Catching errors of fact, tone and culture before they haunt your next launch.
How important is translation Quality Assurance? Well, in one case, the lack of it launched one of the most iconic internet memes in history. Let’s set the time machine to 1992 to tell the story – and lay out a compelling case for quality control in your translation and localization project.
Toaplan Company decided to localize their successful Japanese arcade game “Zero Wing” for English-speaking markets. Built into the game was an introduction story to set the scene that was, in classic early 90s gaming tradition, told in text across the bottom of the screen. The only problem? The entire introduction was a garble of terribly translated English that included the choice phrase “All your base are belong to us”.
It’s comical now, but it left the executives at Toaplan with a hard-learned lesson: Translation without quality control integrated into the process is, at best, incomplete – and, at worst, could make you a laughingstock.
A Three-pronged Approach to Effective Localization QA
Building smart LQA (Language Quality Assurance) that works hand-in-hand with Language Service Providers (LSPs) to get more effective localization messages is how we at Chillistore got our start. And we’ve identified three specific areas of quality assurance that come together to form the core of a strong LQA program.
1. Beyond Words to Meaning: Ensuring True Translation Quality
The reality is that all too often, translation is about quantity rather than quality. Translation teams work on deadlines and need to translate as much copy as possible. In addition, they may not be familiar with the nuances of your industry, business practices, or the current formal vs. informal communication norms within a market. That leaves room for errors and inconsistencies.
But adding an LQA step into the process inserts a team of Language experts who work directly with LSPs to address common translation issues and ensure all your content is appropriate for the brand and culture.
Stopping Misunderstandings Before They Start – Or Spread to the Rest of Your Content
LQA teams examine the initial translation and provide feedback — reviewing the translated content for language errors, inconsistent wording, and cohesive brand representation. To put it simply, LQAs make sure your content reads well, sounds great, and is true to your brand so that it can be implemented and used through every channel of business communication consistently.
2. Ensuring Visual Quality So That Nothing is Lost in Translation
Getting the right message in your translation isn’t just about the words. It’s about ensuring the words render correctly and flow within the layouts, be they digital, print or motion, wherever they appear. A skilled LQA team will verify this visual presentation to make sure the presented information looks just as good in the translated content as in its original form.
The Text Expansion Surprise No One is Delighted to Discover
In many cases, a marketing team is unaware that translations tend to expand the text length – in some cases, 30% or more. This can truncate callouts in print or UI elements on a website or app and leave critical information missing to the reader. Catching this “ghost text” before launch means less customer service frustration later.
Beyond text expansion issues, the LQA team will verify typography, including font, font size, kerning, leading, and typeface, to ensure the end user’s layouts are visually appealing and easy to read and understand.
LQA Details for the Digital Age
In digital production, LQA teams also verify the quality, sizing, and file format of localized graphics and double-check the references and linking tags to ensure the user’s experience is intuitive.
Print-specific pitfalls LQA pros watch out for
And, of course, a diligent LQA team is always on the lookout for page flow and layout concerns, like making sure the relevant images are located with the correct type. One more print-specific LQA check: making sure the table of contents page references are updated after translation. You may be surprised at how often this little detail is missed.
3. Beyond Translation Quality: Inclusive QA
Respectfully navigating the differences in cultures lets your message make the proper impact in any and every market. To do this requires a unique translation expert who understands the nuances of both the source country and the target culture. This way, the message’s intent is translated -– not simply the words.
Allow Us a Shameless Plug
Our team at Chillistore takes things a step further than other LQA providers by combining our language expertise with technical knowledge. Our linguists test the products to ensure they run smoothly and make sense in context. We also check that the words and terms are consistent across products, services, and platforms and can help craft a tailored SEO strategy. Chillistore’s goal is to function as an extension of your business. You focus on your business, and we provide a resilient, end-to-end, total-quality management program.
Need a team of LQA Pros? We’re Here for You!
As a company, our roots are in LQA, and it’s a point of pride that our teams are some of the most experienced in the industry. We’ve been instrumental in quality-checking localization efforts globally and through all industries – saving them from costly mistakes and more than a few public relations problems.
And we’d love to offer you the same peace of mind. To borrow from a noted old internet meme: “All your LQA worries are belong to us.”