Translation Quality Assurance Checklist

Key considerations for ensuring quality translations

Often, people believe the translation process is as simple as replacing a word in language 1 for a word in language 2. In reality, translation requires skill, expertise, time, effort, and research. A translator reads and absorbs an entire concept and mentally appraises how the concept would be best perceived by a reader of the new language. Only then, can the translator take up the keyboard. Translations are then revised by an editor to verify that the message is clearly conveyed in the target language and contains no spelling and grammar errors. Additionally, translation teams consider how the new text is laid out on the page, whether proper nouns or trademarks should be left in their original language, and complex number formatting for dates, decimals, and currency.  These many and intricate details are some basis for the ISO 17100:2015 translation standard requiring all documents to be reviewed by two or three professional linguists. As each Verbio teammate writes and revises a translation, s/he is expected to review this checklist of quality considerations:

Check out the checklist Verbio uses to evaluate translations:

1. Change the document’s language settings to the proper locale. Run a spelling and grammar check application using the proper language/dialect settings.

2. Font: Does the document use the correct fonts and text direction matching the target language (especially important for Asian and Middle Eastern languages)? Do characters display correctly, including accented characters, non-Latin characters, and Arabic or Persian glyphs that change shape based on the surrounding characters? Was the proper text encoding applied?

3. Word placement: Is the translation located in the proper place on the page?

4. Word-wrapping: Different languages follow different rules for hyphenation, so verify that line breaks occur in suitable locations. Control widows and orphans, meaning verify single words are not left hanging at the bottom of a paragraph and single lines do not wrap onto the next page.

5. Truncated strings: Similarly, ensure words were not cut off or obscured when they were inserted into the layout.

6. Punctuation: Is the proper punctuation character applied and is it appropriately spaced relative to the surrounding letters. Examples: French uses a non-breaking space to separate a word from a question mark. Chinese and Japanese use distinctive quotation marks and periods. British and American English have different rules regarding whether to place the comma inside or outside of quotation marks).

7. Capitalization: Does the translation follow proper capitalization rules for the target locale? Examples: German nouns are always capitalized. English often capitalizes the first word after a colon, but French and Spanish apply lowercase. Should keywords in a title be capitalized in the new language?

8. Translation: Check for mistranslations, grammar errors, and syntax errors. Ensure words are chosen based on their suitability for this context and culture.

9. Translation: Verify that all sentences, words, graphics, and buttons have been translated (no missing translations). Were consistent terms used for same concept (except when a target language/context discourages repeating the same word in nearby paragraphs).

10. Graphics: Beyond the words, are all colors, symbols, and gestures culturally appropriate? Pay careful attention to culturally appropriate use of national flags, national landmarks, and body parts.

We discourage using flags in your multilingual website, unless the content is country-specific. Many languages are spoken in multiple countries.

Dates and times are formatted in various ways in different parts of the world. Some cultures even use different calendars entirely. These considerations regularly cause confusion.

11. Data and numbering formats: Are the correct culturally appropriate formats applied to numerals, date order (ddmmyy, mmddyy, ddMMMyyyy, etc.), time, calendar (Gregorian, Arabic lunar, Chinese, Japanese imperial, etc.), addresses, currency symbol, decimal and thousand separators, etc.?

12. Graphics containing text: when images contain embedded text, has this been translated according to the project specifications? Options are to leave the text untranslated, to rebuild the graphic with the translation, or to provide a legend showing the corresponding translation.

13. Formatting: source format is replicated in terms of bold, italics, underlining, bulleted lists, numbered lists, tables, columns, headers/footers, page numbers, paragraph breaks, BATES numbers, etc. Use consistent capitalization and punctuation for all bullet lists and numbered lists and table/column/row headings.

Everyone involved in a translation project (Translator, Editor, Graphic Designer, Project Manager, QA Reviewer) should be familiar with these elements and check for these elements at each stage of the translation process. Verbio Project Managers diligently attend to this list when going through your translation process to make sure we meet and perform every step.

ISO-17100 STANDARD TRANSLATION TEAM AND PROCESS

Our translation process is approved and defined by the American Translation Association (ATA).  In addition, Verbio has a written quality management manual and has passed a certification audit for compliance with ISO 17100 for translation services. We bring to bear 24 years of professional translation experience and deep knowledge of industry best practices. Each translation is reviewed by multiple language experts, who have been handpicked based on their technical familiarity with the subject matter, language and culture at hand. What follows is a graphical and a narrative version of our Standard Operating Procedures.

Dedicated Project Manager (Primary POC)

Verbio will assign a dedicated Translation Project Manager (a primary point of contact, with a backup) who listens to the Customer describe their needs, who informs the Customer about services Verbio provides, and who discusses the best practices to align with Customer’s general parameters, as well as specific expectations for each project. Project needs and expectations include the desired project timetable, style and reading level preferences, language and dialect needs, subject matter specialties, file types, graphic design elements, sensitivities to specific cultural or familial situations, etc.  Translation Project Manager converts files to formats that translators and editors are able to work in, then works with Verbio’s Graphic Designer to place the translation in the same page layout, even when the translation is much longer or shorter than the original text. 

If you have any more questions and/or are ready to trust us with your next multicultural and multilingual project, contact us now.