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QA checking

Mechanical quality control

What is Mechanical quality control?

Quality control (QC)  or quality assurance (QA) is a set of mechanical checks that pick up errors in translated files that a human eye easily misses. These may be missing translations, number errors, inconsistencies, punctuation issues etc. Many QC tools also contain a glossary consistency checking function, which checks whether the terms appearing in the glossary or termbase have been used in the translation.

Why do we need to do it?

Because no matter how conscientious and good a translator or a reviser is, certain issues are easily missed, especially in a longer translation. A QC check helps to ensure that there are no errors that a mechanical QC check could have picked up. It should be carried out at the end of each translation assignment together with complete spellchecking of the translation.

What projects should be QC'ed?

QC checking is a mandatory step in STP workflows, and you are asked to confirm that QC checking has been done when you complete a project and return the STP QC checklist. All projects and files that can be QC checked, either using a built-in QC checking function in the translation tool or using an external QC checker, must be QC checked. A QC checker is only able to check bilingual files, that is, files inside a translation tool or files exported in bilingual format (source and target present) from a translation tool.

What tool should I use?

Most sophisticated translation tools such as memoQ and SDL Trados Studio have a built-in QC checker which can be run on a single file at a time, or in batch mode on all files in the project (recommended). Refer to instructions provided to you by STP or the tool's internal Help for more information about how to run the QC check.

  • memoQ: STP's QC checking settings will be applied to the project automatically. Launch the QC check from Operations > Run QA either from an open file or after selecting multiple files in the Translations view. See more information about the QC check in the memoQ Help under "Quality Assurance".
  • SDL Trados Studio: Launch the QC check from Tools > Verify from an open file or on multiple files from the Files view and Batch tasks. See more information about the QC check in the Studio Help under "Verifying Translations". Check the settings to make sure that you have the minimum required checks covered.

External QC tools may also be used as long as they support the bilingual file type in question. There are many external QC tools on the market. At STP, we use ApSic Xbench and Yamagata QA Distiller.

  • ApSic Xbench: version 2.9 is free, from 3.0 on subscription, see STP FAQ here: http://kb.stptrans.com/Article.aspx?p=261
  • Yamagata QA Distiller: paid, STP in-house translators see FAQ here: \\stpgroup.file.core.windows.net\General\Training\FAQs\QADistiller.html

So what's the minimum level of checking required?

These checks should be included as a minimum level of checking:

  • Tags
  • Forgotten or empty translations, untranslated segments
  • Inconsistency in 100% match translations (repetitions & 100% matches)
  • Numbers
  • Double blanks
  • Other punctuation checks possible in the tool

100% matches and 101% matches (Context/Perfect/ICE matches) can be excluded from the QC check in most tools if these don't belong to the scope of the project.

Who should run the QC check?

  • Translator if no revision is included in the project, before final delivery
  • Finaliser if revision is included in the project, before final delivery (check with the PM if you are unsure who is the finaliser, the translator or the reviser).