Linguistic Quality Assurance or commonly referred to as LQA is an activity of assessing/evaluating the quality of the translation product, apart from editing and proofreading using a very systematic language assessment form. The form might be different from one language provider to another language provider. This LQA is performed on the writtent text with various purposes. Some are for hiring new linguists, some are for evaluating and assessing the quality of the translation before it is widely consumed by the target readers. At least, this is what we have identified so far.
Who needs the LQA service?
- End users; can be company in general, can be meticulous individual
- Translation companies/agencies
Other entities might have the same needs, but the case is very rare.
Who should perform the LQA?
- Senior linguist with at least 5-year experience in the language industry
- Certified linguist/translator, thus the assessment can be fully held responsible
Junior linguists or newbies are not allowed to perform this LQA as there are so many complex things involved in the activity. The LQA performer should at least master the basic rule of the target and source languages in any possible forms. Literally, he/she has to be able to distinguish the correct and standard words used in certain context and can fluently explain what it is during the LQA performance. It is the strong reason why newbies are now allowed to perform this service as the result will not be valid.
What aspects should be checked and assessed?
- Mistranslation: Incorrect understanding of the source text.
- Accuracy: Omissions, additions, incorrect cross-references (UI options, chapter titles, book titles, etc.).
- Terminology: Glossary adherence.
- Language: Grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation or style error; left-over after correcting only a part of the sentence.
- Guidelines: Adherence to job guidelines (styleguide, language guidelines, technical instructions, etc.)
- Country Standards: Adherence to job guidelines (styleguide, language guidelines, technical instructions, etc.)
- Consistency: Inconsistency in GUI-terminology, cross-project terminology, abbreviation, phrases, or conventions.
- Techical: Wrong layout, etc
You may more or less aspects than one described here. Again, this is a matter of style.
In determining the severuty levels, there are various versions to be the standard, but at least following levels should be there:
- Critical: Major error repeated several times or error preventing product introduction to the market, e.g. causing an application to crash, misrepresenting application's functionality; an error which may carry safety, health or legal consequences.
- Major: Error in a visible part of documentation or software, e.g. heading, table or contents, menu command, or error misrepresenting the source text, or minor error repeated several times.
- Minor: An error of a lesser severity than a major error.
Some language providers may also add preferential or petty level. This is also correct and none is wrong.
LQA form for use can be like one shown below. It will record all the errors logged by the assessor. You may see other forms as well.
Normal and best practice
Normally, it takes two hours to complete a thousand-words LQA project. The practice is actually not that simple. There are some activities beyond our normal perception that we may predict and accept. Some translation companies may randomly take several words to be LQA-ed to know if the translation provided by their linguists meets the requirements as expected. This is ranging from 1,500 words (to represent full 5,000 words) and more and this practice is at the companies' sole discreation.
To the best of our knowledge and experience, this LQA should not be done at the same time, meaning that no matter what, the LQA should be delivered back the next day after the project hand-off. Say, a translation company sent out a 1,500-words LQA project on Thursday, then the LQA report should be sent back on Friday. This will allow the linguist/LQA performer to find his/her best time assessing and evaluating the translation, thus no invalid report is generated. Translator and the LQA performer arrive at the universal conclusion; all errors logged are valid based on their both understanding.
Rate and turnaround
Rate that applies to this service will be varied, fully depending on several aspects. However, this LQA service may be charged based on the hours spent in performing the task. In this, the outsourcer/client and linguist shall make agreement in advance on how many words can be tackled in an hour and the rate can be then agreed upon per hour. This is also applicable to the per-word charge. You may set your own standard on how much you will charge your client for a 1,000-words LQA project.
As LQA on the translation generated is essential to generate best translation possible, the longer time, the better. However, this is again at your sole discrestion and accepting or rejecting is always an option. Please also see our thoughts on scorecarding here.