Quality Assurance – How do you check your own work?

All translators have been facing it recently – the quality demands of our clients (both direct customers and translation agencies) are on the rise. Quality assurance plays increasingly important role in our everyday work and we have to concentrate on these issues to keep our clients happy. In this article, I would like to share a few points that I regularly apply when checking my own translations as well as work of other colleagues that I proofread.

The course of my work depends on the source for translation. If the source comprises one or several files, I perform a “rough” translation and after finishing the work, I go through the files again, usually using a clean translation memory just to make sure I do not tend to use the “Translate to Fuzzy” button in Trados to ease myself (but maybe disappoint my client).

In case that the source contains numerous files (such as online help), I tend to be more careful and proofread my work immediately, since I usually do not want to go through the complete folder structure again. In this scenario, I do not use a clean TM. Another possibility is to glue the multiple (Trados TagEditor) files into a single file. Despite this option is quite convenient, I have used it only a few times.

The first step of any QA is a spellcheck. I do this always, no exception. Nothing looks worse than a translation loaded with typos. See one of my previous articles on how I spellcheck files in Trados TagEditor.

The next step is a tag check (Generic Tag Verifier). I have to confess that I forget to perform this step sometimes, but generally it is a part of my standard routine.

What I never use is the terminology verifier tool. Due to the Czech declension, I do not have a good experience with this tool, both in SDL Trados 2007 and in SDL Trados Studio 2009. Despite the clients sometimes specifically request to apply this tool, I keep it deactivated and rely upon Multiterm termbase results.

If I have the source file available (DOC, FM, etc.), I usually export completed translation from the CAT tool into the final file. I read through this file, sometimes perform another spellcheck, and make sure everything is fine. (Just to note, I usually deliver both clean and unclean files to my clients, even though they do not require clean files frequently.)

How do you check your work? Have you noticed that your clients have more stringent quality requirements? You are welcome to add your thoughts.

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