Translation Quality Assurance Process: Not a Single Step

Last Updated February 17, 2022

Good translation depends on how you handle the content from start to finish. Translation quality assurance plays into each step along the way.

Why do translation projects fail? Well, often it’s because of a faulty translation quality assurance process.

Don’t think of quality assurance as something to do at the end. Implement a “quality first” mindset every step of the way.

Our Translation Quality Assurance Process

Before you begin the process, create a thorough set of instructions. The instructions specify terminology, tone of voice, use of symbols (™, ®), include reference materials, and glossaries – essentially anything that would aid in the translation of the source material.

1. Team Selection

Translators are almost always native speakers, and in some cases even experts in specific dialects. Translators should also have a background in translation studies, and specialize in the field they are translating for (technology, marketing, legal, etc.)

Editors are also native speakers. These native speaking editors read over the work of the original translator, ensuring accuracy in the translation. The interaction between the teams varies, but it can help to have them work together to amend changes.

Localization engineers are chosen meticulously. They place all translated materials into their final forms (apps, media, websites, etc.), and tend to be the only part of this team that works in-office. Localization engineers ensure that the translated material gets from the source to the target.

Quality Assurance testers would be the final people to receive the work. Try to bring in local and native speakers. Being local helps when the testing setup needs specific methodology or technology.

2. Content Checks

Once you have the item you need to translate, it has to go through an English quality check. This check ensures that the English version of the text is true to its meaning, formality, and context.


If you don’t do this, and translate the content into to 15 languages, that would be the same mistake 15 times. Catch issues before a translator does their work to save time and money on reworking each translation.

3. Translation

Grant the translator access to the items and the corresponding instructions. Ideally, they’re familiar with the field in question (technology, medicine, finance). This translator also understands the formality and tones of each piece they are translating. These changes may seem insignificant in English, but in many languages it changes formality and tone completely.

Korean is a great language to look at pertaining to formality. When saying hello, the formal manner is “Ann-yeong-ha-sae-yo” (안녕하세요). Informally, a person would say “Ann-yeong” (안녕). The right translation depends on the intended and the proper context.

As part of the translation quality assurance process, an editor checks the work. This can be anything from correcting spelling errors to confirming word choice.

The initial translation is placed into different file types. To save time on correcting the completed files, editors make recommendations. The original translator reviews the recommendations. They reject or implement them accordingly.

When there is disagreement, for example, a third party is brought in to endorse the right decision.

4. Engineering

The translations are now put through the process of implementation. Most of the text we translate belongs in media files, meaning they need to be formatted and placed into ads, subtitles, or html files.

The localization engineers take care of these processes. They are not required to speak the languages as they work on the technical files (pdfs, images, videos, apps, etc.) of translations. They place the translations, using computer assisted translation tools, into their respective formats.

5. Quality Assurance

QA testers handle the last step of translation, and are native speakers of the language they work on. They check over the work that is placed into the final form of the project the localization engineer produced.

Context is an important part of translation quality assurance. The formality rules and context of the overall product affect the translation. When it pertains to a subject with specific terms (like sports or technology) the language can change, and QA ensures appropriate compliance.

If translation quality assurance discovers an issue, the next step is to send it back to the localization engineers. The engineers receive instructions on what to correct and how to correct it. This then goes back to QA and repeats until it is confirmed to have zero issues.

Translation is difficult to manage. To ensure quality, it’s best to have a team with experience and a set translation quality assurance process.

Are you struggling with translation and localization? We can help!

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