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Can a translator working on his own offer a quality control process?
Thread poster: Argentine Translator

Argentine Translator
Argentina
Local time: 18:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 19, 2009

Which quality assurance and quality control process can a translator working on his own offer? Can he offer a project workflow process? Or are all these processes limited to agencies? Thanks and regards, AT

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:36
German to English
A number of simple measures Sep 19, 2009

A single-shingle translator can perform a number of quality checks to ensure a minimum quality standard.

The first, and simplest is to run a spell check of the document. You would be astounded at the number of documents that come across my desk with misspellings that would be caught with a spelling checker (comming, beccause, etc.).

Reading through a finished document a second time can reveal a number of grammatical errors, numeric mismatches and misused words (their/there, for example). I've found that allowing a certain "rest period" between finishing a first draft of a translation and a second read-through can clear the brain. To put it another way, your mind can sometimes fill in the blanks and ignore errors in the document if it's still fresh in your mind.

Using XBench (a free utility often mentioned here) can detect inconsistencies among repeated segments.

If you want to invest a lot of money, you could also buy ErrorSpy, a very expensive quality checker. I've found that in many cases, XBench is sufficient, as ErrorSpy can provide a number of false positives, that is, it identifies errors that aren't really errors. For that reason I haven't invested the EUR 490 for the program.

If you're doing a translation for a direct client, set your pricing so that you can hire a checker, a second set of eyes to read through your translation for errors, typos that aren't caught by the spelling checker and stylistic problems.

If submitting to an agency, assume that the file will go directly to the end client, and submit your best work. Don't assume that someone at the agency will check the translation. Even if you are sure that the agency will perform QA, you should submit work that you've checked yourself.



[Edited at 2009-09-19 16:17 GMT]


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Shirley Lao  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Any quality control software for Wordfast ... Sep 19, 2009

Hi Kevin,


Thank you for suggesting ErrorSpy as a quality control tool. However, it seems that ErrorSpy can only be used for Trados. Do you know any other quality control tool for Wordfast and other word processing packages?

Thank you very much!

Shirley


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Do it right... Sep 19, 2009

Do it right the first time, every time.

It is much easier said than done, but it works.


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 16:36
Spanish
+ ...
Studio Sep 19, 2009

A real QA is expensive and that's what agencies are for. But translators can use QA tools and processes too. I've been using Studio's QA capabilities for a few weeks and that's the reason I like it so much (see this post:
http://www.proz.com/post/1173182#1173182). Other CAT tools also have QA tools too, the major advantage I notice, is that the QA is done in real time.

I actually had a discussion with two different agencies about QA. We were talking about rates and quality, and how if a translation has too many errors or QA issues, correcting those issues will cost more because it'd take more time. But if the first step of the translation doesn't have that many errors (inconsistencies with previous TMs, terminology issues, missing expressions, etc.) because a QA process was used BY THE TRANSLATOR, that'd save a lot of money to agencies and won't cost anything or any time to the translator. The problems is that many agencies are too daft to see it, they would rather pay less to the translator and spend lots of money on post-translation QA techniques, standards, etc.

[Edited at 2009-09-19 17:41 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Answer it yourself! Sep 19, 2009

Argentine Translator wrote:
Which quality assurance and quality control process can a translator working on his own offer?


Well, let's start by making a list of the things you normally do with every job to ensure that the client gets a quality translation. Well, what do you do?


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The Misha
Local time: 17:36
Russian to English
+ ...
Seconding Henry Sep 20, 2009

Once you start thinking more about doing quality work and less about fancy terms, you'll be fine.

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:36
German to English
MemoQ has a good QA feature Sep 20, 2009

Shirley Lao wrote:
Do you know any other quality control tool for Wordfast and other word processing packages?


I don't use Wordfast, but I'm an enthusiastic user of MemoQ. The QA tool this program offers is quite useful. It flags mismatched numbers, tags, initial capitalization (probably doesn't apply to Chinese). To be honest, I don't know whether the free version of this software provides the QA tool after the initial 45 day trial period.

At any rate, running a spelling check and reading through a translation a second/third time can be useful when trying to deliver a quality translation.


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Shirley Lao  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thank you Sep 20, 2009

Thank you for your feedback.


[quote]Kevin Fulton wrote:


I don't use Wordfast, but I'm an enthusiastic user of MemoQ. The QA tool this program offers is quite useful. It flags mismatched numbers, tags, initial capitalization (probably doesn't apply to Chinese). To be honest, I don't know whether the free version of this software provides the QA tool after the initial 45 day trial period.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:36
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
For me it is important... Sep 20, 2009

to read aloud the translation...

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Lars Jelking  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 00:36
Member (2006)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Difficult if not impossible Sep 20, 2009

If you have something like ISO 9001 in mind the answer is no. All such international standards are intended for organizations but not for individuals like freelancers. The only thing you can do is to use a good spellchecker and proofread the material thoroughly or have a peer do it (normally draws a fee). Building good TM and glossary helps. Research on the web for articles about the context can be fruitful, but be careful with copy/paste of such material (may be copyrighted).
And do NOT take on more jobs than you can manage within stated deadlines. The agencies accept a spelling mistake or two, but late delivery is an absolute NO-NO.


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Beatriz Ramírez de Haro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:36
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not always possible, Sep 20, 2009

but printing out the text and a second pair of eyes are the best quality checkers IMO.
Good luck!

[Edited at 2009-09-20 22:06 GMT]


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Several techniques Sep 21, 2009

Here are several techniques I use for checking my own work. Some have already been mentioned above.

-use of a CAT tool avoids skipping (leaving untranslated parts)
-second, or in some cases, a third reading of the text
-read out loud or listen using a text-to-speech program
-I used to print it out but I wanted to get away from the paper usage, so here are some techniques to help proof as effectively on the screen as on paper:
--zoom; make the print bigger
--start at the end and read the document backwards paragraph by paragraph or page by page
-do the spell-check last, otherwise subsequent revisions may introduce new spelling or typographical errors

[Edited at 2009-09-21 04:42 GMT]


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Alp Berker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:36
Turkish to English
+ ...
Work with 2 monitors if you can Sep 21, 2009

I have found working with 2 monitors helps my QA process, I can see the original and my translation at the same time. If you have access to get two monitors it may help. Also running a spellchecker and grammer checker helps. Sometimes I proofread out loud which also helps.

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Argentine Translator
Argentina
Local time: 18:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you to everyone Sep 21, 2009

Thank you for all the replies. Very interesting suggestions.

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