A Guide to Translation Quality Management: Principles and Methodology


Quality management is the process of monitoring and measuring the quality of a product or service to ensure it meets the standards set by your organization.

When it comes to managing translation quality, this means you need to have processes in place to review translated documents, check for any errors, and take action when there are problems.

Other departments such as content creation and localization may have their own specific quality management methods. However, every department within an organization that creates or translates documents needs some form of quality management. This is to ensure consistency throughout all materials published with their name on them. Translation is no different.

This article will explain what translation quality management is, why it’s important, and how you can implement a QA process in your project.

Why is Translation Quality Management Important?

When you’re reviewing translated content, you’re looking for a number of things including grammatical errors, consistency of terminology, clarity of language, and cultural sensitivity.

With proper review and quality assurance processes in place, you can ensure your translated content is both accurate and consistent with your brand identity, making it more reliable and trustworthy. You can use translation quality management to:

  • Improve customer trust and engagement – Bad or incorrect translations can hurt your brand damage. Your customers can also lose trust in your service.
  • Avoid legal issues – Bad, inaccurate translations can also land your organization in hot water with regulatory bodies such as the Federal Trade Commission. If the content you publish with your name on it is misleading or otherwise deceptive, you could be charged with false advertising.
  • Save time and money – By checking your translated content for errors, you’ll save time by having fewer documents to re-translate. You’ll also save money by avoiding costly litigation in some cases.

How to Implement QA in Your Project?

The best way to implement translation quality management is to create a QA checklist and assign this to the person responsible for reviewing the translation before it gets published. This person should conduct a thorough review of the translated content checking against the following items on their checklist:

  • Grammar and sentence structure consistency – Are sentences structured in the same way throughout? Does the translated content flow well?
  • Cultural and linguistic appropriateness – Does the translated content reflect your organization’s cultural identity? Are there any instances of poor cultural or linguistic choices?
  • Terminology consistency – Does the translated content use the same terminology throughout? Are there any inconsistencies in the terminology used?
  • Grammar mistakes – Are there any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors?
  • Readability and clarity – Does the translated content read clearly? Are there any areas that are ambiguous or unclear?
  • Document flow and structure – Does the translated content flow in a logical way? Do paragraphs and sections make sense?
  • Document length – Is the translation the appropriate length for the intended audience? – Document format – Does the translated content fit into the desired publication format?

QA Tools for Translation Projects

There’re several QA tools available out there for translation projects. You can use these to help manage translation quality and streamline your review and editing process.

  • Translation memory – A translation memory is a database that contains previously translated content. You can use translation memory software to search these databases for previously translated documents and reuse them in your current project.
  • Translation checkers – Translation checkers or proofreaders are automated proofreading tools that can identify potential issues with grammar and spelling.
  • Translation transparency tools – Translation transparency tools allow you to share translated documents online and invite team members or stakeholders to leave comments on the work as they review it. This makes it easier to collaborate on translations and review work as it’s being translated.
  • Localization software – Localization software is a QA tool that allows you to manage the entire localization process in one place. You can use localization tools to manage terminology and terminology databases, streamline terminology review processes, and track project timelines.

Tips for Managing Translation Quality

Here are a few tips for managing translation quality as part of your project’s QA process.

  • Start with source document quality – It’s important to start with source documents that are clear, concise, and consistent. If your original content is poorly written, there’s no amount of editing or rewriting that can fix the problems.
  • Hire a reputable translation company – Reputable organizations hire translators who are familiar with the terminology of their industry and are experienced in translating content related to their specific subject matter. You can search online to see if the language industry bodies have any information on translation companies in your area.
  • Manage expectations – Make sure your stakeholders or team members understand that translation is a process that takes time. Sudden changes in project timelines can cause problems for translators who are working to meet tight deadlines.

The Bottom line

To ensure that your translated content is consistent with your brand, you need to have processes in place to review translated documents. With proper review and quality assurance processes, you can ensure your translated content is both accurate and compatible with your brand identity, making it more reliable and trustworthy.