Everything Translation
Everything Translation

Quality Assessment of Translations

There are three steps involved in the translation process: translation, editing, and proofreading.

Generally, there are three steps involved in the translation process, and these are translation, editing, and proofreading processes. We say generally because it’s often wise with high word volume translation projects to add an additional step just to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality.

This final step is known in the translation industry as QA or Quality Assessment.

What Is Translation Quality Assessment?

Translation quality assessment is the systematic evaluation of translated content to gauge its accuracy, acceptability, and readability in comparison to the source material. It serves as a critical process in the realm of translation services to ensure that the final output aligns with the intended objectives and target audience. Translation quality goes beyond mere linguistic accuracy; it encompasses cultural nuances, context, and the overall coherence of the translated text.

The assessment process involves meticulous examination by linguists and experts, who scrutinize factors like grammar, terminology, and fluency. Ultimately, translation quality assessment plays a pivotal role in determining whether a translation successfully conveys the source message while meeting the expectations and standards of the audience.

The Need for TQA

The requirement for Translation Quality Assessment (TQA) becomes evident in extensive projects where linguistic or translation assistance is essential. Even within a single document, certain sections might be replicated, potentially leading to variations in translation choices. Language, being inherently nuanced, can offer multiple translation methods for a single word or phrase.

These interpretations are inherently subjective and can vary among different editors working on the same project. Such disparities can give rise to inconsistencies in the translated or target documents. TQA acts as a crucial quality control mechanism, helping ensure that translations remain accurate, coherent, and aligned with the intended message across all segments of the project, promoting overall quality and consistency.

3 Steps to Assessing Translation Quality

Ensuring high-quality translations is paramount in bridging language barriers effectively. In the following sections, we will delve into the translation quality assessment process, detailing the three key steps to assess translation quality. We’ll explore how maintaining consistency with a term base contributes to accuracy and acceptability, shedding light on the importance of cross-linguistic practice in upholding rigorous quality standards in the translation industry.

Explaining the Quality Assessment Process

In the Quality Assessment step, computer tools are used to evaluate translation quality and detect inconsistencies, to ensure that the correct terms have been used, to check spelling and punctuation, and to check for multiple spaces, formatting errors, and repeated words. The majority of inconsistencies occur when more than one linguist is involved in a large translation project which includes segments that have been repeated throughout the text.

As we know, one single word (and of course a whole sentence) can have several different translations, so when you’ve got two editors working together on a project, it’s highly likely that each editor will use a different version.

Quality Assessment –The Final Step!

The person responsible for Quality Assessment will be the person who decides on the correct format and the option that’s most accurate when it comes to that particular text: it’s this person who’s responsible for ensuring consistency throughout all segments of the project. This final step of the translation process will ensure that the end client receives a consistent final product.

Staying True to the Term Base

Vitally important, also, is ensuring that the correct terminology has been used, and this is usually done utilizing Quality Assessment tools. These tools assist in verifying that the terms according to the term base of the project were properly used. It’s true that translators have easy access to the term base while working on a translation, but there’s always the possibility that, while attempting to determine the complexities of the source text, they could well overlook some terms.

So, during the Quality Assessment process, a final inspection is made to ensure that there’s been proper usage of the term base.

Parameters Influencing Translation Quality

1. Meaning:

The foremost criterion for translation quality is the accurate conveyance of meaning from the source language to a native speaker of the target language. A high-quality translation should faithfully capture the intended message, preserving context, tone, and nuance. This demands a deep understanding of both the source and target languages, as well as the subject matter.

2. Wording / Expression:

The choice of words and the overall expression of the translation are crucial. It entails crafting a translation that not only conveys the meaning of original text accurately but also flows naturally in the target language. Achieving this balance requires linguistic finesse, cultural awareness, and a keen sense of style.

3. Errors:

Translation should be free from errors, whether they are grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors. Errors can disrupt comprehension and some translation errors can undermine the professionalism of the translated content.

4. Consistency:

Maintaining consistency throughout the translation is essential. This includes consistency in terminology, style, and formatting. Consistency ensures that the translation reads as a coherent and unified piece, enhancing its overall quality and readability.

Why can translation quality management be tricky?

Translation quality management can be a complex endeavor due to several inherent challenges. Firstly, languages are dynamic, and context can significantly impact translation choices, making it challenging to maintain consistency. Additionally, translation is subjective, involving personal interpretations and linguistic nuances that can vary among translators. Managing a team of translators and ensuring uniformity in their work is another hurdle.

Moreover, tight deadlines and budget constraints may compromise the thorough review and editing processes necessary for full translation quality assurance. Finally, the continuous evolution of language and industry-specific terminology requires ongoing adaptation. Addressing these challenges demands a combination of linguistic expertise, technology integration, and effective project management to consistently achieve and maintain high-quality translations.

Evaluating a translation’s quality of expression

Assessing the quality of expression in a translation is a nuanced task, often best performed by native speakers who possess an intuitive “feel” for their language. Generally, native speakers tend to reach a consensus on what constitutes good wording.

However, linguistic preferences can vary, with one linguist finding a phrase well-worded while another deems it somewhat awkward. This discrepancy arises from personal connotations and attachments to words and expressions formed through life experiences. Our diverse backgrounds result in distinct linguistic preferences, making it natural for one linguist to perceive phrasing as unnatural while another finds it entirely acceptable.

These differences reflect individual word-choice preferences, illustrating the subjective nature of translation evaluation.

Completing a Spelling and Grammar Check

Obviously, a vitally important part of the quality assessment process of any project using machine translation is to perform a spelling and grammar check. Possibly the easiest way to perform this check is to open the text in an MS Word file and run the grammar and spelling check there. This check is almost unnecessary because the text has already been reviewed and passed through various linguistic steps; however, it’s imperative that the final translated document be 100% accurate when delivered to the end client.

Producing High-Quality, Accurate Translations

Performing a Quality Assessment of the translated document ensures that the final product is consistent, coherent, and that there are no formatting or spelling areas. Any text that’s passed all these rigid tests will be easy to read and understand, and isn’t that ultimately what we’re all striving for with our translated documents? Consistent, accurate translated documents ultimately means happy, loyal end-clients!

author post

Liraz Postan

Liraz is an International SEO and Content Expert with over 13 years of experience.


Need fast, high-quality translation?

Translate now

Get in Touch

Looking to natively embed your presence in new world markets? Speak with a representative today to discuss the perfect BLEND of localization services.