Linguistic quality assurance (LQA) deals with verifying the precision of a translation for its cultural accuracy, linguistic phrasing, terminology etc. The aim is to ensure accuracy and the best quality of the localized content. Regardless of the project involving document translation, audio translation or video translation, LQA is a crucial aspect of the process.
There is nothing that can change the meaning of a business’s marketing efforts like an insignificant translation error. Mistakes in spelling, incorrect grammar or the wrong idiomatic expression are major factors of localizing content. Without a doubt, you must have encountered such translations that are clumsily translated word for word and generally, do not make much sense or do not convey the intended meaning. No business wants that. To have the maximum impact, they want the translation to sound exactly like it was natively written in that language.
This is why LQA holds so much importance. It needs to be applied and integrated during each step of the translation process. If it is not, and mistakes spill over from one step to another, it can be quite costly and time-consuming to correct. In some cases, the business will most likely have to start the process again.
For instance, there are special quality assurance issues that occur when translating for the healthcare industry as they tend to talk about people’s lives. Incorrect translations affect the quality of healthcare as well as increasing the chances of liability and malpractice claims leading to running afoul of legislative, regulatory and accreditation mandates if the content is not accurately localized.
Similarly, if the business makes software products, there is a lot more involved than simple translation. It often involves adapting content for programming interfaces, operating systems, search engines, currency and accounting standards, the culturally dependent meaning of icons, date formats, calendar systems and many more. A single mistake in any of these can potentially throw off everything down the line.
For accurate incorporation of LQA, it is vital to make translation and editing a two-step process that leverages two different linguists. Ideally, an editor primarily checks and proofreads the project completed by the original translator for accuracy and comprehensiveness. The translation and editing are then proofread by a native linguist. They mark the areas that require improvement and then carry out the necessary edits.
Linguistic quality assurance ensures that a business’s final translation project is technically, linguistically and culturally accurate. It is judged on industry correctness – meaning it is reviewed based on the context to the specific business industry such as financial services, technology, medicine etc.
The final translation that is created at the end of the LQA process should appear as natural to the target audience as it is to the original target market.
The key in ensuring this is incorporating specific processes, procedures, technologies and a human touch, and blend them together to formulate a solution that is specific and unique to a business’s particular translation project. Each project is different and diverse, meaning that not every LQA solution is the same.
The linguistic quality assurance providers usually save their projects and methods used in a database, known as translation memory. This allows them to leverage that knowledge for future projects, enabling cost savings and speeding up the terminology localization across all their projects.