Quality Assurance in Translation: 3 Questions to Ask your Provider

Quality Assurance is something promised by all language providers, or at least, it should be. However, what makes the QA process from one provider different from that of another? How do you know that the process will work for your translation project? These are two questions you should be thinking about if you are in the market to purchase translations, and here are some tips to help you.

Ask about the overall process before you contract the provider.This can save you a lot of questions from superiors and your own clients. How do you know that the translation will be accurate and free of errors? Do you speak the second language (of the translation) well enough to assess it? We love when our new clients ask, "Well, how do I know that the translation is correct?" Obviously there must be a strong sense of trust in handing over documents for translation to a provider. So, interview the provider and inquire about the overall processes. If you see any red flags, this could be a sign to shop elsewhere. You should hear answers about the process that ensure proofreading, editing, final revisions and collaboration among the linguists who will work on your project. Objective revisions that ensure quality are key, whereas subjective changes should be avoided.

Require that changes made to the text be handled by the linguists themselves. This may seem apparent, but there are providers who will request more information from the linguist as they prepare your documents for delivery without having the linguist review the actual file. Ask that all revisions to files be made directly by the linguist (not over the phone, not via an instant email message or chat, but to the document itself). This way, you can rest assured that the linguist was able to review the file in its entirety when making the revision, which is crucial in the QA process. Without complete context, one might not have enough information to properly revise a phrase or paragraph, and this is where errors can easily occur.

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Ask what tools your providers uses in the QA process.Does your provider keep client-specific glossaries, Translation Memories (TMs) and a style guide on hand and provide these to the linguists who will work on the project? Will your provider be willing to work with your in-country reviewers, if you have them? What evaluations does the provider have for its linguists and how are they reevaluated for their work?

These three tips will help you to understand the translation process and quality assurance of translations more, as you decide which provider is best for your company. Quality Assurance processes are found in all industries, and the translation and interpreting industry is no different. If your potential or current provider cannot answer your questions directly and without hesitation, it might be time to shop elsewhere.