Quality Management in Localisation

Quality Management in Localisation

Quality Management, which includes Quality Control and Quality Assurance, is a crucial aspect of localisation. However, not everyone has a precise understanding of these concepts, nor an elaborated way of implementing them, even if sometimes linguistics involved follow this procedure as an undistinctive sense of logical path and successfully turn round the problem by themselves.

Quality Control (QC) refers to quality related activities associated with localisation projects. It is used to make sure that the output will be of good quality and that it will be complete and correct. The quality control process starts when the client contacts the project managers and continues well after the delivery of the project until the product is finally accepted by the client and therefore completed. Quality control serves as the plan of the processes and activities that will be put into place to provide quality deliveries. Project managers play a significant role in quality control, and they can be the reason why some projects fail to meet client expectations for quality. Project managers think ahead about how they are going to manage quality on the project by choosing the right translation tools, which translators and reviewers to involve etc. They are responsible for the linguistic and technical source analysis. Linguistic source text analysis aims at anticipating potential translation problems and identifying the domain and type of content, in order to better target the required translators’ profile and expertise. Technical source text analysis focuses on word and graphics counts, estimates the cost and the amount of time required for the project. Then, the source files are prepped for the next linguistic paths. Also, referring to the client to make some points clear throughout the process can anticipate and solve lots of translation obstacles, not to mention that it can reassure the client that the language service provider is taking good care of their material. Quality control as a valid process for a typical localisation project can be adapted to comply with any project managers’ methods and fields of expertise.

Quality Assurance (QA) refers to the process of granting approval to a project. It can be performed by project managers, the client or a third-party reviewer. Quality Assurance of localised products is often a hindsight to software localisation services, despite the fact that it plays a major role in the localisation process. In order to make linguistic review process work properly, the feedback should always become available to all participants in the supply chain and not to be recycled as a piece of individual criticism from one linguist to another. Quality models are standards and metrics, which measure quantifiably linguistic quality. If someone could say that quality is subjective, the linguistic quality is possibly even more so and linguists will often just not be able to agree on a particular translation. In the area of Gaming or Social Media for instance linguistics can contradict between grammatical accuracy and engaging style. However, how can someone evaluate a qualitative data such as translation quality?

What is very important in localisation is to choose the team of linguistic experts that are going to work on the localisation project (project managers, translators, editors/proofreaders, localisation engineers, quality assurance testers), assemble predefined set of references and select a measuring scale so as to assure that the translation product meets the customer’s requirements and if it evolves over time. These predefined references can be: a) the pre-existing translations such as local websites, applications, video games, b) the tools used by linguists to capture this content and ensure consistency (glossaries, dictionaries, translation memories, termbases), c) the client’s expectations/requirements, which can be captured in style guides, marketing instructions, end-user feedback, and d) the language rules: grammar, vocabulary, field of speech, trends.

On the other hand, regarding the scales needed to be defined to assure an effective quality assurance process, there are error levels and error categories, which are applied by reviewers for translation works. These scales should be implemented based on agreed standards evaluations for consistency and better understanding purposes through the different projects. Generally, the error levels can be a) Critical, b) Major, c) Minor and they usually cover the following error categories: a) Accuracy, b) Style, c) Language rules and d) Consistency with reference material. However, the difficult task of review can’t be as productive as it should if it is not implemented as comments, which can be seeable anytime by all the linguistics concerned throughout the process (project managers, translators, etc.), in the same interface used by the translators. These interfaces should allow reviewers to rate and categorize errors, usually at segment level and to select through severity of error levels and error categories.

There are also translation tools, called Translation Management Systems which can make project managers’, translators’ and reviewers’ life easier converting the translation process into a more controllable and automate procedure, and eliminating repetitive tasks. With a good Translation Management System (TMS), such as LexiQA, LISA QA Metric or SAE J2450, a project manager can oversee more projects every day and reduce manual operations, such as managing thousands of freelancers, choosing and assigning the right project on the right person, automatizing invoicing and financials tasks. In the same way, translator can find a centralized translation memory component, a file/project management component, and a CAT tool automatically included. What is more, instead of having to create a report, reviewers can enter their feedback directly in the online translation tool. A TMS is essential to manage high volumes of translation work and run multiple projects in parallel.

At Nexya, we give a great deal of importance in every path of the process. We believe that experience serves as a guarantee for quality. To prevent the progress of quality from going out of control, all texts should be processed by experienced professionals using CAT and QA tools. However, not only are we a language provider equipped with experienced professions, but our goal is to provide you customized solutions for your content after we examine it carefully and run over all the options advantageous for you assuring the quality you seek.