You may think that a complete translation process is one that includes translation, localization, editing and proofreading; but there’s an additional, very important step that you shouldn’t forget, localization quality assurance (LQA).
If you’re having your website, software, app or game translated this should be on your to-do list before launching on a new market, as it will ensure the quality of your product.
What is Localization Quality Assurance (LQA)?
As discussed in our previous blog post, localization is the process of translating with a specific audience in mind. It implies using local idioms, cultural references and the right formatting for users located in a specific region of the world to better connect and engage with that market.
LQA is the last step when localizing a product for a specific market; it involves testing performed by a third party to ensure that your final translation is properly localized and culturally appropriate. The goal when going through the LQA process is to have a finished product that is so good that your end-users will think it was created in their language in the first place. It is, quite literally, the opposite of having a simple literal translation.
Note that this not only goes for your product or document but also for its packaging, app store description, user guide, instructions and marketing materials.
Benefits of LQA
Ensuring Translation Quality
This is probably the main objective of going through this process. LQA is more than just reviewing the textual translation; it is reviewing it in context to ensure the highest quality, which usually implies having the QA tester play your game or use your software, app or website to spot any errors or improvements to be made.
The tester will notably be looking out for the following:
- Capitalization, Punctuation, Grammar & Spelling Mistakes
Even in the same language, some words are spelled differently depending on the country, thus the importance of having someone review the localization to make sure that it sounds natural to your target audience.
In English, for example, “color” is the spelling used in the United States, whereas “colour” would be the correct spelling in all other English-speaking countries.
A good LQA tester will also be able to catch any capitalization, punctuation or grammar mistakes missed by the translator that can become more evident when put into context, especially in the case of apps or video games.
LQA includes ensuring that the terminology used is consistent throughout and respects the glossary that was established at the start of the project in collaboration with the client (this includes company-specific terms if any).
- Cultural References
Making sure that the cultural references are relevant is especially important and can require some research by the QA tester.
This includes reviewing any references to holidays (is that holiday celebrated in the target country), jokes (is it appropriate and does it sound funny in the target language), historical context and sensitivities (some countries are sensitive to war or violence references, these sometimes need to be removed completely).
- Numeric Formats and Dates
Using the wrong measurement unit (pounds instead of kilos, kilometers instead of miles) or writing a date in the wrong order for the target country is a clear giveaway that your product was not originally created in that language; this is a mistake that can be easily avoided by using a good LQA tester.
Some languages make a distinction when it comes to pronouns based on a situation’s level formality of speech; in Spanish or French for example, there is a specific pronoun that should be used when addressing someone that you don’t know and another one that is reserved for friends and family.
This is important to keep in mind, especially if you own a professional services website or if your app or game includes dialogue between characters.
Ensuring Visual Quality
In addition to ensuring translation quality, LQA includes examining all visual elements to make sure that they still look good following translation.
This could include verifying that the number of characters fits properly onto a button or in a text box, as some languages require more words and characters than English to say the same thing. Your LQA tester will confirm that text alignment is correct, which is especially important if your app or game includes dialogues. Ideally, the LQA tester should be working in direct collaboration with your developers to make the process easier, especially in situations where they must determine if the layout of the game can accommodate longer text or if rewording in fewer words is required.
It also includes reviewing fonts and styles used, making sure that the icons and images used are culturally appropriate and that the names and any other words that should have remained in their original language did. At the end of the day, the translated version should resemble the original version as much possible.
Translators often translate directly from a text file without context and without seeing the format of the final product, which is why some adjustments may be necessary at the quality assurance stage.
Lastly, LQA also includes testing functionality of the translated version of your website, software, app or video game. This involves using the translated product as a regular user would, clicking links and buttons and ensuring that all works well.
It also means making sure that the product can be used in the country for which it has been localized; there are sometimes compatibility issues with local systems and browsers that need to be addressed before the translated version of your product can be launched.
This should be one of the last steps in your product development process. Indeed, when changes are made to the technical features of a product, language can sometimes be affected (dialogue, for example). Thus the importance of testing the functionality of the translated version throughout the development stage, but especially when your product is in its final stages of completion.
What’s the Difference Between LQA and Proofreading?
Proofreading is often done without context, meaning that the proofreader can only ensure that the translated content is free of spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. The proofreader doesn’t have the benefit of seeing the big picture, which makes it more difficult for them to put themselves in the shoes of the native speaker and end-user.
The LQA tester has context and more visibility which gives them the tools required to make sure that the translation feels natural to the end-user. This makes the difference between having a translation that is grammatically correct and one that is correct but also takes into account the conversational tone that is often used in mobile apps or video games, which is important to use to better connect with your customers.
Who Should Perform the LQA Process?
Localization experts put themselves in the shoes of the end-user and look at the overall, finished product from their point of view. Therefore, localization quality assurance should be performed by a local linguist and native speaker of the dialect that you want to target.
Moreover, this person should not be the translator, as having a fresh set of eyes on your translation is essential to ensure its quality.
If the translation that needs to be reviewed is a website, software or an app then that someone would ideally have some technical knowledge in order to be able to discuss with your team of developers. If it’s a video game, the tester should be someone that has a lot of experience playing games in their language as well as some general industry knowledge.
LQA Can Be the Key to Your Success
Undergoing a quality assurance process and offering a flawless finished product to your users will give them a more engaging experience and, in the long run, give you a better return on investment.
Going through such a complete localization process establishes your brand’s reputation as a key global player in your industry. A lot of markets and languages are often ignored or given bad translations – having a perfectly localized game or app can be a game-changer and improve organic reach and engagement.
Let’s chat about your needs and your target market, no project is too big or too small.
If you’d like to see how iGlobe can help you with any translation or localization needs, contact us today!
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