Gain in-depth knowledge and perspective on various aspects and topics of translation and translation industry
The terms ‘Translation’ and ‘Localization’ are often mistakenly interchanged and misused when referring to the translation of content, and, even though they share the same purpose, their meaning and approach towards their achievement are inherently different.
What is Translation? – Translation can be defined as the literal word-for-word transformation of a source text into the target language.
What is Localization? – Localization can be defined as the linguistic adaptation of content for the target region, its languages, and cultural particularities to make it appropriate, easily understandable, and comfortable to use for local native language speakers.
What defines High-Quality Localization
According to a SOCi Market report on the top 5 insights into the Power of Localized Social Marketing, the future of enhanced brand engagement lies in effective content localization strategies that ‘speak the language’ customers want to hear.
It goes without saying that the high-quality translation output that brands and companies worldwide are seeking cannot be achieved without an effective Content Localization Strategy.
The purpose (function) of a translation determines the strategic methods to be applied in its execution (principle of functionality). The translation of a given source text can be rendered in many different versions, highlighting the principle of interpretation and mirroring of the source text in a target language from a socio-cultural framework standpoint.
And Quality is inherently and inextricably linked to functionality. Ideally, a good, accurate and adequate translation will fulfil to the communicative functions required and expected by the target audience.
High-quality Localization Framework
High-Quality Localization is heavily reliant on two main quality control aspects: LQA and LQC.
Localization Quality Assurance, abbreviated as LQA refers to a comprehensive process of ensuring quality translation and localization output, involving the acquisition, training, and management of qualified ‘human ware’ (Linguistic Project Managers, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and Linguistic Analysts) and their respective tools (Translation and Localization hardware and software).
In order to ensure standard-compliant Translation Quality Assurance, Language Services Providers (LSPs) are required to devise and optimize long-term, comprehensive strategies for providing the relevant training and feedback to linguistic vendors involved in the processes, as well as for the internal management of translation assets such as client Translation Memories (TMs), term bases and Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools.
On the other hand, Linguistic Quality Control (LQC) implies more specific, short-term procedures, which make up a solid segment of the entire Translation Quality Assurance process.
Linguistic Quality Control (LQC) entails fine-tuning the final translation product, ensuring that there are no blatant flaws and that the linguistic steps of the process (translation, editing, proofreading) have been successfully performed in terms of resolving inconsistencies, misspellings, and mismatches.
According to the Project Management Institute Annual Report, Project Quality Management entails a series of processes and activities undertaken by a translation-performing organization to “determine quality policies, objectives, and responsibilities so that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken” (PMI, 2013, p. 227).
Applying this rule to Translation Project Quality Management exclusively, the QA process would imply a complex translation ecosystem coordinated by Project Managers (PMs), Linguistic Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and QA Analysts performing in-depth quality control based on parameters of translation linguistic and stylistic accuracy, project and language-specific key-metrics and UI/UX variables.
Top 5 ways to Achieve High-Quality Localization
According to the SOCi Report, 66% of web content impressions are derived from fully localized pages, while 72% of brand engagement happens on localized pages, with businesses seeking to reach out and resonate with international audiences. Google data shows that most users are influenced by and act on content incentives localized in their specific language due to the familiarity and relevance that the localized content represents for them. A user will always be drawn to localized pages, incentives, or calls to action in their own language, as this implies a direct appeal to their culture, making it easier to navigate content complexities and access the most relevant results.
Isolating the linguistic relevancy for specific markets and targeted audiences through relevant analytics (e.g., Google Analytics, Audience Analytics embedded on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) will tailor your content to the highest-ranking language combinations, as well as provide you a clear picture of the specific cultural requirements you will need to be mindful of when leveraging the content for your specific target niche.
Utilizing the TEP (Translation - Editing - Proofreading) localization workflow properly guarantees superior quality translation output to end clients, meeting specific requirements, avoiding blatant mistakes and the offending of any cultural sensitivities. It is of utmost importance to thoroughly render source texts accurately into target languages, both in terms of structure, content, style, brand voice, and overall text flow, in order to mitigate potential linguistic and formatting mishaps.
A thorough understanding of relevant terminology, precision when using vocabulary, and a good grasp of technical concepts are of maximum importance when handling complex clinical trial documents, medical product, or process descriptions or specific marketing texts, fraught with linguistic complexity, specific jargon, or creative lingo, of which translators, editors and proof-readers need to present thorough comprehension and an ability to adapt to and research.
This savoir-faire of TEP SMEs is mandatory when executing demanding localization tasks, as the stakes can be very high when tackling brand-specific documentation or high-profile case files, on which the image of enterprises and individuals depends.
QA and LQA parameters inherently depend on the specific project needs and requirements, ranging from complex terminology-endowed life sciences translations to technical Website Localization or Video Game Localization, Legal or Marketing Transcreation projects.
The specific requirements and demands of these translation projects are met through QA modules embedded in CAT tools, which cover Quality control parameters such as terminology, formatting, punctuation, missing or incomplete translations, and compliance with local standards.
By involving bilingual SMEs in the Localization process, with cross-revision performed by a second SME with proven bilingual knowledge applicable to the specific field of the translation project and third-party proofreading and fine-tuning by a native editor with a substantial grasp of the cultural background and regulatory framework of the target language, any enterprise can always stay on top of the localization trends and expectations, reducing the risks of missing out on important details for the best possible localization output for their business.
The most popular CAT tools used in Translation QA (Quality Assurance) are MemoQ, SDL Trados Studio, Across, and Wordfast, which have integrated, configurable QA functions that prove beneficial for any translator or Quality Assurance analyst in reviewing the translation performance profile.
In very complex translation projects, where it is essential that quality requirements and standards are fully met without exceptions, standalone Quality Assurance software tools are also employed in terms of cross-checking generic and specific inconsistencies and generating reports to showcase the performance metrics of the respective translation (e.g. the most widely used tools are Verifika, Xbench, QA Distiller, Linguistic Toolbox).
Last, but certainly not least, another relevant way to future-proof any localization strategy and ensure high-quality linguistic output is a thoroughly documented Localization strategy and a style guide.
Style guides are instrumental for ensuring content alignment both linguistically, as well as culturally, and contextually, including information such as:
Covering all relevant content touchpoints in a style guide or Localization kit, from website copy to UI/UX, as well as transactional communication, cross-cultural currencies and market proclivities streamline user experience within the customer journey, genuinely increasing engagement potential and building trust and credibility for a brand.
The Bottom Line
High-Quality Translation and Localization and Linguistic Quality Assurance are a hot topic, indeed. The ever-growing interest in safeguarding the level and values of quality is gaining momentum within the translation landscape and the generic approaches to translation quality demand superior benchmarks in line with communicative conditions and competency requirements, for achieving and evaluating the adequacy of translation products across any industry, topic and level of difficulty.
Optimal implementation of Translation Quality Assurance models that suit the targeted translation services and industries is of paramount importance in outlining the focus of the Translation Quality Assurance, whether we are talking about translation as a product, as a service, or as an elaborate process for all stakeholders involved.
AD VERBUM takes pride in ticking all of the above-mentioned criteria boxes through a well-established internal Translation Quality Assurance process, ISO-optimized and streamlined to cater to a wide spectrum of needs and stringent requirements. By tailoring our efforts to the specific needs of every single customer and following up on our performance, we ensure that the services provided are of consistently high quality and enhance the overall customer experience.
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