The Translation Quality Management System – Principles and Methods

From the moment the source files from the client land on the project manager’s desktop, they become part of a careful translations management process that aims to guarantee the best possible quality output for the customer. Every project manager knows that sticking to this process is the optimal route toward consistent perfection, and translation clients looking for project quality assurance often ask a new translations partner about how they aim to provide this.


Different translation agencies have different ways of going about translation quality management, depending largely on what exactly is being asked of the company by the initial project. Variables can include how many languages are being translated into or out of, whether any formatting such as desktop publishing is required (which will always necessitate an extra quality check after the typesetter has done their work), and what platform is being used to carry out the translation or localization work. For example, some projects are actually carried out and reviewed within client software applications rather than via translations of documents.


It is generally understood in the translations world that there are at least 5 stages in the translations process: selecting the translator, determining the technology, translating the content, formatting the content, and a final-eye review before it is ready for print or publication. Let’s elaborate on each of these stages a little in order to explore their importance and significance to the success of the project.

1. Selecting the translator/s. It is vital to get the translator from source to target language right. The most important requirement is that they are a native speaker of the target language, and ideally, they should be residents in the country in which the translation is to be used. This ensures they will be immersed in the language and customs of the target market.

Secondly, the project manager always looks at the translator’s educational background and experience. For scientific or technical subject matter, an advanced degree in the field of expertise is a prerequisite for most translations, and if this is not feasible, extensive work experience in the relevant field must be substituted. As far as the actual translation work, it is generally held that at least 7 years of experience translating in the desired language pair and subject matter is adequate. Only use ‘tried and tested translators.

2. Checking the tech. Occasionally, a project manager will have the perfect translator lined up to carry out the work, but discover they do not have either the hardware, the software or the software knowledge to do the work. In this case, suitable provision and/or training need to be factored into the project timeline.

3. Translating the content. Depending on how much content there is to be translated and the number of target languages being handled, this could take a while and the business of sending out, getting back in and organizing files in different languages has to be handled carefully. Communicating with and chasing translators in many different countries with a variety of cultural norms can be an interesting job for the project manager!

4. Formatting the content. Many clients also ask for desktop publishing or DTP services to complement a large translation project. They know their partner agency is best placed to handle the manipulation of documents and the accompanying graphics into a variety of languages, and besides, when it comes to making the final checks on the finished work, it is all much easier to communicate alterations if the DTP has been done by the agency in-house.

5. The final-eye review. This should always be carried out, in every language, by a different person from the one who has translated the content. Many agencies work with pairs of translators and reviewers familiar with each other’s work and with working together. Many final-eye reviewers specialize in linguistic troubleshooting and consultancy – they have moved beyond translation work. The reviewer’s job is to make sure the translated document is absolutely ready for publication, and sometimes there is a little to-ing and fro-ing at this stage between the team to get the final result perfect.


These quality management processes have been designed to assist the agency as well as the client. Ask your translation partner about their quality assurance process and check it against this basic list. Eurolingo is committed to the highest quality output and run all our projects through suitable linguistic and quality checks. For more information, contact us