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How does a translation management system ensure quality control and consistency across translations?
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Aleix Gwilliam
AuthorAleix Gwilliam
Reading time 5 minutes

A Translation Management System (TMS) incorporates specific features and functionalities that facilitate linguistic quality and accuracy. Here’s a breakdown of how a TMS achieves these objectives. We’ve also rated them from 1 to 10 in terms of their importance in the overall localization process, where 1 is fully optional and 10 is essential.

Terminology Management

With a TMS, you can create and maintain a centralized terminology database. This enables linguists to always use approved terms throughout their translations, making their projects more accurate and coherent. This helps companies have a consistent global tone and voice and, as a result, higher customer satisfaction.

Importance level: 9/10

Style Guides and Guidelines

A TMS helps you establish style guides and guidelines for translators, such as explicit instructions on tone, formatting, terminology to be used, and other ad-hoc linguistic aspects which can then be added and implemented to customized quality-assurance profiles for one or different projects. All TMSs will typically flag segments in which these guidelines have not been followed for the linguists to edit. By adhering to these guidelines, linguists maintain consistency in style and tone across all translated content.

Importance level: 8/10

Translation Memories (TM)

TMS platforms utilize translation memories, which store previously translated segments for reuse. When encountering similar or identical phrases, the TMS automatically suggests previously approved translations. For example, if you have already translated the segment “Welcome to our store! We have everything you need for your daily cleaning needs” in a previous project and it appears again exactly the same in another project, the TM will suggest the translation as a 100% match, i.e. an exact match. However, if you have to translate the segment “Welcome to our store! We have everything you need for your everyday cleaning needs”, the TM will suggest this as a 95% match, as only a very small part of the segment needs to be edited from the existing translation. This promotes consistency across projects, saves time for translators, and ensures uniformity in terminology and wording.

Importance level: 10/10

Quality Assurance (QA)

Normally TMS platforms would include built-in QA features that validate translations against predefined rules and checks, which can be customized by the project manager. These checks encompass aspects such as spell-checking, grammar validation, tag verification, and adherence to formatting guidelines, but can also include vital rules such as preference of terms over others, non-translation of branded names, or even flag terminology that must not be used. By conducting these automated QA checks, a TMS helps identify errors or inconsistencies, ensuring high-quality translations.

Importance level: 9/10

Workflow Automation

TMS platforms can automate various stages of the translation process, streamlining workflows, which makes the end-to-end process much quicker, faster and more cost effective. The automation assigns tasks to translators or reviewers, sends notifications for review and approval, and facilitates collaboration among project stakeholders. Through automated workflows, a TMS ensures that all translation steps are consistently followed, minimizing errors and delays, and maintaining quality control. The higher the level of automation in your program, the higher the level of efficiency and the lower the risk of human error or delays that derive from miscommunication or time-zone differences.

Importance level: 8.5/10

Centralized Communication

TMS platforms allow for all stakeholders involved in the localization process (from translators to project managers and legal compliance officers) to communicate with each other on the same platform. This collaborative approach fosters effective communication and facilitates the resolution of queries, inconsistencies or errors during the localization process in a much quicker way than if it was done offline. This way, everyone involved in the project will have direct visibility over them, including any answer or response from the project manager for queries or errors.

Importance level: 7/10

Reporting and Analytics

TMS platforms offer reporting and analytics capabilities to track translation quality metrics. These insights help identify areas for improvement, measure linguistic accuracy, and assess the overall performance of translators. By leveraging these reports, you can ensure ongoing quality control, make informed decisions, and drive continuous improvement in the localization process.

Importance level: 7.5/10

Expert tip

Iñaki Hernández-Lasa
Iñaki Hernández-Lasa

QA profiles are the most efficient way of ensuring the quality of your localized content. Creating customized QA profiles is an easy way to adjust rules and checks to a specific project. For example, an organization might not want to use the same tone for their marketing content as for their terms and conditions, so having one QA profile per customer wouldn’t work in this case. By creating customized QA profiles for each content type you can always make sure that the right tone and terms are used for every project, even if they are from the same customer but of a different nature.”

Iñaki Hernández-Lasa

Xpert at XTM International

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