Managing Quality through Workflows

Localization Practicum

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

When we decided to provide localization services to Give2Asia and Sino Atlas, we knew that we were going to face a variety of projects in a variety of mediums, such as video, website, poster, and document localization. The standard process of translating, editing, and proofreading (TEP) was not going to cut it, so we implemented workflows that took our projects into consideration and that maximized our resources.

Our Workflows

At the core of every project is the tried-and-true TEP, which we automate through our translation management system, Memsource. Using TEP as our base, we added necessary steps to meet the requirements of each project.

Video Subtitle Localization

  1. Creation of Transcript + Term Extraction
  2. Creation of Bilingual Glossary
  3. TEP
  4. Linguistic QA
  5. Client Review
  6. Delivery

Pamphlet Localization

  1. Term Extraction + Creation of Glossary
  2. TEP
  3. DTP
  4. Linguistic QA
  5. Client Review
  6. Delivery

Website Localization

  1. English Proofreading + Term Extraction
  2. Translation Preparation
  3. TEP
  4. Mechanical QA
  5. Linguistic QA
  6. Client Review
  7. Delivery

Below is a snapshot of our projects for Give2Asia.

WorkFlow

The Memsource environment makes it simple to check project progress in real time. It also allows us to create linguistic assets such as a translation database (a translation memory) and a term base (a bilingual glossary) for future reference. We believe these assets will allow the client to better maintain translation quality even after our team is no longer involved.

Below is our project schedule that we created to manage each project for Give2Asia.

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With the project schedule and the workflows, we have carefully planned what we’re going to go, how we’re going to do it, and when we’ll do it.

Customized for Each Client

Note that the Sino Atlas website that we are in the process of localizing was created by a team that did not speak English as a native language. We found the content to be extremely academic, sophisticated, and well written, but decided to have an English native speaker proofread the website. This had several advantages: 1) The English would be easier for translators to translate. 2) The proofreader could extract terms at the same time to create a bilingual glossary. 3) The original English version would be more polished.

Quality Assurance

In addition, we also added an additional editing step after TEP if we were using a translator or editor we did not have experience working with before. This functioned as a way of evaluating the linguists, as well as a way of letting the linguists know what kind of quality we expect. Within the industry as a whole, localization project managers oftentimes specialize solely on management, with little to no linguistic involvement, especially when it comes to multilingual projects. Since our project involved translation from English to both simplified and traditional Chinese, and we have three simplified Chinese native speakers in our group, we decided to be more involved in the linguistic process, which allowed us to better maintain quality.

Translator Friendly

It is important to note that we customized our workflows not only for each project but also for our linguists. For example, for simplified Chinese TEP, our editor prefers to work outside of our cloud-based translation management system. We accommodated this by providing the editor with a Memsource-generated bilingual document. After receiving the edits, we then import the document back into Memsource to automatically integrate his edits. It should be noted that all deviations from the standard workflow is documented so that everyone on the team is on the same page.

Conclusion

By carefully planning and executing workflows customized to the needs of our clients and to the preferences of our linguists, we have been able to foresee and prevent problems before they occur. Preemptively solving problems increases efficiency and decreases needless work.

It can easily be said that the quality of the translator determines the quality of the translation. We think it is important to remember that the quality of the workflow determines the quality of the entire project.