Localization buyers are no different than buyers in any other marketplace: quality matters to them. But quality is a big word. In localization especially, linguistic quality assurance (LQA) means a lot of different things to different people, and it can fluctuate over time.
We here at RWS Moravia have put a lot of thought into successful language quality programs, making them one of our core competencies. We take a big picture approach—quality is an ecosystem with many interdependent parts.
But maybe it’s time to dig deeper into what you mean when talking about linguistic quality assurance and how you can build a solid program (with our help, of course, if you need it).
Start with the pain points
First, let’s discuss how to identify less-than-optimal quality. You may not realize it, but quality issues can present a wide variety of symptoms, both within your organization and to your customers and prospects. Here are some typical problem indicators that we hear in conversations with our clients.
These linguistic quality assurance concerns usually come from internal stakeholders who are facing difficulties in both how to measure quality and how to maintain consistent results. Characteristically:
- You don’t really know how good (or bad) your quality is.
- You have a good amount of quality data, but it’s difficult to interpret and share internally.
- You have multiple LQA frameworks (often the case after an acquisition).
- You’re getting negative feedback from your in-country reviewers.
- You’re finding a lot of linguistic bugs during testing.
It’s a little bit harder to identify quality problems based on external indicators: many scenarios can infer that there are quality problems, but some issues may have other causes. Regardless, external feedback comes from customers and outside partners who are face-to-face with your content and who may be judging the quality of your brand by its linguistic quality (and acting accordingly). Some results that can be caused by poor linguistic quality include:
- Your conversion rates are lower than expected. No one is moving down the sales funnel.
- You’re getting a lot more support calls in one or more markets.
- Your users are reporting inconsistencies over time and across languages and products.
- Your website has high bounce rates.
- No one is reading your blog posts.
- Your customers are complaining on social media.
Approaching LQA holistically
Before we can dive into diagnoses and solutions, we recommend that you look at linguistic quality assurance at the enterprise level, not per project. It is futile to fix and forget one problem without considering its relationship to the rest of the LQA ecosystem. Part of RWS Moravia’s job is to identify all the parts—quality definitions, processes, resources, analytics, tools and business intelligence—and bring them together to achieve a top-level, constantly improving quality program.
Depending on your company’s level of localization maturity, product release deadlines and overarching target-market goals, the ways in which you address quality might take different forms. Whatever your route, we recommend that it be approached through two distinct phases.
Phase I: Assess and focus
First, examine the processes and people that make up your linguistic quality infrastructure.
- What are your current language quality metrics?
- What are your LQA workflows?
- What is your process for review cycles?
- What roles comprise your LQA team?
- How do you manage language assets: Translation Memory (TM), glossaries and style guide? Do you even have them?
The goal if this phase is to take a step back, challenge the status quo and question the way you’ve been doing things so far.
Phase II: Execute
Successful linguistic QA programs will always include solid quality metrics as well as workflows that remove or reduce the risk of subjectivity, preference and style issues. In this phase, you will:
- Develop a content strategy. What level of quality is required for each type of content?
- Establish SLAs and KPIs. How will you measure success and “great” quality?
- Ensure that dashboards are up and running to display BI and analytics.
- Audit all your content. For example, should you revise some of it?
The best LQA programs are data-based. Make yours measurable and meaningful by looking at quality scores by language, LSP, translator, product and region. With this data in hand, you can address the root causes of problems, focus objectively on the gaps in your processes and target areas that really need improvement.
Whether you complete these phases internally, share the process with a vendor or outsource your entire language quality assurance program to a skilled language services provider, strong linguistic quality is critical to your brand’s success in global markets.
At RWS Moravia, we have a whole team dedicated to setting up quality programs and measuring quality. If you have specific questions about the direction of your own LQA program, don’t hesitate to contact us.