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Four types of quality assurance for translators

Authored By:  The Swedish Association for Professional Translators

One way to make the concept of quality easier to deal with for linguists, is to divide it up into four parts: administrative quality, linguistic quality, business quality and cultural quality. International quality standards focus mostly on administrative quality, since it is the easiest to measure. Linguistic quality is the most important for language professionals. Business quality is defined as the relation to the customer, and cultural quality is when a translation speaks to the end customer/reader. All four are important for linguists and warrant further investigation.

Administrative quality:
Routines for handling translation projects, inquiry, offer, order confirmation, translation, control/check, delivery, invoicing, follow up, archiving.

Linguistic quality can only be achieved if you:
– Only accept projects that are within your expertise
– Have access to suitable, current reference material
– Use relevant tools that increase quality, for example translation memory and spell checking
– Proofread the end result carefully

Business quality can only be achieved if you:
– In advance check with the customer what they want/what is needed
– Deliver a product that fulfill the terms agreed upon

Cultural quality can only be achieved if you:
– Are thoroughly familiar with the cultural context of the source text
– Translate the text based on the cultural environment of the target language so that the text will have the same meaning.

I found these definitions very useful. It is easier to work on quality assurance if you can break it up into these aspects and follow them. What do you think? Do you have a system for quality assurance?

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