What is quality assurance in translation? An explanation of the process

The purpose of any translation is simple: Information given in the source language is converted into another language spoken and/or read by the target audience. There is a number of language service providers (LSPs) and freelance linguists in the world that do this. Most of them talk about “high-quality translation” or “top quality translation work.” So, what is quality in translation?

Quality in translation

Unfortunately, there is no single definition regarding what is a high-quality translation. However, what many linguists agree upon is that a high-quality translation at least meets if not exceeds the expectations of the client and the target audience. But this doesn’t mean that all translation that meets a client and target audiences’ needs is of high quality.

For example, if a straightforward, one-page document needs to be converted into another language, a linguist doesn’t need to be an expert. In fact, a machine translation can do, and a linguist can edit the text after it’s translated. You won’t really call this translation high quality, but it meets the expectation of the client and the target audience.

Given that quality is subjective, it’s honestly difficult to measure linguistic quality. Still, all LSPs follow a process that ensures quality assurance in translation.

Steps of the quality assurance process

Most translation projects go through the following process:

1. A translator is assigned

Once a client provides a list of requirements for a project, a translator who is a native speaker of the target audience with an experience in the same subject matter or industry is assigned to the project. Of course, depending on the scale of the project, multiple translators might be assigned to complete the task.

2. The editor fine combs the translated text

The next crucial step to ensure quality assurance in translation is sending the translated text to an editor who will fine comb through it to check for errors, common mistakes, and grammatical flaws. Usually, the editor is also a highly experienced translator with knowledge of the subject matter.

Besides checking for errors, the editor will also make sure that the meaning of the source text comes across in the converted text. Once the translated text is proofread by the editor, it is either sent to the desktop publishing or the multimedia team.

3. The desktop publishing or the multimedia team puts translated text in a format

Quality assurance in translation doesn’t stop with simply translating and proofreading the final product. The text is sent to the desktop publishing team – if the client wants the translated text on a website – or the multimedia team – for subtitling and adapting the text on a screen. This step is important since the translated text needs to fit into a format. The experts in the team must factor in text expansions and retraction which usually occurs when you convert text from one language to another.

4. A proofreader checks the final document

It’s not done yet! A final check is done to ensure nothing is missing. If something looks off, the project manager is notified in order to maintain quality assurance in translation.

5. The project manager sends the translated project to the client

The second last step involves the project manager – the person who oversees the whole project. He or she reviews the final product before sending it to the client. The manager is eventually responsible for the final output.

6. The client reviews the translated text

Whew! The last step in ensuring that quality assurance in translation is maintained involves the client reviewing the translated assignment. Clients provide feedback and might ask for improvements.


There you have it – the rigorous quality assurance process that every LSP does to maintain quality. Wordminds follows this process to produce every error-free work that meets clients’ needs.

About Wordminds

Wordminds is a close-knit team of language experts – professional translators, project managers, localisation engineers and business visionaries who work closely with global clients, helping them connect with their international audience. Wordminds works with over 3,000 language specialists and subject-matter experts to enable companies to overcome cultural and language barriers, helping them build trust and create long-lasting business and human relationships. Fully certified under ISO 9001 and ISO 17100, the company believes in continuous improvement and so stands at the forefront of new language-technology implementation, smart collaboration and excellent customer service. Find out more about Wordminds at www.wordminds.com.

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