Collaborative Environments

Interacting with our peers not only makes our days more pleasant but also makes us better at our job.  Then,  how can you build more professional connections as a freelancer or Language Service Provider (LSP)? How do you reach out to people, particularly if you are an introvert or work remotely? During our visit to New York, we held different meetings with some clients and colleagues to discuss different issues, including QA processes and collaborative environments.

As Language Service Providers, we should definitely focus on developing an excellent relationship with our team.  During our discussions with our New York colleagues and clients, we agreed that a good and seamless interaction with our team members and the end-client is essential to help us ensure the best possible quality.

Effective communication, collaboration, and coordination are the main contributing factors to quality. Communication is defined as imparting or interchanging opinions, thoughts, or information by speech, writing, or signs. Collaboration is defined as working together to accomplish a task and discussing with each other to solve difficult problems. An effective collaborative environment includes both individually focused tasks and interactive teamwork.

We have come up with some tips to develop an effective collaborative environment:

  1. Build the team spirit. If the team gets on well, they will automatically work better.
  2. Keep regular and fluent communication with your team. In some cases, coming together face-to-face or through Skype provides the ideal situation for team members to go over what they have been working on and any other issues they are facing.
  3. Use appropriate forms of communication and be polite at all times. Work collaboration apps ensure great instant communication among all team members.
  4. Encourage two-way feedback. Once you have implemented a two-way communication, make sure that your timely feedback from employees shows you how the process is working in the organization.

Be creative and think out of the box!

Food for thought

How would you rate your relationship with your team members/colleagues/clients? If it is not fully satisfactory, what could you do to improve it? Would that have an impact on the quality of your job?

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At The View Restaurant & Lounge with a New York colleague and friend.

Translation Quality Assurance Software Checks

Quality Assurance is often an essential part of the translation process when handling large volumes of documents.

Nowadays, more than ever, with the fast speed of machines and very solid technology tools, we really need to be GAME CHANGERS. As linguists, we have to be solidly rooted and completely competent to protect our projects. WE HAVE TO PLAY OUR OWN DNA GAME.

Similarly to verbs, which play a vital role in a sentence, WE, as translators play an equally important role in communication. We have the essential and invisible job of conveying crystal clear messages all over the world.

Automation in Quality Management can be achieved through many software-based quality controls that help us deal with huge volumes of work with consistency and efficiency.  Some QA features are included in the most popular CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) tools such as SDL Trados, Wordfast, and MemoQ, to name a few. Additionally, we have some standalone QA tools such as XBench, QA Distiller, Verifika, ErrorSpy, Linguistic Toolbox, TQAuditor, Ace, among others.

TQA tools check terminology, consistency, numbers, tags, spelling, acronyms, etc. However, they may also detect false errors as they cannot understand that source and target languages may have different grammatical rules.

As translators with many years of experience, we take pride in our human QA methods. We proofread all our translations at least twice before delivering them and we frequently hire a proofreader or a technical expert to check our translations. Even though TQA tools may not replace translators, editors or proofreaders they are very useful for experienced translators as well as for beginners.

Each CAT tool has its own QA Check Step which we encourage to use after the bilingual file is finished.

QA checks are our best allies. We need to invest in the tools of our industry.

Our team manages and documents all QUALITY processes. The comprehensive reporting function is key to perform the final QA.

No matter how experienced a translator may be and what quality assurance method he or she may use, TQA tools can reduce the number of mistakes and improve the overall quality of translations.

We are confident that we need to measure our processes and see if they are helping us in the final revision of our translations. Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Drucker means that you can’t know whether or not you are successful unless success is defined and tracked.

Reports provide data for evaluation and improvement. They document quality checks and help us identify trends. The final eye of a QA Language Consultants is crucial before submitting the final version of the document.

Photo by Barn Images on Unsplash

The Concept of Quality

The concept of Quality is much more complicated than it appears to be.  Every expert defines quality in a somewhat different way.  There are several aspects that can be taken into account at the moment of defining Quality.

Quality refers to a parameter which decides the superiority or inferiority of a product or service. Quality should play an essential role in every business. It is an attribute which differentiates a product or service from those of our competitors.

Why would a customer come to us if our competitor is also offering the same product? The difference must be in our Quality. Our product or service needs to stand out.

 A Few Definitions Related to Quality:

Quality assurance (QA) is a broad concept that focuses on the entire quality system including language service providers and consumers of the product or service.  It includes all activities designed to deliver products and services of appropriate quality.

According to ASQ, QA includes all those planned or systematic actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product or service will satisfy given needs. [Source:  ASQ Statistics Division, Glossary & Tables for Statistical Quality Control, 1983].

Quality control (QC) has a narrower focus than quality assurance. Quality control focuses on the process of producing the product or service with the intent of eliminating problems that might result in defects.

According to ASQ, QC includes the operational techniques and the activities which sustain a quality of product or service that will satisfy given needs; also the use of such techniques and activities. [Source:  ASQ Statistics Division, Glossary & Tables for Statistical Quality Control, 1983].

Quality management is the totality of functions involved in the determination and achievement of quality (includes quality assurance and quality control).  [Source:  ASQ Statistics Division, Glossary & Tables for Statistical Quality Control, 1983].

Total Quality Management

The concept of Total Quality Management was developed by W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, and Armand V. Feigenbaum. Total Quality Management originated in the manufacturing sector but it can be applied to almost all industries.

Total Quality Management is defined as the continuous effort of language service providers to ensure long-term customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. Remember, a happy and satisfied customer will bring many new customers. The Quality of your product or service can be continuously improved through proper feedback and research.

We need to give something extra to our customers to expect their loyalty in return. If we apply Quality Management processes, we can ensure accuracy, confidentiality, and good timing, among others.

In W. Edwards Deming’s PDCA cycle, Total Quality Management is divided into four categories:

  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act

Planning Phase

Planning is the most crucial phase of total quality management. In this phase, linguists are required to do the necessary research and collect relevant data which would help them find solutions to all the problems.

Doing Phase

In the doing phase, strategies are devised and implemented to overcome the challenges faced by the language team. The effectiveness of solutions and strategies is also measured in this stage.

Checking Phase

The checking phase is the stage where linguists check the text data to confirm the effectiveness of the processes and measure the results.

Acting Phase

In this phase, linguists document their results and prepare themselves to address other issues.

Our Mission

This blog aims to help and guide companies and individuals in the processes necessary to have well-written documents.

Our team will support you to leverage your professional network, achieve your desired objectives and deliver high-quality products in a timely manner.

When working at your company, QA Consultants will pay great attention to detail and check all processes meticulously to make sure everything is done correctly. We will put an equal focus on the quality of the document, your client’s expectations and the constant communication among all individuals involved in the translation process.

Our Quality Assurance Consultants will stand by your side to help your company embrace new technologies and solve any arising issues.

The lifecycle of a general language project requires continuous improvement of working processes and methods, which are not limited to testing or preventing defects but also considering the fundamental role of effective communication to improve the final product.

As the complexity of myriad software applications and environments pose challenges to our language community, we help you address the complexity of each project and be prepared to handle these challenges.