.