Localize, Test, Review: About LQA and PLR Services

The various texts, products or materials that Language Service Providers (LSP) process every day always have important functions in their context: users read, listen or share them in real situations of life. Because of this relevance, the localization industry has defined steps and tools to ensure that the outputs LSPs deliver integrate neatly in their context of use, while being accurate and legible. The two more common solutions for this purpose are Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA) and Post Layout Review (PLR).

Both LQA and PLR are steps that assess the quality of localized texts formatted as they will be presented to users. Basically, they consist in a linguistic review to check that in the process of formatting and embedding text into websites, apps or videos, for instance, no error has been skipped nor introduced. In addition, LQA and PLR are the final proofing phase, where reviewers flag missed grammar, punctuation or spelling mistakes.

Format and Quality: PLR

Post Layout Review, also called Post Layout Linguistic Proofreading (PLLP), refers to the linguistic review of a document after desktop publishing services (DTP). Given that DTP specialists are not linguists, they may introduce involuntary errors, or fail to catch them. In the PLR step, a reviewer (a linguist of the project or another) searches for omissions, spacing and alignment errors, misspelled or overlapping text, readability, etc. If something needs improvement, reviewers leave concise and clear comments of what needs to be changed and the file goes back to DTP.

However, not only formatted documents need PLR. The revision of voice over tracks, subtitled videos or e-learning courses, for example, is also crucial:

  • Voice-Over: PLR ensures the voice-over artists followed the script and that the audio is clearly comprehensible. It also assesses synchronicity of music, sound effects and voice, and any other technical requirement, if needed.
  • Subtitling: PLR checks the synchronicity and layout of the text on the screen, plus flagging any linguistic error.
  • E-Learning: PLR checks if on-screen text layout displays correctly and without overlapping or missing text, translation and recreation of non-editable text and images, synchronicity of audio and slides, well-function of buttons, links, quizzes and interactive elements, etc.

Testing Review: LQA

Essentially, Linguistic Quality Assurance is an umbrella term that refers to different quality assurance services carried out once the translation or localization step has ended. Generally, LQA implies the review of localized software, websites or applications. A proofreader scans and navigates them to ensure that formatting and user interface look neatly, and that buttons and links perform correctly. 

Furthermore, LQA may sometimes refer to other quality assurance services, such as the following:

  • Subject expert review
  • Third-party review
  • Standardized linguistic review

However, as the localization industry grows global and diverse, it’s not unusual to see that sometimes the terms PLR and LQA are used interchangeably. Either way, they both refer to a review that assesses a final localization output, in what will be its context of use and distribution.

Planning First

Quality assurance steps translate into more quality, but they also require allocating time and resources. So, when considering adding quality assurance steps to a localization workflow—like PLR, LQA or back translation, for instance—Project Managers first consider budget and time frames in compliance with client’s needs. Once decided, they design a well-planned project schedule that allows performing all the steps the project requires.


Transcription Services: The Value and Applications

While video content may be all the rage on social media these days, in the world of business, text still reigns supreme. Because of this, transcription services are often combined with other services like translation and subtitling. Transcription services translate live or recorded (such as an audio or video file) speech into text. It’s common for businesses to utilize transcription services to create records of important information and doing so can lead to reduced overhead, improved business efficiency, and less stress for employees.

Why are transcription services useful?

As mentioned, there are quite a few benefits associated with transcription. Let’s take a closer look at them.

  1. Saves time. It’s typically much more time consuming to listen to audio than it is to read an equivalent amount of text. When you have the written form of an audio file it’s easier to quickly consume the content and to make notes. 
  2. Avoid disputes. Mixed messages can cause a lot of problems, especially in business meetings. Having written documentation of meetings and events can help avoid disputes, as that text is accessible when clarification is needed. 
  3. Searchable content. When looking for information quickly, technology makes it possible to search text almost instantaneously. 
  4. Boost SEO strategy. When you add text to your businesses website instead of or in addition to audio, you can reap the benefits of SEO (search engine optimization), making it easier for potential customers to discover your business online. 
  5. Fulfill legal requirements. Depending on the industry, having a professional transcription may be necessary to fulfill legal requirements. 

Who needs transcription services?

Speaking of the industries that lean on transcription services, almost any business across any industry can benefit from the perks. However, some industries lean on these services more than others do. 

  • Medical. The ability to efficiently record and store patient information such as notes regarding treatment, patient conversations, and medical history is key. 
  • Legal. From court hearings to depositions to client interviews to research, there is no shortage of a need for transcription services in the legal field. 
  • Education. Savvy college professors who want to document their lectures, presentations, or research, can use transcription services to their advantage.  
  • Market research. Any field that requires a lot of research can use transcription services to stay organized and efficient. This is especially true in the market research industry where they gather a large amount of quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Public companies. Because the quarterly meetings and investor conferences of public companies have to be transcribed and made available for public access, these services are vital. 

There are many different types of transcription services that are executed in different ways. The purpose of the transcription will determine which type you need, whether you need timestamps, or if the text needs to be turned into subtitles, amongst other considerations. A qualified transcriptionist can help you determine what your needs are and how to best deliver the text.

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Content Localization Strategy: Where Should I Start?

Localization allows you to take your content and not only adapt it to the language needs of a new target market, but to their cultural needs as well. When localization is taken into account, content can be more effective, relatable, enjoyable, and has less potential to cause offense. For businesses who see the value of content localization, but don’t know where to get started, there are three easy steps you can follow to start building a content localization strategy. 

Step 1. Choose Your Target Market and Language

In some cases, choosing a target market and language to start with might be simple. You may only have one new market on your list. But larger businesses that are planning a massive global distribution of their product or content may need to narrow down their focus while they create a content localization strategy that they’re happy with.

In this case, a company should begin with their strongest markets where they already have an audience established. That way, they can focus on growing this audience instead of starting from scratch. Understanding your top performing markets can help you narrow your focus. Depending on how large and diverse your target market is, you may need to plan different localization strategies that account for a variety of languages spoken and regional differences. For example, in the midwest of America the word “pop” is used commonly, whereas on the west coast the word “soda” is used to refer to the same type of fizzy beverage. If your target market is extremely large, there is the potential to use content localization to really narrow your focus and cater your content and services to a very niche target market. 

Step 2. Choose Content to Localize

While you will likely want to localize all of your content when launching in a new market, you need to choose where to get started. You can localize everything from mobile apps, to video subtitles, to ad copy. When choosing where to begin, you should start with your top-performing content. Whatever content has performed best at engaging with your audience and is getting the most attention is where you should focus most of your efforts.  

If after looking at your best performing content, you’re still unsure of where to start, you can leverage international SEO (search engine optimization) insights. You can use SEO as a tool to learn more about what type of content people are searching for in your target market and can discover which parts of your content will be most relevant to them. 

Step 3. Choose the Right Translator

During any content localization project, choosing the right translator is of the utmost importance. You’ll want to work with a translator that is not only deeply familiar with the target language, but the target culture. Hiring a native translator can provide valuable insight to a localization project, as oftentimes native translators have the best insight into what makes their culture tick. The right translator will also help you create a solid content localization process that grows and improves over time. They can create a database of any cultural nuances, local industry jargon, and market-specific phrases that you’ll need to keep in mind for future localization projects in that market.

The Takeaway: Prioritize Content Localization Smartly

Remember, it’s important to narrow your focus when creating a content localization strategy. At the end of the day, localizing every last bit of content you create might not be possible (at least not in the immediate future). This is why it can be so helpful to prioritize which content will get the most out of content localization. Determining your key target markets, choosing the right content, and finding a great team, can all help you create a content localization strategy that will help you reach your goals.  


What is a Translation Glossary and Why Do You Need One?

Translation glossaries act as an index of a company’s approved translations for specific words, in both the source and target language. In short, a translation glossary is extremely helpful for ensuring language consistency and accuracy across multiple projects. Let’s break down everything you need to know about what translation glossaries are, how one can benefit you, and how to use one.

What is a Translation Glossary?

A translation glossary can come in a few forms, but serves the same purpose, to help eliminate any uncertainty in the translation process, while increasing consistency and decreasing the amount of time and money it takes to complete a translation project. 

Translation glossaries vary greatly and can be very sophisticated or they can be nice and simple. A spreadsheet that tracks terms can do the trick to start. This spreadsheet can then later become a termbase that integrates with CAT tools. This is when translation glossaries are their most useful, as translators don’t have to keep searching for terms, they just pop up in the CAT tool when they appear in a text segment.

What are the Benefits of Having a Translation Glossary?

There are a few benefits associated with translation glossaries that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

1. More productivity. Translation glossaries can help streamline the translation process, as the translator won’t have to spend time researching to find the equivalent of terms that are already included in the translation glossary. This productivity boost trickles down to the editing phases as less reworking is needed because the right terms have already been chosen and there is a high level of consistency. 

2. Reduced costs. Not only will the client receive the finished product more quickly, but they’ll save money too as they won’t need to send the text back to the translator if they realize they prefer other terminology than those chosen by the translator. They can also avoid the costs associated with incorrect terminology usage in critical documents (like medical or legal) that can have negative repercussions.

3. Brand consistency. No matter what type of project you’re working on, a brand should aim for consistency across all channels and communication methods. This creates a better customer experience and cuts down on confusion. Using a translation glossary can help ensure consistency across all projects.

What Should Be in a Translation Glossary?

The answer to this question depends on each company’s unique needs, but generally translation glossaries house specific terminology and their approved translations in a target language. Names, acronyms, and trademark terms may also find a place in a translation glossary. These glossaries are especially common in technical fields with niche terminology like medical, manufacturing, or legal industries. 

How Do I Maintain a Translation Glossary?

A translation glossary should be treated as a living document that is always evolving. After the initial build, you should update it with new phrases that help reflect your company’s latest preferences. This should include any “non-translatable” words that you would prefer to keep in their original language, which may be the case with product names. Adding these terms to the glossary can be especially helpful when working with a new translator who isn’t super familiar with your company preferences.


How to Implement Multilingual Customer Support Without Hiring a Team

While many businesses recognize the benefits and the potential revenue derived from localizing their website, products, and online tools to reach new markets, most struggle to envision how to execute customer support across multiple languages. Going global is an investment, but hiring the native speakers of all the different languages required to have a multilingual customer support team can be overwhelming and expensive. 

If having a multilingual customer support team is out of reach, there are other ways businesses can give their customers the support they need without having to hire a whole team. Before diving into how to implement multilingual customer support, it’s important to remember that “multilingual” doesn’t necessarily mean covering 15 different languages. Businesses can start small by prioritizing the markets they want to target and can add languages as they become more comfortable with the process. 

1. Utilize Chatbots

If you have chatbots on your website that can answer customer questions, it can be helpful to localize these chatbots to your key markets. Chatbots can provide support 24/7 and are less expensive to implement than hiring live customer support. Localization to your target markets is important, as direct translations may not be enough to get the job done and can cause you to run into cultural faux pas or awkward translations. These chatbots can customize your support offerings by collecting data about the issue the customer is having and assigning it to the right team member. This can help stretch your customer support resources farther.

2. Translate Your Knowledge Base

Many websites have helpful Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) pages that their customers can turn to when they have a quick question. If you can get ahead of the most commonly asked questions by answering them on your FAQ page you can save a lot of time and money on live support services. Translating the FAQ page to suit your most popular markets is a great way to offer support across different languages. This is one of the least expensive options for offering multilingual customer support. You can work with a translation team who has native speakers in the language needed on their team to perfect this page.

3. Provide Support Over Email

Phone support can be expensive and customers can get frustrated with long wait times, so it’s a good idea to consider offering email support in different languages where customers can ask questions or send requests. There are integrations that allow these emails to get machine translated so that the support team can understand what it is that the customer needs. They can then write a response and send it to an external translation team that only translates that personalized response. As these are usually short texts, the team can get the translations back very quickly and send it to the customer. By providing translated responses, communication will be improved and the customer will feel more confident that your brand can meet their needs. 

Implementing a multilingual customer support strategy can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to remember you can start small by tackling your top markets first. As your business and resources grow, you can always expand your multilingual customer support options!

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Risk Management in Localization: Managing Resources, Budget and Uncertainties

The concept of managing a localization project may seem simple: receive a work order, consider requirements and budget, and then allocate the resources. However, the process involves so many people and factors that analysis, planning and, also, risk management are mandatory actions for a translation team.

Sometimes, risk management is an overlooked subject, but it’s crucial in any workflow. Project Managers, Account Managers and Quality Assurance Managers, instinctively or not, all acknowledge that some situations may pose more risks than others (e.g. a very tight deadline), and they take actions to mitigate them. Risk management is the process of managing intentionally and systematically the uncertainties that may occur during the course of a project.

Definitions and Types

Risk management implies dealing proactively with uncertainties before they happen. Technically, reacting to a risk after it occurred is not risk management. Identifying and foreseeing possible setbacks allow leaders and managers to come up with the best strategies and solutions to increase the likelihood of project success.

But what is a risk? According to the Project Management Institute, risks are uncertain events that can have a positive or negative effect on at least one project objective. There are different types of risks:

  • Technical Risks, which are related to the technical aspects of a project, like requirements, software or quality.
  • External Risks, which depend on agents that are not under the scope of the organization, like vendors, suppliers, market fluctuations or natural disasters.
  • Organizational Risks, which are related to the way a team organizes its workflows and operations.
  • Project Management Risks, those related to the potential setbacks regarding estimating, planning, communicating and/or controlling the course of a project.

A Proactive Framework

A systematic understanding of the processes managers are involved in nurtures the framework that strongly supports the daily operations within an organization. Part of this background are the actions that can mitigate and reduce projects’ risks. It’s important to point out that risk management is an integral approach that not only involves Project Managers, but rather the entire organization.

Typically, risk management implies three main actions. First, managers identify risks and assess the likelihood and potential damage of each, which helps them prioritize and address the most relevant ones. Once these steps are done, the team puts together a plan to respond to the identified risks.

Being aware of the types of risks and the possible scenarios where they emerge, and having a proactive approach to them, is an integral part of the job of any translation team. The more systematic and organized the commitment to risk management is, the more successful and experience-driven any localization workflow will be.


What is Translation Memory Alignment and How Can I Use It?

Technology can sure come in handy sometimes, especially in the translation industry. CAT tools are one such piece of technology that can make translation work faster and more accurate. CAT, which translates to “Computer Assisted Translation”, is a term that can describe software used by translators to improve their efficiency and quality. A translation memory (TM) is just one feature of CAT tools, but is an important one. A TM serves as a database which stores previously translated text such as words, phrases, and sentences. Despite how useful a TM is, clients may not always have access to one. Let’s look at why that may be and how the issue can be remedied through the use of translation memory alignment. 

Why a Translation Memory May Not Be Used

Using a TM with previously translated text is extremely beneficial to achieve consistency in style and terminology throughout all translated materials, but in some cases clients can’t provide linguists with TMs. This means that neither translators nor clients can leverage prior work when translating new documents. 

There are a variety of reasons why a TM may not be available for use. It could be because the linguist wasn’t using a CAT tool at the time they began translating documents for a client. In some cases, the client may simply not have access to a TM file utilized by a translator they no longer work with and who did not deliver the file during their handoff.

Regardless of the reason a TM may not be available, if the original files and the translated versions are at hand, this inconvenience can be quickly overcome.

Where Translation Memory Alignment Comes In

For those who want to utilize a TM, without having to start from scratch, translation memory alignment allows for the user to import two files representing the same text in two different languages and align the sentences side by side to generate a TM file. This process allows you to build a repository of translation units that will be saved to the TM and can be utilized in future translation projects. 

The translation memory alignment process can be completed through different tools. Most CAT tools offer their own alignment feature, but there are others in the market as well that specialize in this process.

A Personal Touch

Some alignment tools will generate a report with a “quality score” that gives an indication of how successful the alignment was. Translation memory alignment projects should always be performed by a linguist who knows the two languages being handled. The linguist will check each segment and approve correct matches or fix incorrect matches in order to perfect the TM. Human work will help ensure the alignment is 100% correct. This intervention is especially helpful when dealing with documents that have complex formatting that can lead to accuracy issues during the alignment process.


Project Management: Adding Value to Translation Workflows

Contrary to what it may seem, a language service provider (LSP) doesn’t simply offer linguistic services. If so, hiring a single translator would be the same as hiring a translation company. More specifically, LSPs’ primary function is to provide project management services. This is, localization specialists manage workflows from start to finish, adding value to the translated content that the LSP delivers.

Also, project managers (PMs) are crucial because they are responsible for the entire translation process. They manage all the resources needed to tackle promptly and efficiently any project they supervise, including budget, human resources, technology assets and time.

Knowledge Boost

A complete set of skills serves as background when managing a translation workflow. First and foremost, PMs need analytical insight. PMs examine source texts and project requirements to determine which services will be needed and then establish a schedule. Time tracking is part of the value of the final product, since it implies managing time efficiently to deliver outstanding quality within the best deadline possible. 

Moreover, they select among a pool of vendors the right fit for every project. Each language professional has a different set of expertise, competencies and strengths that determine their suitability for a certain scenario. However, responsibility, proficiency and mastering of the domain are the basic preconditions for any vendor to be part of a team. 

On the other hand, PMs know how to best leverage IT resources and Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. Through the use of translation memories, glossaries, references and quality assurance tools, they manage terminology and other linguistic inputs to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Finally, supervision is another factor that contributes to enriching the final product. PMs are in charge of monitoring the translation process. This means that any potential setback will be properly addressed on time.

Learning from Experience

The experience obtained from a project becomes input for further projects, since managing is a process of continued learning. This expertise is also what PMs put in motion in any project. They can support clients by suggesting solutions or guiding them through a range of options, noting the pros and cons of each alternative.

Furthermore, PMs analyze and manage possible strategies that add value to projects. A PM may spot that a project can benefit from a glossary or a style guide, or by adding additional revision steps, creating channels of communication for the team, etc. All these actions help ensure accurate translations and quality-driven deliverables.

PMs at the Core

PMs are involved in all the decisions concerning a translation workflow. However, they don’t work alone. Vendor managers offer support for recruiting the best talent in the industry, or localization engineers enhance the use of CAT tools, for instance. In any event, PMs bring their industry knowledge, experience and expertise to the scene. They contribute by adding value and positively impacting the quality of projects within their reach.


Global Needs, Multilingual Solutions: Meet Multilingual QA Managers

Due to the fact that some language service providers offer integral solutions for globalized markets or products, they sometimes tackle projects that don’t involve a unique language pair, but rather multiple combinations. To assist in these endeavors, there are specialized reviewers that know how to perform quality checks in multilingual projects: the Multilingual Quality Assurance Managers (QAMs). Like any other QAMs, Multilingual QAMs review the material and manage resources and instructions, but for projects with more than one language pair—three, ten, fifteen or more! This doesn’t mean they master all the potential languages a project may involve. Multilingual QAMs rather use their linguistic knowledge from the languages they do speak to comprehend glossaries or instructions for other combinations. In addition, they use Quality Assurance (QA) automation tools in their favor.

We talked to two of our most experienced Multilingual QAMs at Terra to offer expert insight on this challenging task.

The Three Functions

Both Verónica Ríos (Senior Multilingual QAM) and José Antonio Buzón Carbajo (Multilingual QAM) agree that the position has three main functions. On the one hand, they perform the final quality checks before delivery. They use QA features in CAT tools or specific software to do so. “We have the capability of searching for severe errors or incompliances with client’s instructions or glossaries in any language,” José explained. Stylistic or preferential changes are not under their scope, since that’s what native editors review.

On the other hand, their second function is to make all the client’s preferences, style guides and instructions easily accessible to vendors. As Verónica said, “We manage and update all the resources and instructions regularly, because our job is both corrective and preventive. We try to define guidelines for issues that we know may pose challenges among vendors. By doing so, we try to avoid mistakes or incompliances before they happen.” Because of this, Multilingual QAMs need to be very rigorous and organized to correctly classify and update the materials and instructions for every language pair.

Lastly, QAMs manage feedback. They receive and analyze clients’ evaluations, and try to translate them into clear instructions for the teams. However, they also provide feedback to vendors. “At this point, building a solid communicational approach is key for us,” José added. As he explained, it’s the basis to provide constructive feedback to receptive linguists, who likewise help QAMs when they have questions about text in their native languages.

QAM Starter Pack

QAM in general and Multilingual QAM in particular rely on specific IT resources, such as CAT tools’ features or QA software. These are mandatory tools that ensure quality by avoiding or detecting evitable errors that the human eye may fail to catch. “We as QAMs take full advantage of the resources memoQ offer,” Verónica explained. Term bases, translation memories, QA rules, auto-translation rules, non-translatable lists, all allow integrating important guidelines into CAT tools, and that reduces the margin of error or incompliance.

Moreover, José and Verónica recommend collaborative online resources to share information, like Google Spreadsheets. If supervised, updated and organized, they allow sharing in real-time valuable information with vendors around the globe. They can be helpful for many uses, like Q&A sheets, instructions or feedback.

Curiosity and Imagination

Regarding the skills needed for Multilingual QAMs, Verónica thinks that experienced editors “have a trained eye to know what to correct and what to prevent,” she explained. Furthermore, being enthusiastic about QA automation and organized with time management and resources are, for her, mandatory assets.

Apart from that, as José sees it, a Multilingual QAM must be creative and willing to find new solutions to the projects’ needs. “Too much imagination is never enough in this role,” he concluded. Any challenge is a new opportunity to search for ways to boost a team’s capabilities, always with QA tools as allies.

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The Value of DTP Services in Translation Workflows

The Value of DTP Services in Translation Workflows

The workflows Language Services Providers manage include more than the translation or edition of a source text. A certain project may need other professional services to ensure a finished and high-quality deliverable. These tasks can be voice-over, subtitling, video editing or graphic design, among others.

Specifically, when translating textual materials (like flyers, books, handbooks, posters, brochures, and so on), desktop publishing (DTP) is a crucial part of the workflow. In the localization industry, the DTP service mainly implies formatting a translated document using page layout software. Specialists recreate the original format, taking into account typesetting and layout, graphics, images, etc.

However, DTP specialists can also work before the translation begins, preparing documents so they are suitable for import into CAT tools. Hence, DTP is a process that can take place before or/and after translation.

Editable documents

Textual materials can be files stored in many different editable formats. The most common and accessible in the industry are Word documents and InDesign documents (IDML). These can be imported into CAT tools, which has many advantages in a translation workflow. Namely because they provide features that help with consistency and accuracy, like translation memories, termbases and quality assurance settings.

If the documents have non-editable images or graphics with text (maps, charts, diagrams), DTP specialists can extract it. Once it’s translated, they insert the text in the graphics retaining the original format.

Scanned documents

DTP specialists can also process and prepare scanned documents and photographs of textual materials that need translation. As stated before, it is always better to have as input for translation an editable text, since with it, the management and linguistic team can process it using a CAT tool.

Optical character recognition (OCR) is a technology that can distinguish printed or handwritten text characters in digital images or scanned paper documents. This way, it’s possible to get an editable version of the text, suitable for edition, formatting, searching and data processing. So, by using OCR software, DTP specialists can provide the translation team with editable documents from non-editable source texts.

However, to get an editable input document is not always possible. Some scanned documents have several pages with unintelligible handwriting or bad quality resolution, so OCR software doesn’t come with good results. In these cases, translators must work from them directly.

Extract of a scanned document processed with OCR

The final eye

DTP is not the final step of a project involving it. After the DTP specialist has worked on the files, a linguist (it can be part of the project or someone specialized in the task) must proofread the material. This last editor will review the formatted document in order to ensure the target text is accurately embedded in the original layout. He or she will also check that DTP specialists inserted no involuntary mistakes during their work process. Furthermore, they search for omissions, bad line breaks, spacing errors, spelling and punctuation errors, and text aspect.

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