Language service providers (LSPs) and translators have to consistently provide quality for all of their client’s content. To maintain this standard, language professionals use linguistic quality assurance (LQA) and often linguistic testing.
In this article, we explain the roles of linguistic testing and quality assurance in translation and why they are essential for getting consistent results.
Linguistic quality assurance – sometimes referred to as linguistic QA or LQA – is an all-encompassing term that describes multiple processes translators use to achieve consistent quality in their work.
Top language service providers and translation agencies employ comprehensive, multi-layered LQA systems to deliver the results their customers need on every project.
QA processes can vary from one project to another, depending on client needs, but the key characteristic of LQA is that it pre-emptively tackles translation challenges to minimise their impact on a given project. For example, technical translation projects often include a lot of technical and specialist language – so translation agencies will often use a technological tool called terminology management to create a translation glossary, removing the risk of inconsistent translations.
This pre-emptive approach is crucial for effective LQA because it empowers language service providers to deliver the highest level of quality faster, with minimal revisions in the post-editing stage.
Linguistic quality testing (or linguistic quality assessment) is one of the final stages of an LQA system, which analyses the quality of translated content. This analysis flags up any issues in the previous stages of the LQA system which were unable to prevent editors from fixing before approval and publishing.
Unlike most stages of the LQA system, linguistic quality testing does not prevent issues from developing. It is a revisionary process that identifies any quality issues that the pre-emptive LQA processes failed to prevent. Linguistic quality testing ensures that the final draft of all translated content meets the quality criteria for each project.
As mentioned earlier, linguistic quality assurance is a multi-level system that incorporates safeguards across the translation process – from early planning to the final quality assessment.
Here is a quick summary of what an LQA system could involve for a relatively simple translation project:
The first stage is to define the project goals and outline any specialist requirements – e.g. legal translation, software localisation, etc. – alongside, identifying any potential challenges that could affect translation quality.
From here, we can put safeguards in place to prevent or minimise these challenges.
Identify any unique factors about specific language audiences/markets that could affect the quality of translation – e.g. differences between European and Latin American Spanish.
This is where your translators, editors, quality testers, project manager and other personnel are selected, including any specialist expertise required (e.g. medical translation specialists).
Select the translation tools that will minimise translation quality issues, such as translation memories, terminology management, translation management system, post-editing of machine translations (standard, light, full) etc.
Your content is prepared for translation and any issues that could cause problems are addressed. For example, text may need separating from images, videos may need transcription or layouts might need revising to allow for text expansion.
With all documentation prepared, the initial translation process begins with your team of carefully selected translators using class-leading translation technology to speed up the process without sacrificing quality.
With the initial translation process complete, native-speaking editors review each version of your translated content to identify any obvious issues, such as machine translation errors.
Translated content is analysed to ensure all output meets the LQA requirements for the project and, in some cases, content may be tested on sample audiences where it is important to collect feedback, such as with marketing or software translation.
Once all translated content has passed the linguistic quality assurance and testing steps, it gets approved for publishing and the final versions are sent to the client. Depending on the project, some content may be automatically published or saved for approval on the client’s content management system (CMS) if an integration between the CMS and a TMS is also in place.
Not all linguistic quality assurance systems are built the same, as each project has its own nature, scale, complexity and purpose. This is why it is important to partner with a top language service provider and team of language professionals that already have robust safeguards put in place. A top language service provider will provide comprehensive LQA systems and processes, as well as the flexibility to adapt these systems to meet the unique needs of your project.
If you feel that your translation strategy requires the implementation of a more sophisticated LQA system, please visit the translate plus website to find out more about our QA processes or get in touch with the team via our contact page.