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Translation Quality Management Model for Multilanguage localization in Outsourcing Environment

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ClientSide News Magazine pictureWhat does a translation quality management system model look like? Translation Quality Management (TQM) model is a guide to building a translation quality management system in a localization organization. The TQM model consists of 3 components: Standard set, Process Set and Repository. It is the interaction among these components that helps the organization improves its translation quality management system. The TQM model is the basic framework. The organization can construct and enhance a translation quality management system gradually based on this framework.

TQM is the quality management practice which utilizes PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) principle. Meanwhile, TQM provides some organizations with the methods to set up the translation quality management system.

Intel Globalization & Localization (GLS) China team is a new service provider for internal localization & globalization requirements. It manages multi-language localization by outsourcing. GLS China adopts the TQM model to enhance its translation quality management system since it was established. This article is a summary of its practice in managing localization quality.

1. Overview

Localization is an important requirement in many international corporations. It is utilized in many kinds of services, such as translation, QA, DTP, testing, and project management. The localization organization needs provide localization solution for multiple languages. Most corporations centralize the localization service by using outsourcing.

Localization organizations might meet some common challenges with translation quality management in today’s complicated outsourcing environment such as:

1. Project manager has little knowledge on non-native languages.

2. Project Manager knows little about localization suppliers.

3. Project manager may encounter a bottleneck because of cultural differences in communication.

It is important to build a translation quality management system to manage multiple-language localization. Only with effective quality management, can the localization project manager be confident of the quality delivered.

2. TQM Model Architecture

The purpose of the TQM Model is to keep the translation quality on the track of continuous improvement. It is a basic structure of translation quality management system. Localization specialists can use mature existed knowledge or technology to enrich the quality management system. Take ISO9001 as an example, it is nowadays utilized in many organizations to manage quality. Some important principles are quite useful to manage translation quality. Meanwhile the localization organization can improve the quality system through self-development.

The TQM model image

The TQM model consists of 3 components: Standard Set, Process Set and Repository. Standard Set is the collection of all documents on translation requirements, evaluation criteria, translation guideline, etc. Process Set is the collection of all documents that are related to quality management. Repository is the supporting system which is used to save controlled documents, records, necessary information, terminology, etc. The repository can be either a large IT system or a simple file folder.

3. Standard Set

There are two kinds of standards in Standard set: Translation Standard and Evaluation Standard.

Translation standard

Translation standard is the collection of all translation requirements. The organization needs to document its translation standard and made it available to all involved vendors as well as internal project managers.

For an international company, the translation standard consists of three levels of standards according to applicable scope.

1. General translation standard – The standard is applicable in general scope, such as industrial terms.

2. Local language translation standard –The standard which is applicable in a designated language only, such as language style guide.

3. Corporation translation standard –The standard which is applicable in a designated company only, such as the company’s trademark or product name.

The translation standard can be gradually developed from many sources. Such as:


• Customer feedback
• Linguist expert
• Published document
• LISA QA Model


• Internal Document
• Project Experience
• Feedback from QA review

For a new localization organization, LISA QA Model can be the reference to quickly establish the translation standards. Localization specialist can get some idea from LISA QA Model to establish a general translation standard. As for local language translation standard or corporation translation guide, it needs to be developed gradually.

Evaluation standard

Evaluation standard is the criteria to measure the quality of translation. It is the document that usually defines the following items:

1. Classification for translation error.

2. The weight of the identified translation error

3. Quantified index for quality (It can be labeled TQI “Translation Quality Index” or other)

4. The formula to get the quantified quality index.

5. Bonus: the positive score given to some good translation.

The evaluation standard is to help the localization organization get measurable data on translation quality. It is important for organizations to define quality objective, conduct analysis and corrective action.

The TQM model - Evaluation standard - image

4. Process Set

The localization organization can develop its processes to make quality management systems more effective depending on the actual situation.

The processes usually cover the following areas:

1. Quality evaluation process – Measure vendor’s quality according to defined translation standard and evaluation standard (suggest using 3rd party QA vendor to measure the quality)

2. Vendor performance management process – Monitor vendor’s performance (Quality index, customers feedback) and pursue continuous improvement action.

3. QMS review process – Analyze and review translation quality management system, provide improvement plan

4. Terminology Management Process – Create terminology that is consistent among all localization suppliers.

5. Training Process – Provide necessary training to internal staff and vendor.

Among the above processes, the Quality evaluation process is the primary process. For a new localization organization, it can outsource linguistic QA work to a qualified vendor. The QA vendor needs to take independent work and provide a qualified QA report. The chart below is an example of the Quality evaluation process.

Other processes are secondary processes. They can lubricate the engine of the translation quality management system. For an example of the terminology management process, it is helpful to enhance the terminology consistency so as to iprove the quality. In the outsourcing environment, when many vendors are used for the business, terminology consistency will become a serious problem.

An Organization can develop processes depending on the real situation. The TQM model will be enriched as more and more processes are developed. A repository can be set up to keep the output of the processes for future review.

The TQM model  image

5. Interaction of translation quality management model

PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) is an important principle in quality management. According to PDCA principle, the interaction of TQM model can consists of 4 circular stages.

a. Plan translation quality management system

It is the stage of planning the translation quality management system. The TQM structure should be built in this stage. The standards, processes and quality objective should be developed.

b. Execute TQM System

It is the stage of executing the Translation Quality Management System. The execution record should be kept in a repository. The quality index and all feedback will be collected during execution.

c. Measure, Review and analyze Quality Management Performance

Based on the TQM model execution status, the localization organization needs to do some work on measurement and monitor. They can review whether the quality objective is achieved, whether there are some issues that need to be corrected and whether there are some risks that need to be managed.

d. Review and Analyze Quality Management System and obtain follow- up action

Corresponding action should be carried out to improve the TQM system according to the review result. With PDCA cycle, the translation quality management system will be improved continuously.

6. Summary

TQM is not an abstract theory. It is the summary from practice. It does help new localization organizations build up translation quality management systems and improve localization quality continuously.

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