Three Tips to Achieve Optimum Localization Quality

How do you achieve optimum localization and translation quality? It’s a million dollar question on the lips of most localization professionals and one that we discussed at length at the Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2016 in Dublin. Quality is a moving target and it does depend on content type and audience.

The ultimate measure of quality is whether your customers engage with your content and receive a great customer experience. You can have matrices fixed around quality that measure the number of translation errors per 1000 words; however, at the end of the day,customer satisfaction is the best measure of quality. It’s not just about the matrix and the KPIs.

You need a holistic view of quality to understand all your international user’s needs. When someone is shopping on in Italian or German, they don’t know or care that the source content may have started life in English. No one looks at the quality of the initial content, whether user assistance or marketing materials. Online shoppers simply judge whether their own local experience was a positive one and whether they want to go back. Whether you’ve used MT or human translation, look at the customer experience to measure whether you’ve delivered optimum quality in all language variants.

Gather External Feedback

One of the challenges on measuring translation quality on customer experience is gaining feedback from the right sources. We can gather a lot of internal feedback, from product, translator and reviewer teams and we need more from external users. For, we do have external feedback surveys but we get feedback mainly on the buttons and navigation, rather than the actual content. Feedback is key and identifying effective ways to gather it will be key to successfully measuring quality in the future.

Take Translators through the User Experience

Giving insight and in-context knowledge to translation teams will also give better quality output. If you can pre-board translators and copywriters and expose them to product training and how their content is going to be used, then you connect translators with the end content and product. They feel part of the overall content creation team and will produce better localized output which will require less review cycles.

Look at Source Content

One area where you can also improve localization quality is to look at the source content. How good is the source content? If the source English is bad then any localized versions will follow suit. Internal feedback loops can help identify problems in the source earlier in the localization process before the overall translation and review process starts. If you get the right levels of quality from the beginning, then you have less to worry about in any subsequent localized versions.

Ultimately, we’re looking to create a localization and translation system that gives our customers the best experience possible, with minimal friction internally. Looking at translation errors won’t give you an indicator of optimum quality. Great brand equity, increased sales and revenue, low complaints and returns will tell you whether your customers are happy.