Reviewing the quality of any outsourced deliverables should be central to any company’s success. After all, your reputation depends on your ability to produce the highest possible quality of goods and services so you can not only meet your customers’ expectations, but also ensure that they come back.

In the case of translation review, there are times when the process can cause confusion, delays, and incur costs that run far beyond the actual cost of localizing the content.

After having seen and repaired many an ailing client review process, we at MediaLocate thought it would be helpful to offer some pointers on how to get back on track.

So how exactly do you implement a solid client review process?

1. Set Expectations Up-Front and Loop Everyone In I

Why do you need a review process to begin with?

– Did you get negative feedback from customers, in-country staff, or business partners?

– Or do you want to include a review step as part of your translation process simply because you see it as the right thing to do?

When you decide you need a translation review process, it is a good idea to get buy-in from all parties involved. This can include in-country sales and marketing staff, quality assurance team members, key customers, third-party business partners, and multilingual staff. We suggest that you include your language services provider in the discussion, as they are not only the ones managing the initial translation delivery, but they should also be able to guide you through the process of establishing both your quality metrics and your review workflow.

2. Review and Weigh the Source I

Sometimes the root of the problem is actually the text to be translated. If you are reviewing the quality of your translations, then you may want to review the source as well. We have seen cases where in-country client reviewers seem to place more scrutiny on the translations than the original authors did on the source. While our translators are good at catching these errors, it is helpful to incorporate source review in your overall review process.

Your language services provider should have a solid localizability assessment process in place, especially when it comes to reviewing critical content such as medical documentation.

3. Prioritize – Review What’s Important I

One of our new customers wanted us to review 100% of the translations produced by their incumbent language services provider. This included their product descriptions, marketing texts, legal agreements, in-store copy, and website updates. All of it. They had received ongoing complaints from the in-country marketing and sales staff, saying that the translations sounded “clunky” and “not appropriate for the market.”

We provided them with a content prioritization scheme that looked at the impact of each of their content types (Marketing, Legal, Help, etc) and together decided that they only needed to review 25% of their overall content, while still significantly improving their marketing content.

4. Establish a Style Guide and Stick to It 

All source authors, in-country reviewers, and translators need to be on the same page when it comes to style. This is probably the biggest cause of confusion in client-side review. When a new employee on the client side starts reviewing a translation without the proper training or exposure to an approved set of style guidelines, the results can be catastrophic.

We strongly recommend working with your language services provider to write a style guide for each language and having all parties involved sign off on it. The next phase is piloting a translation and review project and ensuring that everyone sticks to the guide while keeping an open dialogue across the entire review team. In addition, make sure to have the latest glossaries, translation memories, and any project-specific information and instructions available for all source authors, translators, and client reviewers. This may sound like a lot of bells and whistles, but it’s worth getting the process right from the beginning to prevent causing a train wreck for your customers.

5. Establish a Quality Model and Stick to It  I

Many different types of quality models exist in the Localization industry. It is best to work with your vendor to figure out which model is the best suited to evaluate your content, as it can be a bit tricky looking through models such as the LISA QA, the TAUS DQF, the MQM, the SAE J2450, and a number of others available. What’s more, your vendor should also be able to help you adjust the chosen model and then fine tune it over the course of a few projects to ensure that it meets your and your customers’ needs. MediaLocate has customized many a quality model with our clients and provided the needed training as well as mediation for both internal reviewers and linguists. Given the subjective nature of writing, it is essential to keep all reviewers on the same page with respect to what is considered a pass and a fail.

6. Set a High Bar when Recruiting Reviewers  I

MediaLocate has a thorough screening process for all of our linguists. Just because someone claims to know the languages and subject matter and has a degree in translation does not automatically mean they are qualified to work on our clients’ projects. Professional writers looking for work in Marketing departments or on Technical Publications teams need to meet certain criteria, depending on the company and the hiring manager.

The same should go for anyone reviewing translations on the client side. Reviewers should be thoroughly familiar with the subject matter, be native speakers of the target language, and have an excellent knowledge of English. They should also be able to write effectively in their native language. Clients should see their internal reviewers as the internal SME (Subject Matter Expert) counterparts to the vendor’s translators.

7. Write a Review Checklist for the Client Reviewers to Follow I

Now that you have a solid review team for each target language, you need to provide a standard list of tasks for them to complete.

Your reviewers are the voice of the customer in each target language.

Here are some tips on what to have your reviewers keep in mind:

   – Terminology: Make sure the target text follows the glossary as well as industry standards.

   – Meaning: Make sure there are no obvious meaning errors (as in “yes” instead of “no”).

   – Style: Decide on how important style is. Writing of any kind can be highly subjective. In general it is best to stay away from lengthy and personal discussions based on preferential changes.

   – The latest linguistic assets: The vendor and client reviewers need to have the same access to all translation memories, glossaries, style guides, and project details.

   – Post-Review Validation: Make sure that your vendor sees the proposed changes before committing to the final version. A successful client review process ensures that both sides are in continual communication, as both sides (client reviewers and vendor linguists) bring different competencies to the table.

Ready to get your review process back on track? Contact us at [email protected] or call 800-776-0857 to learn more about what should be on your review checklist!


Related posts:

The 5 Snares of Translation Review, or “Wait, There’s A Bear In My Software!”

Translation Beyond Words

Control Your Terminology, Right out of the Gate!

Transcreation: Translation with a Curve

Tips for Creating Better Source Documents for Document Translation and Localization

Caution: The True Costs and Traps of Distributor Translations



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