On Leveraging Quality Assurance and Quality Control for Excellence

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As the recipient of translated documents and translation services, you focus on the quality of the translations you receive. You expect translated content to be highly readable, 100% accurate, and free of any ambiguity or confusion. However, you probably don’t give much thought to the quality assurance checks embedded in the translation process. 

For your work to impact your clients around the world in the way you intend, your translations must be excellent, not simply sufficient or good enough. At DTS Language Services, Inc., quality assurance is about perfecting a system to catch any errors or confusions early in the process and to correct them before we even think about sending the documents to you for final approval.

Our goal is to ensure seamless communications between our global life sciences clients and their target customers. Having a strong quality assurance and quality control system is the most effective way to make this happen.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control are Inherent to Our Process

Our translation, editing, and proofing process ensures that you receive a high quality translation. When you submit a document for translation, an entire team will be involved in proofing and combing through your document before it is finalized. Beyond your translator and editor, a project manager, who will be your key contact throughout the process, will also be assigned to your case. 

For website translation and other types of translations requiring more technical assistance, you may have additional team members as well, all working on your project to deliver a final translation of the highest quality. With so many eyeballs on your documents, any errors are sure to be caught before the project finally crosses your desk.

Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control

Quality assurance and quality control are technical terms that many people use interchangeably. It’s important for you to understand the difference between the two, so that you know what questions to ask when choosing a language service provider.

The key difference between the two concepts is that while quality assurance is performed throughout the process to ensure the translation product meets the highest quality standards every step of the way, quality control evaluates the resulting product after it has been created to see whether it has met the quality requirements. Quality control can also tell us how well our quality assurance systems are working and help us to tweak those systems to be more effective.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the differences between these two quality management approaches:

  • Quality control (QC) is the most basic level of quality management. It includes inspecting, testing, or checking a final product to ensure it meets all requirements. The goal here is to identify issues and fix or eliminate them. The main limitation of quality control is that it is results-oriented, so the process doesn’t improve the quality testing system or make quality testing more efficient. Also, if your translation agency performs quality control only, they only find issues at the end of the process, which could cost you extra time and money to fix.
  • Quality assurance (QA) takes quality management a step further. Quality assurance looks at the planning, documenting, and agreement steps. Taking a more holistic view of quality management, quality assurance aims to catch big picture issues and make course corrections to improve the client experience going forward. The planning that happens at the beginning of a project is a crucial part of quality assurance and ensures each project has a clear plan for meeting quality standards. Quality assurance is a proactive approach to measuring and guaranteeing the highest quality document translations. Planning for quality not only mitigates the risk for error, it saves you time and money.

Because we constantly evaluate our quality checks and learn from each project we complete, we save our clients money in the long run. Each of the lessons we take away improves our systems, streamlines our processes, and allows us to deliver excellent document translation services that only get better over time. 

We also constantly monitor the performance of our translators, but not in an overbearing way. Our project managers understand how important it is for everyone to truly work together as a team. We want our people to succeed as much as we want our company to succeed because we know a company is only as good as its people. Our team members are always on the lookout for ways to lift each other up.

Don’t take quality assurance for granted

When you choose a professional translation company, be sure to ask about their quality assurance systems. Having the right systems in place to ensure the highest standards are being met for each project is perhaps the most important differentiating factor clients should be looking for. Keep in mind that when quality assurance is inherent to the process, you will literally have a team of people working together to ensure the final product is 100% accurate. 

Do you know the old saying, “too many cooks spoil the broth?” While this may be true when it comes to cooking, just the opposite is true in the translation industry. The more experts you have giving input and solving problems together, the better the translation result. 

Still, it’s easy to take quality assurance in translation for granted. Few outside the industry understand how what seems like a simple translation task must go through multiple steps and be seen by multiple experts to identify errors, re-examine problem areas, and eliminate issues. With the right quality assurance and quality control systems in place, you can be assured your final translation has been properly vetted.

Do you have experiences with quality control or quality assurance you’d like to share? We would appreciate hearing about your experiences. If you have a translation project to discuss with our team, reach out by calling 800-524-0722 or 919-582-0330 or fill out this contact form and we’ll be in touch soon.