Any LSP worth its salt will take pride in the quality of the translations it delivers. Quality is an essential part of the service – and something buyers expect from an ISO-certified language service provider.

For us, quality is all about our culture, our people and their skills. It means meeting the expectations of every client, whose demands may vary significantly. For a mature translation buyer, achieving high volumes of quality translated material is a complex production process. For a client with a one-off translation request, a translation and revision workflow will provide the quality they are looking for.

In all cases, a high-quality translation involves the following:

  1. Adherence to the standards and requirements of the target language
  2. A linguistically correct rendering of the source text
  3. Adherence to the linguistic conventions of the target language
  4. Compliance with client-specific style guides and glossaries, and consistency with existing texts
  5. An idiomatic style appropriate for the target audience

Looking behind the scenes at STP, we see other factors contributing to a quality service: from the management and company culture through to talented translator and project management teams and advanced language technology specialists.

I’ve always respected the way quality of service is engrained in STP’s ethos, from our company vision, mission and values through to our business planning and strategy.

I asked my colleagues to tell me what quality means for them. Here’s what they told me:

Jacob Hansen, Account Linguist Team Leader

“When training new translators for a specific account, one of the objectives is to encourage linguistic creativity while ensuring a certain level of uniformity with others working on the same account.

You want the linguist to use their own style of writing to ensure a naturally flowing target text, but at the same time you don’t want the external reviewer or consumer to be able to tell the individual translators apart.

From my experience, the best way to ensure consistency without tying the linguists’ hands is to get nerdy and have open discussions on how best to phrase even the most common expressions.”

Janina Kosma, Senior Swedish Translator

“I have to run thorough quality checks with specialised software before delivering my work, and of course the all-important spellcheck, but in truth I find the best quality assurance tools to be a keen eye for detail and an ability to envisage the translation in its intended environment.

In a way, starting a new job is like a brand-new morning – I have to open my eyes to whatever lies ahead and let my mind loose in the realm of Who? – Why? – How? to produce an accurate text that sounds natural – that does not read like a translation.

Then, the best way to end my day is to read through only the target text to make sure I got it right. If it’s marketing, does it make me want to buy? If it’s instructional, do I understand what to do? Would my sales rep, doctor, accountant or IT support guy speak like this? Pausing to ask myself these things is just as important as the automated glossary check that reminds me of the terms required.”

Mattia Ruaro, Language Technology Specialist

“With the way the industry is developing, it is absolutely pivotal to stay up to date with the latest tech developments.

In my team we look after production workflows, software and training to make sure everyone in the company is confident using translation tools to their full potential. A project managed by a well-trained project manager and translated by a linguist who is a proficient user of CAT tools will result in a delivery of higher quality text in the end.

That’s where we can make a difference: we take care of the technology in the background so they can focus on the details of their work.”

Jennie Bentley, Vendor Manager

“As well as ensuring the ISO compliance of all our freelance translators, we also offer on-going support to our translators both via our project management team and our online FAQs on processes and tools. We also work with our language technology team and training manager to provide training for our translators on pertinent topics within the industry, which serves as worthwhile CPD.”

Megan Hancock, PM Training Specialist

“Training every PM begins with a week-long induction, orienting them both within STP and the translation industry as a whole. Formal induction is then threaded together by a modular training structure spanning their first year at STP; this covers the specifics of translation technology, selecting suitable linguists, and successfully meeting client expectations.

Each new PM also has an in-team learning plan, which outlines the work they’ll deal with in their first months, generally introducing them first to a defined set of accounts, projects or CAT tools, which they are then able to apply to a wider context.

In this way, we balance the practical advantages of learning on-the-job without compromising our high service levels and focus on a quality deliverable.”

Emma Tamlyn, Project Manager

“Ensuring quality starts as soon as we get a request email. We always ask for a source or sample file, so that we can check the text type and find the most appropriate translators for the job. This is particularly relevant for medical, legal and marketing texts. We pass on all reference material provided by the client so that the translator has as much context as possible. We offer query sheets to the linguists in case they need to check anything with the client. We also maintain project management instructions for all our clients to ensure necessary information and preferences are shared with all of our PM team.

After the job is completed, if the client comes back with any changes or feedback, we make sure that this is passed on to the linguists for any future jobs, and we will also ask them to update any translation memories or term bases to help future jobs stay consistent too.”

The quality standard we adhere to defines our quality processes, but it takes the talent of the right people to implement them.

Icebreaker, Icebreaker March 2019, Industry issues, Translation industry