Translation Quality Assessment

The translation process generally involves three steps: translation, editing and proofreading. In the case of projects with a high word volume, it may be desirable to add an additional step to ensure a high quality final product: a quality assessment, or QA. In this step, computer tools are used that allow us, among other things, to check spelling, make sure the correct terms have been used, and detect inconsistencies, punctuation or formatting errors, multiple spaces, and repeated words.

Most inconsistencies occur when several linguists are all involved in a large project with segments that are repeated throughout the text. We know that the same sentence (or even a single word) can have several different translations, but if there are two editors working simultaneously on a project, it is possible that each will use a different version. The person who does the QA is responsible for choosing the option that is most accurate with regard to that particular text and ensuring consistency throughout all segments. This is essential in order to achieve a consistent final product.

It is also very important to ensure that the correct terminology is used. To do this, quality assessment tools allow us to verify that the terms in the term base of the relevant project were used. While the translators do have access to the term base while working on it, it is a possibility that, while trying to work out the complexities of the text, they might overlook some terms. Therefore, during the QA, we must always check whether the term base has been properly employed.

Another key step is to perform a spelling and grammar check. In general, it is best to open the text in an MS Word file and run the spelling and grammar check there. It is most likely that no errors will be found as the text has already passed through several linguistic steps and been reviewed thoroughly; however, it never hurts to perform an additional quality check.

The quality assessment step allows us to ensure that the final product is coherent, consistent, and that it has no spelling or formatting errors. Such a text is always easier to read and understand and ultimately, that’s what we all strive for in our texts.