Quality Control Methods Necessary to Maintain Translation Quality

Quality Control in Translation

March 16, 2015

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 Quality control, translation

To consistently deliver high-quality translation, thoroughgoing quality control is indispensable. Although the spotlight tends to shine upon the translation produced by the translator, high-quality translation is not generated without the contributions of those who work behind the scenes in support of the quality control process.

This article outlines some of the checkpoints that support translation behind the scenes, and some specific quality control methods.

Sub-preparations for Translation Work

In translation, the sub-preparations that are done before the translation work commences are the first step in producing a high-quality translation. Particularly in the case of a large project where multiple translators each translate an assigned section, it is important to calmly set the foundations in place.

First, instructional and reference documents for the translation are produced so that all of the people engaged in a project start with the same set of information. This commonly entails documents such as style guides and glossaries. Sample translations can also be useful to illustrate aspects that are not covered by the instructional documents. The key to maintaining a sense of unity and consistency among all of the translators is to properly organize all participants in the preparatory stage. It is also useful to have a mailing list so that everyone involved can share correspondence on points of doubt and vocabulary choices as the work proceeds.

Properly carrying out these sub-preparations ultimately leads to an efficient and high-quality translation.

The Importance of Post-translation Proofreading

Even if the translation is completed without incident, an important process still remains; a proofreader carefully checks the work of the translator. The main points that the proofreader checks are as follows:

• Whether the translation has been performed correctly and appropriately

• Whether numbers are correct

• Whether proper names have been correctly rendered

• That nothing has been omitted from the translation

• That nothing has been inserted that is not in the original document

• Whether glossary terms have been correctly used

• Whether the formatting is correct

• Whether the appropriate fonts have been used

In addition to this detailed proofreading, checks are carried out to ensure that there are no inadvertent misunderstandings or mistranslations on account of the translation or the proofreading having been done by a Japanese or by a native speaker of the relevant language. For example, if a Japanese-to-English translation has been performed by a native English speaker, a Japanese linguist might be tasked to check that the original Japanese text has been correctly understood.

Quality-enhancing Support for the Translator

Is important to ascertain the quality, characteristics and fields of expertise of each translator. This enables an appropriate translator to be assigned to meet the wishes of the client. For the translator, delivering the translation is not the end of the project. The translator may receive feedback from the proofreader, the client, or the project manager. When necessary, this may give rise to further tasks such as adding amendments or re-thinking parts of the text. This phase serves to enhance the translator's quality and skill levels, and is also an important step in the quality control process.

Supporting Quality Translation

As long as they are human beings, all translators no matter how capable will sometimes make mistakes. Taking this as an assumption, optimal quality control is achieved via a disciplined check by a proofreader, and sometimes with the assistance of IT tools or software.

Translation is more than simply transforming something from language A into language B; it is a complex and delicate task.

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