Levels of QA

Depending on the factors mentioned above, the QA process may be very quick and general, or on the contrary, extensive and very precise.

For instance, linguistic QA may comprise the following levels:

  • “End User” QA: the person performing the QA tasks assumes the role of an end user of the translated product, be it a document, a website, software, animations, etc. Their role would be to ensure that, when using the target material at “normal” speed, the content is easy to understand, the text flows smoothly and logically. The source material will only be checked when hesitations occur or problems arise.
  • Sample QA: due to various constraints, it may not always be possible to QA the entire project. In many cases, customers or translation companies require that QA be performed on only a certain percentage of the project. General QA could then be performed on this sample using the “End User” QA model mentioned above. Alternatively, the entire project may need to be rechecked. In this case, if linguistic QA is to be performed, it could entail rechecking the entire translation against the original file, checking the terminology, style, grammar, spelling, etc. The QA person may also simply consider that everything has already been checked by the reviewer and would therefore quickly compare the target and source texts, without rechecking every single aspect of the translation.
  • Extended QA: in some cases, due to the complexity or size of the project, it is important that a complete (but not necessarily detailed) recheck be performed. This could entail tasks such as:
    • Quick reading of the target text to ensure that it flows smoothly and does not contain any unclear sections
    • Quick checking of all translated segments against the source text (with or without a Translation Memory) to ensure that they have been correctly translated
    • Automatic spell checking using a Spell Checker
    • Quick manual grammar check

Technical QA may also be broken down into several levels. For instance, QAing the layout of a target document could involve:

  • Sample QA: checking only a few pages to ensure that the client’s instructions have been followed, and that the target layout matches the original.
  • Full QA: checking of all pages to ensure that every single page is consistent with the original layout and specific instructions.
  • Extended QA with limited linguistic check: during DTP QA, this could entail checking items within the target text that do not necessarily require knowledge of the target language. In this case, while ensuring that the page layout is correct, the person performing the QA would also check the following points:
    • Figures: they should normally be similar to those indicated in the original text
    • Proper nouns: nouns appearing in the target text should match the original ones
    • Items to be localised:
      • thousand and decimal separators should be adapted to the local language: 112,000.25 in US English becomes 112 000,25 in French
      • currencies sometimes need to be adapted to the local audience: USD 10 becomes 7 EUR
      • names of some organisations or acronyms sometimes need to be localised: UNO in English becomes ONU in French
      • URLs may need to be adapted if local websites exist: http://www.website.us becoming http://www.website.fr
      • Punctuation may need to be changed: double spaces after a full-stop in English becoming a single space in French
      • etc.
    • Internal formatting: if some parts of the source text are formatted in bold, italics, underline, etc., the corresponding target parts of text should generally be formatted in the same way.
    • Special symbols: symbols such as ©, ®, ™, etc., should generally be used in the same way in the target text.
    • Complete translation: even without knowledge of a specific target language, it is sometimes possible to check that everything has been translated. Indeed, when working with some specific formats, headers, footers, captions of illustrations, parts of the Table of contents, etc. may not be fully translated. This can also be checked during Extended DTP QA.
    • Etc.