"Why are Translation Companies Obsessed With 'Translation Quality Assurance'? "

21 February 2022

Any translation company worth their salt will tell you that their quality assurance department is one of the most important parts of the language crafting process. But why are we always talking about it, and what does quality assurance actually mean? Here at e-Arabization, we’re keen to demystify all of our fancy industry terms and turn buzzwords into aha moments for confused customers and language curious readers. 

Ready to learn? Let’s go! 


What We Do When We QA Your Work

Once our awesome linguists have completed their work, the words they’ve translated are handed over to our quality assurance team, where they are bounced around our office and tested for spelling, accuracy, fluency, style and that all-important “X factor”. 


Like many other disciplines, good translation work is a process, not a product, and that means it relies on feedback and evaluation to validate meaning and ensure the final version is delivered in its word-perfect entirety. 


A Fresh Pair of Eyes and a Good Old-Fashioned Read

A translation should never be embarrassing, and that’s why the first step after translating content is a good old fashioned read-through.


It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense, and e-Arabization HQ is full of the stuff (common sense, not rocket science). It’s hard for a translator to objectively assess their own translation, and that’s why quality assurance needs its own department with its own dedicated team.


We don’t want ‘quality assurance’ to feel like this big black box of inaccessible science, because it’s not. That’s why we’ve provided this handy little explainer that demystifies all the terms you might hear us throw around with our language industry buddies.  


What’s a Stylistic Change Anyway? 

When a change doesn’t impact the quality of the translation itself and the purpose of the text isn’t compromised, then sometimes the changes required are preferential, rather than necessary. This is why they’re known as ‘stylistic’ changes rather than ‘essential’ changes. 


At the quality assurance stage, we’ve got to navigate the murky gray area of stylistic changes and make sure we only make language changes that improve the quality of the translation, rather than focusing on switching in like-terms that don’t enhance the translation’s meaning. 


From كنبة to Couch 

A good example of a stylistic change is when we translate the word ‘كنبة’ into the word ‘sofa’. This is a simple word-for-word translation. 


However, if our customer is British, they may ask us to use the word ‘couch’ instead of the more American term, ‘sofa’. In this case, the translation we initially provided isn’t wrong. Still, it’s a stylistic change because perhaps the customer’s end-client is British, and would be more comfortable reading about a couch because that’s their linguistic preference. 


This is why style guides are a vital part of the pre-translation process, and it’s also why we build guides for all our frequent customers. 


Necessary Linguistic Changes 

Sometimes weird wording or inappropriate terminology can weaken translation quality, and this is when we have to consider language changes. There’s a number of criteria to consider before we make changes to text at this level: 


  • What type of content is this?
  • What is the purpose of the content?
  • Does the content speak to its target audience? 
  • Does the content fulfil the purpose? 


Even if the translated words are accurate and correct, it’s still possible for meaning to be lost in translation, and that’s why when we evaluate marketing and advertising copy this step can be particularly helpful. When language is designed to persuade or target certain people, we may need to make creative changes to maintain the power and purpose of the source language text. Idioms and metaphors don’t always translate across geographies, and it’s our job to spot these necessary linguistic changes. 


Spelling, Accuracy and Fluency 

We can’t believe we’ve got this far through a quality assurance blog post without saying the words ‘edit’ or ‘proofread’ but we already feel like this educational journey is going pretty well, don’t you? 


Editing and proofreading are the essential building blocks that good quality assurance is built on. Editors are the artists of the quality assurance world, and once your translation lands in front of the e-Arabization edit squad, they consider the clarity, tone and sentence structure of the piece.


People often think that because translation is a word-for-word process, it’s a simple case of recreating text from one language into another, but languages like Arabic don’t share the same grammar, syntax and vocabulary as English, and we have to account for these changes in our translation review. 


Our proofreaders scan every single piece of content we translate for incorrect and missing punctuation, misspellings, grammatical errors and inconsistencies. Spelling and fluency is an important part of a proofreader's job, and their role is pivotal in creating word-perfect deliveries. A proofreader is usually the last port of call before a project is given its final stamp of approval and sent to you, our wonderful customer. 


The X Factor 

Proofreading is the final official step in our quality assurance process, but making sure your translation project is ready for you involves one, final unofficial step that everyone on the inside of the language industry knows but never really talks about. 


The ‘X factor’. 

Every translator, copywriter, writer or linguist knows it as a sort of feeling. 

A good feeling. A feeling that your work here is done. And no matter what the project is, we always make time to ask ourselves if our work has got the X factor 😎


Process Makes us Better 

Quality assurance isn’t complicated, but it is necessary. Just like any good product or service, we rely on constant assessment, development and feedback in order to create the best end result for our customers. Language perfection takes time, effort and dedication, and that’s why we save preferences and brand-specific terminology to our customer’s translation memory. The more you translate with us, the more we get to know how you communicate with your target audience, and that’s how good translation happens. 

Don’t have a dedicated language service provider yet? How about giving us a shot? 


Need to know more about our quality assurance process, or want to drop a quick Marhaba our way? Visit e-arabization.com and check out how our incredible team translate content for our global customers.