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Creating a Reliable Translation Quality Assurance Checklist

Checklists are used to keep tasks on track and make sure nothing goes missed. Checklists are tools not only used in translation but also in other everyday tasks. Checklists are something everyone at every phase of the translation project can use to ensure that everyone working on the translation can deliver confident completed work.

A translation QA checklist should include all things from linguists who are qualified, glossaries, style guides, final reviews, proofreading and many more. Doing these things alone is not enough, but when brought together it is the same as baking a cake.

All check lists should include the T-E-P Process, or the translated, edit, proof process. These are the most crucial steps. These 3 steps are the foundation to a successful quality assurance check list.

While this may seem pretty straightforward – there are some steps behind the process as well.

Translations should be completed by a professional in-country, native speaker. The linguist should also have knowledge of the content being translated and the industry and field behind it. Linguists also must pay attention to the glossary, style and grammar that should be used. The translator handles a bulk of the process and starts off the quality assurance.

Editing is the next step in the QA process. Editing is putting an additional set of eyes on your document to help make sure everything makes sense. This helps to ensure that the requirements for the project were followed, including things like the translation of product names, or anything else that may have slipped through the crack.

Editing is also a crucial step if more than one linguist worked on the file, which is common on urgent projects. While we do not do this often, it is required when the customer has a short deadline and many words needed to be translated. The editors main job is to establish the requirements for style, glossary, and terminology among other things have all been followed.

Proofing is the final step. This is the most important step in the entire process. The linguist who has this role carries a lot of responsibility as they make the final decision on the translations sounds and looks before it is returned back. These linguists are experts! Experts in style, terminology, and quality. They must have a true understanding on what is expected of the final document. This is also the person we turn to when there is a question regarding phrasing, word choice, or any other question the customer may have.

The final project is then sent back to the Project Manager to have one final look at the document before it is sent back to the customer.

While all these steps may seem time consuming and seem to add unneeded work to the translation since it could “just be translated right the first time” , may be a true statement but when working with Fortune 500 companies, legal documents, personal documents, manuals, medical documents, and so on… you need to ensure the quality of work that the customer is getting back is what they expected to receive back plus some.

This also saves time in the process as well. Without a process like this in place errors are more likely to be skipped. Companies with low rates per word usually do not have any type of T-E-P process in place, which results in sending iffy content back to customer. This process is also missed if translations are completed in house. If quality is the most important end result a translation company with a QA process in place.

Always remember each project is different, and no two projects should be treated as if they are the same. Analyzing the final content is always crucial in getting the project back to customer. Of course there are a lot smaller steps that go into each larger step that makes the process more effective.

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