Any company that has attempted to go global knows the importance of localization. Forrester research shows that 64% of today’s technology buyers value content that’s tailored to their location, and Quick Sprout founder Neil Patel once reported that localizing web content can lead to almost a 50% increase in traffic.
The fact is, however, a simple plan for localizing brand and product content simply isn’t sufficient. How do you know your localized content actually hits the mark? How can you be sure it speaks to your target audiences in their native languages? That’s where linguistic quality assurance (LQA) comes in.
By testing your translations and other localization efforts to ensure they deliver accurate results, LQA goes beyond testing for word-for-word translation to examine whether your localization process captures the deeper meanings and cultural nuances required. An effective LQA plan constantly asks the question: Are we getting the message across in this market?
How to Get the Most From LQA
Whether you’re dealing with software, a website, or a new product, the same principles of LQA apply. It’s the final step in the process of developing or launching your products or branded content into your non-native markets. Before you go live, you must put everything under rigorous review to ensure the message makes sense in its new markets.
LQA is part of a larger process of testing all your localization efforts for accuracy and precision and depending on your products, that may also include visual elements, software design and coding, and other functional elements. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the linguistic testing side of the issue. In general, LQA best practices include steps like:
- Checking for accurate grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other typos
- Flagging translation problems with numbers and currency
- Reviewing larger syntax and structural issues that may cause confusion or miscommunication
- Watching for geographical errors that local users would notice
- Scanning for taboo language, inappropriate cultural references, and other red flags
- Ensuring everything reads naturally for native speakers in your target markets
Without an LQA process in place, you leave these issues for your customers and end-users to discover — and that’s never the best plan for ensuring a high-quality customer experience.
Building an LQA Workflow
One of the most important steps in the quality assurance process is to build an effective LQA workflow. The details will vary based on your company’s specific needs, but every LQA workflow must include processes for setup, testing, and post-testing. Some examples are noted below:
- Setup and pre-testing: This involves preparing test cases, training LQA testers, building style guides and glossaries, and more.
- Testing: Testers (human, AI, or both) perform prescribed tests to check for all necessary elements, follow reporting protocols, and flag issues for review.
- Post-testing: The LQA team analyzes test results, translators work to correct issues, and additional regression tests are conducted to confirm adequate corrections have been made.
The details differ depending on whether you sell retail products or develop video games, but the concepts are the same, and it all comes down to sound project management. A smooth LQA workflow sets the stage for a successful localization process.
LQA Testing in Action
LQA is a highly detailed process that involves far more than simply proofreading translations. Catching the subtle nuances that can lead to major miscommunication demands attention to detail, and the success of your new product in a new market may depend on it. You need to have a robust knowledge of local languages and native cultures at your disposal to ensure translation quality.
It requires more than just attention to detail, though. The larger question is whether you have the tools and infrastructure in place to support your LQA workflow at every stage. Can you quickly and easily build glossaries and develop translation memory that makes the process of translation and localization QA faster and more effective? Do you have a robust language library that can help you check translation nuances, whether you’re dealing with Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, or something else?
Finally, what’s your system for reviewing and approving corrections? Can you quickly assure that new translations are high quality and ready to move forward?
A New Level of LQA With Unbabel
All told, this is the work of a massive localization QA team. And that’s not something many brands have the bandwidth to hire in-house. With Unbabel, you don’t need to.
Our LangOps solutions bring the power of AI-driven quality assurance to you. With tools like our Language Library and machine learning capabilities that help you build your own translation glossaries, you have everything you need to produce high-quality translations at scale.
But it doesn’t stop with translation. Our Quality Estimator automatically assesses and scores the quality of every machine translation, triaging the ones that need a closer, human review. And our in-house team of translators, which represents native speakers from across the globe, is there to ensure any issues are checked and resolved quickly.
Linguistic quality assurance should never be an afterthought in your localization efforts. It may be the last step, but it’s no less important than everything that came before.
See how LQA works with Unbabel. Check out our free demo.