Understanding how you can impact translation quality is important. Here are five steps you can apply to your own translation program to ensure the highest quality standards.
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It’s a common misconception—your translation provider is solely responsible for improving your translation quality.
As a translation provider, it is our job to provide you with accurate and reliable translation services—but did you know there are things often outside of our control that can affect the overall quality of your translations?
That’s because translation quality can be impacted before the content even gets to us. Quality translations actually start at the source—when you are writing your content. There are also factors that can influence translation quality throughout the entire process.
Here are five suggestions on how you can take quality matters into your own hands and help improve the quality output of your company’s translation efforts.
1. Request translations only when you’re ready
Sometimes translation quality can be hindered well before we have access to your company’s content. Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. Source content undoubtedly has to be well written, edited and proofed before it can be accurately translated. And most importantly, your source content has to be in its final state. Requesting translations with content that hasn’t been finalized increases the likelihood of inconsistencies. Always make sure your source content is complete, and if it isn’t—hold off on requesting translations.
Is holding off not an option? If you have a looming deadline that requires you to request translations before your source content is completely finalized, be sure to explain this to your project manager. While not advised, this will at least give them forewarning. It won’t, however, decrease your chances of inconsistencies.
Pro tip: Consistent terminology usage in the source content is a surefire way to boost quality translations. A terminology management strategy beginning with source content writing enhances quality outcomes overall, meaning less time and money spent in rework.
2. Know your requirements—and express them
It’s no doubt that every company needs their translations to be accurate. But what does accuracy look like in the eyes of your team? Is it translations that may differ from the source text but still appeal to your target audience? Is it translations that stray very little from your original text? Or is it translations that vary but keep your company’s writing style consistent across new languages? As you can see, translation quality can be interpreted in completely different ways depending on your objectives and source content. This is why it is so important for you to explain what quality factors are most important to you and how they will be evaluated. Doing so will give us a better understanding of your quality benchmarks and how we can better align our team to meet your expectations.
Pro tip: Be sure all stakeholders are on the same page when it comes to translation objectives. If you’re working for an end client with a difference of opinion, or if the head of the department for which the content was written didn’t provide input regarding expectations, it could mean a mess of misunderstandings.
3. Strategize, plan and prepare for translations
As your translation partner, we’re here to help you with all of your translation and localization needs—including advocate for your quality assurance processes. Don’t be afraid to ask us what you can do to help ensure translation quality. Whether it’s improving your workflow, helping us prepare for translations or cleaning up your translation memory, there are multiple steps you can take in between translation projects which can ultimately enhance your translation quality. In fact, one thing we recommend from the start, is implementing terminology management as part of your overall language program. As your translation partner, we can better provide translation accuracy if you’re helping us ensure quality in your everyday practices.
Pro tip: Terminology has been proven time and time again to be a critical factor in higher quality deliverables. Taking the time up front to create and implement style guides and glossaries will help to ensure consistent terminology, in both source and translated content. These tools are essential to ensuring quality expectations are met each and every time and will actually save you time and money.
4. Qualify and synchronize your translation reviewers
We go to great lengths to ensure our linguists are highly qualified to provide and review translations. If you have your own internal translation reviewers, be sure to show the same level of quality commitment by assigning qualified reviewers. For example, an employee who happens to speak the target language may not be suitable for reviews because of their inexperience with in-country dialect.
If you have more than one internal reviewer, also be sure their reviews are equivalent by providing them each with clear, consistent guidelines to follow. It’s hard for us to ensure your quality expectations are met if approvers have conflicting expectations—or don’t have the necessary experience needed to understand how to validate translation quality.
Already know your reviewers are qualified? Great! Make sure you welcome their feedback and share it with your translation project team. Doing so will give us more insight on how we can better align or adjust to your future translation needs.
Pro tip: Make sure you inform your translation partner right away whether you plan to utilize internal reviewers or require external reviewers. This helps ensure your program is set up to your specific expectations, plus, steps can be taken to facilitate communication between everyone involved. Avoid wasting valuable time in the translation process because of miscommunication, or none at all!
5. Make high-quality translations part of your end goal
As any translation provider can tell you, high quality isn’t something that happens overnight. Set up clear expectations and continue to partner with your project manager to ensure translation quality over time. In other words, be sure high-quality translations are a part of your company’s end goals, not just your provider’s. Rather than re-addressing quality on a project-by-project basis, only to later realize that you’re not completely satisfied with the overall performance results, understand that you play a role in helping to mold a quality partnership from the beginning.
Pro tip: Need help getting buy in from leadership? Your translation partner should be able to provide use cases and analytics to support the need for implementation of a translation quality program—or in the very least, prove why quality should be a top priority when it comes to your translations.
While it is important to work with a translation provider who is always ensuring you translation quality, it is also important for you to understand how you can also impact quality outcomes. Apply these five steps to your translation program to ensure your company’s translations are achieving the highest quality standards.
Speaking of translation quality, AMPLEXOR will be attending and presenting at TAUS QE Summit 2018 on 11 April in Dublin to participate in discussions around dynamic quality framework.
Find out more about the TAUS QE Summit and our presentation “User experience or language focus – which is more important as you evaluate quality?” (Plus, it’s not too late to register!)
What are some of the steps you typically take to help ensure high-quality translations? Want to chat about improving your translation quality program? Send us an email at LanguageSolutions@amplexor.com
➡ Read this article in German
➡ Read this article in French
About the author
Iñaki, a Language Program Architect at AMPLEXOR, has been working in the localization industry since 1993. With extensive experience in solutions development, linguistics and terminology management, he is a member of the Linguistic Management Team at AMPLEXOR. Having lectured at university prior to starting in localization, Iñaki holds a degree in linguistics and a Master of Arts in translation studies. When Iñaki is not busy working on language issues, his passion is rooted in photography.