Picture Perfect. Quality at Canon: In translation, different quality models apply for different content

By Bjorn Harris, Canon

Living just south of London, this was the perfect opportunity to visit the Welocalize LocLeaders Forum. As this was my second LocLeaders Forum, I knew even before arriving, that it would be a fruitful and thought-provoking day.

I was delighted to be able to share and give insight into how we manage our quality control process for the localization of our digital camera range at Canon. Canon is a world leader in imaging products and solutions and people all around the world use Canon products. They need to understand, in their native language, how to use our products. The localization strategy is crucial. We have to get translation quality right or people all around the world won’t be able to get the best out of their Canon product.

Canon invests heavily in enriching the user’s experience through the product, software and manual.

For hardware manufacturers like Canon, there is always a higher level of risk where products and manuals are printed, boxed and shipped; a serious issue in boxed content can be very costly to rectify. As companies move more content digitally, whilst the quality levels for user-experience remain as high, we come across other challenges; the need to update content is faster, quicker and more efficient. Different quality models apply for different content.

Quality is always a challenge. No one wants to constantly spend money reviewing vendor quality, but yet we all feel the need to do it. I think the answer is how to set the quality model and how to tailor the quality process appropriately. Get out of the challenging circle of introducing more and more (expensive) quality checks at every stage in the localization process.

I also realise that metrics, whilst they have their use, are not always the answer to finding the issues and making improvements – too many variables that can skew the results. It is very much down to “confidence”. If we have the confidence that the quality from our vendors is high, that our vendors are spending and investing in quality, we can respond with reducing the checks in our QA process. This takes time, but once achieved, moves quality up-stream, reduces cost at both the vendor and client side and allows us to get to market quicker.

It was interesting to hear what other companies had to say around this topic. There is no one silver bullet solution and no one quality model fits all.

The LocLeaders Forum is always worth its weight in gold, being able to catch-up with fellow industry colleagues and see how others are managing in the fast-paced world we all live in.

Lovely setting, great views of London and lots of pictures taken using Canon cameras!