How do translation companies ensure quality control (Part 1)?

As strange as quality control processes in a translation company may sound to those who always associate such processes with industrial sectors, they do in fact exist and they are very important.

Just like all the “physical” products we consume, translation also goes through quality control that involves several stages, procedures and tools. 

At Traductanet, quality has always been an important concern, and the way the company ensures its quality control has evolved over a number of years, reflecting the development of organisational and technological methods that have resulted in the continuous improvement of this process.

During the 1990s, quality control essentially consisted in submitting every translation to revisors (and in some cases to proof-readers after revision) who would read paper copies of the documents. Today’s technology greatly assists this process, and even allows the creation of new processes for ensuring even quicker and better quality control. This is not to say that we have dispensed with revision and proof-reading; far from it, these are tasks that will always continue to be carried out by different people in each process.

The development of new translator support tools, known in the trade as “CAT tools”, have done more than improve the productivity of translators. These tools enable them to control quality to a determined standard: for example, by indicating whether they have complied with the specific terminology of a client or of the project, or by alerting them to any omissions and other “quality errors”. This happens both in respect of content and the formatting of the translated text, since translation companies are being increasingly called upon to deliver to their clients a product that is “ready for use”, however the client intends to publish it. As with any process carried out by humans, fatigue and lapses are ever-present risks. Automated tools and processes help detect and avoid some of the errors caused by these factors in a more reliable and safer way that a human translator car. Well programmed, configured and implemented automatic processes do not get tired or make mistakes.

This is only one of the aspects of quality control of which those who do not work within the translation industry are unaware. In later articles we will look at other important aspects of any quality control system.

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