The Complete Guide to Improving Translation Quality
Posted by: GibranAdmin Category: English, Localization, Translation Comments: 0

In 2009, when the famous American HSBC Bank wanted to expand overseas, they had to translate their famous slogan “Assume Nothing”, however, it didn’t go right as the translation was in sundry countries “Do Nothing”; that mistake cost them 10 Million dollars.

In such a scenario, translation quality assurance is a must. It is used to get the wanted results and deliver the message accurately, yet logically to all audiences in different parts of the world, or even to prevent any mistakes in your translation to your local target.

What does translation quality assurance mean?

There is a general notion that translation quality is determined by how well the translation meets specific standards and requirements. It is imperative that a quality translation communicates the original text’s tone and message as accurately as possible. Additionally, it is crucial to consider the culture and region of the target audience while translating.

However, this is not all. During the translation quality assurance, many factors should be taken into consideration; the most important one is adapting to the target audience’s cultural aspects so that the text would be as original as possible with the minimum errors.

The translator should make sure the text is free of spelling and grammatical errors, which are very critical to ensure accuracy. When you write the first draft of your translation, you have a good chance of missing some of these errors. For this reason, most quality assurance specialists recommend translators to read their work after they’ve finished it so they can catch their mistakes more easily.

Other factors that play a big role in translation quality assurance are consistently using the correct terminology, the translated text accurately reflecting the source text’s meaning, as well as the translated text should be as good as the original one including having a clear original written style.

Even if a translator is highly skilled and talented, this is quite a bit to take into account. It’s easy to lose perspective when working on a project for too long or facing a tight deadline and think a sentence is fine when it really isn’t, your text may not convey the wanted meaning without even realizing it. As a result, translation quality management involves a number of professionals because that’s simply human nature.

What are the steps of an effective translation quality control process?

There isn’t one fixed translation quality process, in contrast, they may differ from one language service provider to another. However, it is possible to say that there are several steps that most LSPs share within the process.

1- First things first: do the translation

In a logical sense, the translator should translate the text according to specific guidelines that refer to the nature of the text and its field (medical, technical, legal, literal, …etc).

2- Proofreading the text

As for the editor, on top of proofreading, he also examines text flow and flows to improve its flow if necessary. The proofreading process includes grammatical errors, punctuation and terminology issues are the pet peeves of the proofreader.

If the translator also does the proofreading, there are some steps to optimize the process:

  • Let the text cool: this is a general rule in translation and writing. Leave the text for a while to let it out of your head; that way you can catch the errors easily.
  • Read the text from back to front: another way to catch grammatical and spelling errors is to read the text from the last to the first.
  • Read it aloud: depending on multiple senses (sight and hearing) is also useful in catching mistakes.

3- Putting translation into the correct format

In order to publish the translated web copy, the DTP engineer must prepare the correct layout or the website or content manager must implement it. In spite of the fact that it isn’t linguistic, this step can have a significant impact on translation quality if not performed properly.

4- checking the final document or webpage

To be sure that the text is free from any linguistic mistakes, it is helpful to have another check on the text in case there is any missing punctuation, missing words or even typos.

5- Handing the text to the client

The PM ensures that everything is okay on the LSP side of the project by reviewing the document or web page one last time and delivering it to the customer. Additionally, they communicate any final comments about the translation (for example, regarding terminology or length of the text, which affected the layout).

6- Last things last: checking the text from the client

When a project is delivered to a client, the project may be asked to be viewed to check the final output: a marketing manager looks over the product brochure, a lawyer reads over the contract, or a Product team member ensures the manual is correctly translated.

How to improve your translation quality?

When it comes to translation, QA is always essential. There are 2 main ways to improve it, Manual QA or Instant QA.

Instant QA

The Instant QA check is run on a segment when it is confirmed. In case of an issue, a yellow warning triangle appears instead of a green check, and the QA pane with the warnings is opened. To confirm the segment, the Linguist must mitigate all issues or ignore false positive warnings.

Manual QA

Segment confirmation is not affected by manual QA, but if issues are identified that cannot be ignored due to project settings, the job cannot be completed.

After all, translation quality assurance is a key step in making sure that the translated text is not only free from linguistic mistakes but also makes sense according to the field’s guidelines and nature. However, it is not one person’s job, it needs a team, which makes a great opportunity to share experiences and knowledge.

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