Rick White - Director of Client Services
Client-side/Internal Translation Review –The Most Valuable QA Step
The quality of your content is often best judged by your people. If you have the resources…
For clients who have the resources available, a client-side review of translated materials can be an invaluable QA step. After all, who knows your products better than the people that are creating, selling, and distributing them? A client-side translation reviewer can focus on ensuring that your unique branding and terminology is incorporated in the final language localization and translation while also verifying that no errors or omissions exist. That being said, translation review can be a tricky and sometimes frustrating process. We’re going to examine some of the reasons why and discuss some of the tricks we have learned that can streamline the translation review process and allow us to maximize the ROI of this very important step.
What should the translation reviewer do (and what shouldn’t they do)?
Before we discuss who the best person is to conduct a translation review we’re going to talk about what the reviewer needs to be doing in the review. This will help us determine who is the best candidate. What should the reviewer be looking for?
Terminology – The reviewer knows your industry and your products really well. We can leverage that knowledge and expertise when it comes to the translation of key terminology. The reviewer should be looking closely at how the translation/review team has translated key terminology and provide suggestions that may make the translation more accurate or specific.
Branding – Ideally your reviewer understands the way that your company markets and brands itself and will be able to identify opportunities in the translation where unique branding, based on the specific market, may be relevant.
Outright errors / omissions – This is the lowest priority during client-side translation review since at this point your language service provider should have provided an error free translation, but it is still significant. Often, the layout of a document, website, or software product is handled following translation and errors or omissions may not become evident until the translation is in its final format. Identifying issues at this stage is critical and companies will often rely on in-country resources to manage this step.
What shouldn’t the reviewer do?
Make stylistic or preferential changes – The biggest pitfall of client-side translation review is the introduction of stylistic or preferential changes to the translation. Any change that does not fall into one of the categories mentioned above is most likely a stylistic or preferential change. These types of changes have no impact on the quality of the translation and they should be avoided as they tend to slow down the translation process and can reduce the overall ROI of this step. It can be difficult to avoid stylistic and preferential changes but choosing the right person to do the review has a huge impact.
Who should be doing the translation review?
Now that we know what the translation review process entails we can determine who has the correct qualifications to be the most effective reviewer. Let’s take a look at the preferred qualifications for a client-side translation reviewer:
Availability – The person tasked with language localization and translation review has to first of all have the time available to conduct a thorough translation review. Companies rarely have the need to keep a full-time translation reviewer on staff, so the people tasked with translation review are often busy enough with their own work that it is difficult for them to commit to the extra time required to conduct a review at all, much less doing it by your deadline. Finding a resource with time available is very important.
Bi-lingual – To be able to truly judge the effectiveness and quality of a translation the reviewer needs to be fully bi-lingual. Ideally the reviewer would have full competency in both languages, but at the very least the individual should have excellent reading and writing ability in the target language, and at least a rudimentary knowledge of the source language. If the reviewer can’t understand both the source and the target language it is likely that they will often misinterpret the intent of the translator and they will be more likely to make stylistic and preferential changes.
Product / branding knowledge – Since the primary value that the translation reviewer brings is in refining the terminology and branding of the translation it is critical that the person doing the review is extremely familiar with the product itself. Without product knowledge the reviewer will not be able to identify key terminology and suggest proper replacements when required. As a result, strong candidates for translation review often come from the sales/marketing group, or engineering/technical.
Logistical Guidelines for Translation Review
Once the linguistic guidelines are set and the proper candidate has been chosen we can now address the actual logistical process of translation review. Whether it’s software, documentation, website content or any other type of content, there will be file transfer, file handling, feedback gathering, and review implementation issues that will have to be dealt with. In order to avoid receiving a 500 page technical document faxed to you with handwritten notes in a language you can’t read it’s important to determine the logistical guidelines up front. Your translation vendor will most likely have some recommendations for how files should be transferred and feedback collected, or they may have a technology answer for this step. Language Intelligence has developed our Intellireview tool specifically for this purpose.
The best way to make client-side translation review seamless is to be proactive about setting language localization guidelines, recruiting the right people to do the review and determining the most effective logistical process (and then constantly refining it). Your language service provider will undoubtedly have experience in conducting a successful translation review and will be able to engage in setting up best practices beforehand. If you have any questions or would like to share your own translation review experiences, we want to hear from you!