What is translation quality assurance (TQA)?

translation quality assurance

A poor translation can cost you customers. Merely translating words is simply not enough. Accurate content translation is crucial for businesses because it fosters clear communication, customer satisfaction, and global growth. You need high-quality translations to maintain your brand’s reputation, build trust with a diverse audience, and gain a competitive edge. But how can you guarantee this level of excellence in your translations? This is where translation quality assurance comes in. We’ll tell you what it’s all about.

What is translation quality assurance?

Translation quality assurance (TQA) is a set of processes that ensures a translated piece of text is accurate, consistent, and reads well for the target audience. Basically, a quality check for translations. The specifics can vary depending on the project and the resources available, but here’s a breakdown of some common TQA phases:

  • Pre-translation planning, where you define project scope, purpose, and target audience, as well as develop a glossary and style guide for consistency.
  • Translator selection, which involves choosing qualified translators with relevant expertise.
  • Translation process, where the translator produces the initial draft.
  • Editing, the process of linguistic review for grammar, syntax, and spelling.
  • Proofreading, meaning the text is proofread for typos, formatting, and minor inconsistencies.
  • Quality Assurance checks, the use of automated tools to detect inconsistencies and errors. Manual checks are used for context and cultural nuances.
  • Client review, where the client reviews and provides feedback.
  • Final verification, where you’d conduct a final review to ensure all changes are correct.
  • Post-project evaluation, which means assessing translator and team performance and gathering feedback for process improvement.

As you can see, this is a complex process that requires the use of both technology and qualified linguists.

Why you should implement TQA

It goes without saying that a poor, flawed translation can be embarrassing and potentially damage your brand image. Furthermore, it can lead to misunderstandings for your target audience. Fixing errors in a poorly translated document after it’s been published is often more expensive and time-consuming than catching errors earlier on.

By adding translation quality assurance to your workflow, you catch mistakes upfront, which means you’ll be saving money and resources in the long run. Your message will be clear, concise, and culturally appropriate. Plus, in some cases, inaccurate translations can lead to legal issues, and you definitely don’t want that.

Best practices for TQA

To establish a robust TQA process, you may want to consider these best practices:

Go into it well prepared

Before anything else, you need to set clear benchmarks for what constitutes a high-quality translation for your project. This might include accuracy, fluency, tone, and target audience appropriateness. All parties involved (translators, editors, reviewers) need to know about these criteria.

You should ensure the source text is clear, error-free, and formatted well to avoid confusion during translation. Choose experienced translators who specialize in the subject matter and target language.

Streamline the workflow

Translation memory (TM) can ensure consistency across projects, while terminology management tools keep translations consistent with your style guide and glossary. Afterwards, you can use automated QA tools to catch basic errors efficiently. Make sure to stablish clear processes for each stage of TQA, from pre-translation checks to final review, to ensure consistency and avoid confusion.

Maintain good communication

Provide translators with all necessary resources, including style guides, glossaries, and reference materials. It’s important for them to get clear instructions and know about project expectations. Establish feedback loops throughout the process and encourage translators to ask questions.

Continuous improvement

This is where you need to take a step back and identify areas for improvement. Analyze past projects to identify recurring errors and adjust your workflows accordingly. Keep up-to-date with the latest TQA practices and technologies; any new tool can continuously enhance your QA effectiveness.

TQA in localization

Localization quality assurance (LQA) is a specific type of TQA focused on ensuring translated content not only reads well in the target language but also considers cultural nuances for a truly localized experience. LQA goes beyond just accuracy and fluency in the target language. It ensures the translated content (such as humor, references, and imagery) resonates with the target audience’s cultural context.

In software localization, LQA involves testing the translated user interface (UI) to ensure all buttons, menus, and error messages function correctly and are culturally appropriate. Imagine a login button that says “Log in” in English. In a right-to-left language, the button might need to be re-arranged to display the text correctly when flipped.

Using POEditor in your TQA and LQA processes

Translation management system (TMS) POEditor offers several features that can significantly aid in TQA throughout your localization projects. Firstly, it’s a central hub for managing all your translation projects. This simplifies collaboration and communication between translators, editors, and reviewers, as everyone can access the latest versions and track changes efficiently.

The built-in QA checks can automatically identify potential errors during translation. These checks can flag missing translations, typos, formatting inconsistencies, and even duplicate content. This help you catch basic mistakes early on, saving time and resources during the editing process.

POEditor utilizes TM technology to store previously translated segments. When working on similar projects, the system can suggest previously approved translations, ensuring consistency across your content. You can also create and manage glossaries for consistent use of terminology throughout your projects.

By utilizing the platform’s automation features along with human expertise, POEditor can become a valuable tool for streamlining your TQA and LQA processes.

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