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The Importance of Linguistic Quality Assurance in Translation

A woman checking the linguistic quality of a translation

Verity Hartley at LanguageWireVerity Hartley , Marketing Specialist, LanguageWire ||  Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is the true price of linguistic quality?

In today's global marketplace, it is increasingly important for businesses to be able to accurately communicate with customers, partners, and employees from across the globe.

Poor quality translations could cost your business in revenue, access to global markets, business reputation and in some worst cases scenarios even result in physical harm or loss of life.

Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA) is an essential component of the end-to-end translation process. It plays a key role in making linguistic quality a measurable and achievable goal by ensuring that translations consistently meet the necessary defined standards protecting you, your customers, and your business.

In this article, we will dive a little deeper into how Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA) can help your business take the quality of your translated content to the next level.

What is Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA)?

Linguistic (or Language) Quality Assurance (LQA) is a system of processes for evaluating and verifying the quality of translations across a project. It ensures that the translations are accurate, clear, and convey the intended message. LQA should always be performed by professional linguists who are also subject-matter specialists. They must be experts in target languages and cultures. This includes any language variants such as French and French Canadian.

It is usually in the final stage of a translation or a localization project and endeavours to find and correct all the mistakes, mistranslations and style guide irregularities that may have been overlooked at earlier stages. LQA is an often overlooked project phase but it can make the difference in turning your translated content from good to excellent.

What is the Purpose of an LQA Review?

Adding a linguistic quality assurance review stage to your translation projects ensures the highest quality in your final products.

Some believe that editing and proofreading are enough to catch the majority of errors produced within the translation process. While they do help detect mistakes, some will often slip through undetected. This is often due to a difference of opinion on subjective translation errors and the lack of a standardised ruleset. That is why fixed guidelines on translation criteria are an essential part of a quality assurance system.

How does Quality Assurance differ from Quality Assessment?

Quality assurance and quality assessment are related but not the same. Typically quality assurance (QA) refers to the system or process that helps optimise the quality as a whole across a project, such as the translation of an app, a product or a large document.

A quality assessment is a step added to evaluate the quality of a translation against a pre-defined set of standards. For example, a quality assessment can be performed by a third-party linguist who evaluates and scores the translation for completeness and correctness.

After a translation is completed, another additional step, the review, is added to ensure the overall linguistic quality of a project. While a review can also look at individual pieces of translated content, for example checking only some specific parts of the translation, it also allows you to take a step back and look at the final product as a whole.

The review should be carried out by language experts who have not been involved in the process so far, to provide the greatest level of objectivity. This will ensure the content achieves the highest standard of linguistic quality and cultural consistency.

In addition to the above, there is also Localization Quality Assurance to consider. This looks at the bigger picture beyond simply the translated content and makes sure the necessary tools are in place to assess the layout, formatting, imagery and even UX functionality of content such as websites, video games, documents or software applications. It can also be used to assess the entire process end to end and find workflow improvements.

However, all of these systems and processes are working towards the same goal: providing high-quality translations and localized content for your audiences.

Linguistic Quality Assurance: An Essential Workflow Step

Certain industries, where translation quality can result in legal ramifications or even potential harm to an end user, cannot afford to not include quality assurance in their translation workflows.

Poor quality translations will reduce a company's credibility and reputation and can often prove to be a costly mistake to fix. They can delay or even prevent a product's access to the global markets resulting in lost business going to your competitors.

At LanguageWire we hold quality at the centre of everything we do for our clients and within our internal processes. You can learn more about our commitment to our quality policy here. Or if you would like to speak to us about how you can introduce quality assurance to your own projects please fill out the contact form below and someone will be in touch.

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