By Mireia Vilalta, Lead Quality Controller at Welocalize
Before translation projects are delivered to the client, one of the final steps is Quality Assurance (QA). QA is essential as it ensures that what we are delivering outcomes that meet the highest standard of quality
To help in this last step, the use of QA technology, as part of the preferred computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool or as standalone specialized QA software, has become a staple for language service providers (LSPs). With the help of this technology, the QA process can be optimized by automating necessary checks that would be time-consuming and inefficient for a person to check manually. This results in more time and resources being spent on ensuring that the quality of the translated document that the client receives goes beyond expectations.
Here are four ways where QA technology can increase quality and save time and budget:
ONE: Numbers. As an example of how QA technology can save time and resource, we can look at numbers. Numbers always need to be checked in a translated document. Each number in the target language needs to match exactly the numbers in the source language, although sometimes with a different format. A number mismatch between source and target could potentially be huge problem for the client, particularly in financial, technical and life sciences documentation. Imagine the package insert for a drug instructing the patients who bought it to take the wrong dose. The consequences would be dire. Manually checking that each number in the translated document is the same as each number in the source document would take a very long time and we would be at risk of the human eye missing potential numerical differences. However, this is something that can be checked automatically and with complete certainty by QA technology, whether inside the CAT tool or as a separate QA tool. It would take a bilingual file containing source and translation and would check for mismatching numbers automatically, generating a report of any possible mismatch.
TWO: Grammar, Punctuation and Symbols. It’s not only numbers that benefit from QA technology. QA technology can check translation using many established metrics, such as inconsistent or missing translations, repeated words, mismatching symbols or units, punctuation and capitalization issues, double spaces, tags and terminology, among others. The results are presented in a QA report which can be used to tackle the relevant issues directly. Apart from being time-consuming and cost-ineffective, it would be almost impossible to check for all these issues manually, especially in larger files. The risk of missing something can be high.
THREE: Terminology. QA technology is also being improved to manage terminology and check for linguistic issues, using term bases (glossaries) and translation memories (TM). By checking the target text against these resources, QA tools give us reports of terms that have not been translated according to the client term base. Sentences that differ from the text we have in the client-specific translation memories. The term base checks can also be customized for the tool to recognize singular and plural forms of the terms, verb conjugation and declination.
FOUR: Customization. Most QA tools can also be customized to adapt the final product to the specific needs of our clients. They can be configured to focus the checks on specific issues that we have identified as important, making the process even more efficient. QA tools can be configured to identify all negative particles and sentences in a source document and check that the same sentences in the target language have the negative particles or meaning.
Properly configured QA technology tools help the localization process by improving the quality and accuracy of the translations by safely taking care of basic quality assurance checks and allowing linguists to focus on the language quality, readability and client-specific requirements. This layer of QA is valuable in many industries, especially those with content that require ongoing high levels of quality and accuracy.
Based in Barcelona, Mireia Vilalta is Lead Quality Controller at Welocalize.
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