Translation Quality Assurance Process

Last Updated July 14, 2017

How do translations fail? Well, often it’s because of a bad translation quality assurance process. You might think it’s impossible that translations would fail, given that the translations are done by native speakers. A good translation is dependant on how the content is handled every step of the way.

Selecting Your Team

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. It is recommended they are local and native speakers. Being local helps when the testing setup needs specific methodology or technology.

Our Translation Quality Assurance Process

Before you begin the process, you need to 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.

Content Check

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 didn’t do this, and went through translating to 15 languages, that would be the same mistake 15 times. These issues need to be caught before a translator does their work to save time on reworking each languages translation.


The translator is given access to the items and asked to translate them. As mentioned, they are familiar with the field (sports, technology, media) of the item. 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.

Editing 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 one you choose depends on which audiences the content was meant for and the context in which it is presented in.

The editor ensures that the work is translated well. This can be anything from correcting spelling errors to confirming word choice. The initial translation will be placed into different file types, and to save time on correcting the completed files, editors make recommendations.These recommendations are reviewed by the original translator, and either implemented or rejected based on specific feedback. When there is disagreement, a third party is required to settle which translation is best, ensuring the right decision is made.

Localization 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.

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 its quality, it is best to have a team with experience and a set process. Are you struggling with translation and localization? We can help!

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