Quick Guide to Quality Translation – Part II
In the first part of this guide, we explained the importance of quality control in translation, and demonstrated just how important it is to establish a base definition of quality and to create a good team to work on larger projects.
In this second part of the guide we will talk about priorities, processes and the coherence of a quality control system.
- Deadlines, goals, priorities
Before jumping into a translation or localisation project, ask yourself the following questions:
- How complex is the project? Is it a single document, like a manual or a contract, or are you localising a large online store for a number of countries?
- When is the delivery date? The level of urgency is essential for defining how much to charge and to know whether or not it will be possible to do the work alone or if you will need to assemble a small or large team.
- What budget is available? This factor will also determine the size of the translation and localisation team, the speed at which the work can be completed and which documents and content should receive more attention.
The answers to these questions will determine the delivery time and economic viability of the project and, ultimately, the level of compliance with the quality criteria.
- The process
This is a possible workflow for a process that follows the quality parameters.
4.1 – The Project Manager (PM) delivers the work to the translators.
4.2 – Translators complete the work by the deadline, adhering to the correct terminology and guidelines, and carrying out a first review of the work at the end.
4.3 – The result of this work is then delivered to the proofreaders who will begin the second phase of the revision process.
4.4 – In the case of marketing, advertising or products and services localisation projects, the editor must ensure the content is suitably adapted for the target audience.
4.5 – The professional or team responsible for Desktop Publishing (design, multimedia and content formatting) must put the work into the format desired by the client.
4.6 – The final revision of the final product takes place.
4.7 – The PM sends the texts to the client.
4.8 – The client reviews the texts and is offered the chance to request changes to the final product. These changes go through the entire process again until the client gives their final approval.
It is important to be flexible. This workflow here can vary depending on the nature of the translation agency and the team, and also depends a great deal on the type of project and the specific requirements of the client. Be ready to modify the workflow and add new steps or change them in the case of very technical projects that require external consultants. If the job is less complex (there are few documents to translate, the client has their own design and publishing team, etc.) you can shorten the process, but never compromise on essential quality steps like proofreading (4.3).
- Stay effective
For the process to run smoothly, it is necessary to ensure consistency throughout the quality control system.
- The project manager’s life will be made easier if they use translation management solutions that enable them to organise the workflow and help coordinate the team.
- The quality of the translation depends to a large extent on the tools used. The entire team should have access to text editing and computer-assisted translation (CAT) software. It is also important that all team members use the same CAT applications. If each translator or proofreader uses a different application, errors and inconsistencies in the final product are inevitable. In large projects covering a number of languages, the number of problems can be astronomical!
- Most professional CAT applications include Quality Assurance (QA) tools – in other words, beyond the simple detection of grammatical and spelling errors, these programmes automatically check the consistency of the text, concordance with terminology and other elements that translators can sometimes miss.
- Keep in touch with the team. This is especially important when team members may be working remotely for various reasons – pandemics, freelance work, international teams, etc. Online video conferencing and collaboration technologies are useful, but they can create a lot of distance and dispersion. In short, talk to your colleagues every day!