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Educational Translations

Quality Part I: “Ad meliora et maiora semper”

or continuous aiming at better and greater things.

Among the many meanings of the word “quality”, two are of critical importance to managing for quality:

·         Quality means those features of products which meet customer needs and thereby provide customer satisfaction.

·         Quality means freedom from deficiencies / freedom from errors that require doing work over again (rework) or that result field failures, customer dissatisfaction, customer claims and so on.

We should previously determine which domains can successfully be processed using MTPE. Technical domain, user interfaces, medical translations, patent, legal could be more suitable for MT as they consist in usual phrasing and specific terminology that is standardized. Scientific documents with limited vocabulary are also giving great results. By limited, we consider the number of meanings that a word can have. While we are faced with the complexity of the technical/scientific field, we know that the higher the degree of technical complexity is, the more specific the translation of the word must be, and the more likely that the machine will choose the right word.
Quality is an ancient topic :Code of Hammurabi

Quality is an ancient topic.

In the beginning, Quality Control focused on “after the fact” – The Code of Hammurabi (c. 2000 B.C.) prescribed the death penalty for any builder of a house that later collapsed and killed the owner. So laws were enacted for punishing those whose poor quality caused damages.

This approach proved limited with the growth in science and technology. Therefore, over time, a trend for Quality Regulation “before the fact” emerged, to become preventive in nature.

It is clear that – now more than ever before – quality has come to take center stage. It is crucial for products reaching consumers to guarantee their safety and general satisfaction.

If you feel like going deep into Code of Hammurabi, make sure you don’t miss this source shared by Wikipedia. 

The translation industry plays its role in the process and must comply with the latest quality requirements; thus it is also regulated by International Standards (ISO EN Norms, for instance) in the same way products are.

The nature of translation itself as a nonmaterial good (intangible product according to ISO EN 17100), makes Quality management a subtler topic if compared to measurable features of a material object. It is not possible to perform a chemical analyses or a lab test to check for objective failures.

So how do we strive towards Quality?
What are our tools to ensure it?

Quality
Assurance

&

Quality
Control

LSCs working in our industry are well aware that QA Check is a powerful tool evaluating the performance of a specific project and implementing necessary corrections. It can be embedded in the CAT Tools or used as a further stand-alone step. It provides for quality assurance by pointing out errors and warnings from terminology, spelling, inconsistencies to missing localization standards.

Yet quality control in a broader sense aims at ‘continual improvement’. This term connotes the ongoing nature of strategy and its main purpose is to verify that control is being attained and maintained.

Every single step of the process shall aim at quality.

Clear communication between client and LSC is crucial to successfully carry out the tasks on a specific translation project, and also to maintain and improve the quality on future projects through the virtuous habit of using a feedback loop. Systematic planning for quality control, with extensive participation of all stakeholders is the key: Quality is the result of interactive cooperation between the client and the provider of translation.

While the 20th Century has been the ‘century of productivity’, the 21st Century will be known as the ‘Century of Quality
[Juran J.M.- 1989].

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