How to Outsource Language Quality Assurance

Quality AssuranceThe promise of entering a new foreign market will be tempered by the realities of localizing your products and services for local consumers and partners. One of those realities is that you have to answer this question: How will you protect and extend your brand’s reputation in a new market without sacrificing the quality that your domestic buyers and partners know and love?

While an in-house solution provides some sense of brand integrity, it generally comes at a high infrastructure price. This price is compounded by the number of target markets. That is, simply, the more language locales you are trying to service, the far greater your costs will be in trying to replicate your domestic language quality assurance processes, technologies, and teams in foreign locales.

What are the factors that make this such a challenge? And, more importantly, how can you outsource language quality assurance to reduce overhead, boost time-to-market results, and maintain your brand?

Lack of Knowledge

Entering a foreign market can be scary for the inexperienced. Your company simply will not truly understand a target market as well as you do your domestic one. It is not just that it is in a foreign language.

  • It’s the foreign language … and its spoken-on-the-street nuances and industry-specialized terminology.

  • It’s the human resources — trying to find, evaluate, retain, and train local teams to “transcreate” your brand for local consumers.

  • It’s the technical requirements — everything from the sometimes unusual character sets to the document sizes to the currency symbols to the hardware configurations.

It is no wonder, then, that this wide range of needed information creates quality control nightmares and the need for expert oversight.

Need for Speed

In an aggressive marketplace, quality assurance is additionally challenged by time-to-market demands. Beyond the initial knowledge acquisition, the staffing requirements, and the related infrastructure building are the processes needed to bring the quality controls of the foreign language market in line with your already established procedures.

  • How can you automate the language quality assurance process to keep time-intensive manual oversight to a minimum?

  • How do you nevertheless build in human checks and tests that can verify both terminology and in-context placement?

  • How agile can you make these processes so that corrections derived from end user feedback on terminology, formatting, or other localization errors can be quickly realized in the next iteration of the product or service?

Bang for the Buck Outsourcing

Knowledge and speed demands are two significant factors driving many brands to outsource their language quality assurance processes. Another is, of course, the expected return on investment. In looking to expert language service providers (LSP) in target markets, companies are seeking to reduce the costs of entering a new market.

So how do you outsource language quality assurance so that your brand wins on ROI?

  • Expect, at a minimum, a language service provider with qualified, native-speaking professionals in your target market.

  • If your industry terminology requires domain expertise and regulatory oversight (e.g., pharmaceutical industry), seek out a provider with either in-house subject matter experts or strong network connections to the linguistic experts for your industry in the target market.

  • Look too for independent certification of the agency’s abilities in localization process management.

  • Review its already established error-management protocols and infrastructure to understand how reported quality failures are likely to match your own specific, domestic procedures.

Don't Stop There

But there is much more to language QA than just QA. Which is why we have recently expanded our Moravia Language Quality Services (MLQS) to accommodate clients at every stage of localization maturity. This suite of à la carte services can help companies quickly resolve tactical issues, and later combine to create a more proactive quality management solution. The Moravia LQS suite now includes six core services:

  • Translation Fix-It Reviews, ensuring translations are as good as possible by fixing grammar, spelling, and terminology issues;

  • Diagnostic Assessments, analyzing content to assess overall linguistic program quality, diagnose error patterns in previously translated projects, and identify root causes;

  • Linguistic Assets, creating and managing each client’s style guide, terminology database, and translation memory;

  • Dedicated Reviewer Programs, assigning and managing dedicated reviewers to provide any kind of linguistic quality assurance activities to optimize efficiency and drive improvements;

  • Dashboard and Analytics, aggregating program data to generate actionable insights for the entire localization program; and

  • MLQS Program Design and Management, establishing holistic quality governance throughout the localization effort by defining the baseline quality measurement criteria, and implementing customized processes and client-specific solutions.

In making the choice to partner with a language service provider already skilled in independent LQA services, you place a brand back on target for delivering quality products and services for foreign consumers at costs far more reasonable than going it alone. For many successful global brands, there is no smarter choice.