If you think about it, everything you do in life needs quality control: the food you cook, the essay you write in school, that DIY shelf you built. If all those things need to be done right and work properly, then it is clear that quality control must be stricter when you provide a service to a person or a company. It is not only about ensuring customer satisfaction, but also knowing you are delivering something of quality.
When we talk about Translations, it is a common misconception to think that translating a document, poster, simple text, book, etc. only means changing the words from one language to another and that would be the end of it, but the truth is that it is not the complete process: There is a lot of additional work that goes into it and that makes the difference between a bad translation and a quality translation.
When a document is submitted for translation there is an entire team that is involved with the final product, from the sales rep that gets the details and specifications, or the project manager that sets up the translation project, to the qualified experts that thoroughly review and proofread the translated files before they are delivered to the customer. And let’s not forget about the Graphic Design specialists that ensure that the translated documents keep the exact same design as the originals.
There are so many eyeballs on the job that any errors are sure to be caught before the project is finalized.
The QA Process
Reviewing a new project is the first step of quality control. With the text from the customer in hands, the Translator must check whether it is complete, check the vocabulary, check the order and coherence of files, text inconsistencies, grammar mistakes, and confusing or missing parts. A careful reading of the text can avoid several future problems and is indispensable for good quality control. Customers should be notified of any problems encountered on their files. If these issues are not addressed early on, they could delay the translation at later stages.
Once the text/file has been reviewed, and the files are good to go, the Translator will start with the translation process. The Translator’s role is critical because they are the one that gets the project started. The translator’s job is to translate the written material into another language, to ensure meaning and context are maintained, and to create glossaries, term dictionaries, and any reference material needed. With expertise and experience in your subject matter, the Translator understands the content like no generalist linguist would ever do, and can best convey the message in the target language.
After the translation has been done, the Editor steps in and adds more subject matter expertise and native language experience to your translation project so it feels more natural. As the editor works on improving sentence structure and readability, the translator’s work is also checked in order to catch any errors before they are moved along in the system. In short, the Editor performs Linguistic Quality Assurance to make sure that the translation is clear, correct, and with a great style and readability.
Once the translator and editor have completed their tasks and the translation has gone through Linguistic Quality Assurance, then the translation project will be sent to the Graphic Designers at the Desktop PublishingTeam.-. As you may know, the translated texts might be way longer than the original ones, and that is a problem when you need to fit more text in the same space. The Desktop Publishing Team is responsible for reproducing the layout of the source file using the translated content. Multilingual DTP experts eliminate any difficulties that come from text expansion or retraction or character differences from the original language to your target language translation.
When all the steps we mentioned are completed, the file will go through a QA process that will consist of double-checking if the translation, layout, and overlook of it all are good and ready to be delivered. This part of the process is very important and if any errors are caught, the QA team is responsible to get them fixed promptly. Linguistic issues are worked out by the Reviewer, whereas any formatting issues are derived to DTP.
When all required changes are made and all detected errors are fixed, the project will go through a Sign Off phase in which a final look takes place to make sure if everything is now good and ready to go. After this last step, the team will prepare the project and will get it ready to be delivered to the client, making sure that all the customer’s specifications for the delivery are followed.
After the project has been delivered, the client may request some changes to be made in the project. If the client wishes to make any changes, we would quickly check if the changes will have to be made by the DTP team or the translation team and start the update process right away.
All this may sound like a lot of back and forth, but this process is essential and necessary in order to deliver a high-quality translation. Quality can only be achieved by having the right process, the right people and the drive to give a professional service.
Now you know how we do it :). Please subscribe to this Blog for more articles related to localization.