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Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC)

What are QA and QC in the Localization Industry?

Posted by Anne Quach on Mar 2021.

Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) are two terms that are used interchangeably very often. Even though they sound familiar and closely relate to each other, QA and QC are two different concepts.

Knowing what QA and QC are and how they differ from each other is crucial for your business, especially when you have frequent demands for translation and localization services. This is because QA and QC have a direct impact on the quality of your localized products.

In today’s post, we will focus on the differences between the two terms and their application to the localization industry.

1. What is Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is a comprehensive process of ensuring the overall quality of a localization project. It focuses on planning, documenting, building process, basic rules, and guidelines for linguists. All these activities are conducted with the aim of preventing defects in the localization process and guaranteeing the best outcomes.

Quality assurance is a proactive process that must be conducted at the beginning of a project and also throughout the whole process. In more detail, quality assurance does not deal with the translation itself, but with the way it should be done to achieve the results that clients expect.

Common steps in QA include:

    • Assigning projects to suitable linguists (in terms of expertise, experience in handling similar types of content, etc.);
    • Training linguists;
    • Managing translation assets (translation memories, termbases and CAT Tools);
    • Creating a timeline for each translation step (based on the metric of the assigned linguists);
    • Choosing experienced PMs to coordinate the project;
    • And more.

 

2. What is Quality Control?

Quality Control (QC), on the other hand, is a reactive process, conducted at the end of the translation process by editors, along with the help from supporting tools.

Editors use QC tools (such as Xbench) to review the translations carefully to inspect any issues or errors. They often check for typos, inconsistent translations, wrong number formats, inaccurate terminologies, etc. Editors will then either fix them or eliminate them to guarantee error-free translated documents.QC in localization industry

Unlike QA, the purpose of QC is not to prevent errors but to fix errors when they are already made. That’s why it is sometimes called a corrective tool.

 

3. The differences between QC and QA

If you are still confused with the two terms, check out the table below with the most notable differences between them:

Quality Assurance Quality Control
Purpose
  • Prevent possible errors and mistakes in the translation process
  •  Managing and planning for quality
  • Fix and eliminate errors
  • Verifying the quality of the output
Types of measure Proactive, Process-oriented Reactive, Product-oriented
When to perform From the beginning of the project At the end of the project
What to perform Planning, documenting, building process, creating guidelines, assigning resources, creating a timeline, etc. Reviewing and correcting errors.

 

4. The relationship between QA and QC

QC and QA

Despite some differences, quality assurance and quality control are interlinked. Quality control is a part of quality assurance. You need quality assurance to create an efficient localization process and quality control to polish up the final translations.

When you practice quality assurance, the translations will be of better quality, which makes quality control much easier and less time-consuming to handle.

In contrast, if you receive bad translation results, it indicates that your process is performing poorly. QC will be needed to improve the localization quality. However, no matter how many QC checks you conduct, they cannot make up for poor QA practice or completely replace QA.

To conclude, QA and QC are not interchangeable, but they are closely connected. Neither of them should be neglected if you want to achieve a successful localization project.

 

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