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The Xerox Translation Quality Assessment Process

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Katia Azevedo photoThink Latin America, held in Brazil, April 7 - 9, 2010 hosted a variety of Language Service Providers/Buyers to engage in professional and business discussions about the changing global marketplace and the critical role fast, accurate translation and localization plays. A number of major, global brands demonstrated what they have done to succeed in the Latin America market, which is becoming increasingly rich and influential. I was proud to represent Xerox Corporation in a panel discussion on Translation Quality Assessment and present the steps we have put in place with regards to Translation Quality Assurance and Linguistic Review, and also share our supplier recruitment and evaluation process.

Our Translation division within Xerox Global Document Outsourcing has nearly 40 years of experience in successfully managing product documentation development, localization and learning services. We have over 1,500 document specialists, translators, project managers and learning experts worldwide and are one of the top language service providers with production office locations that span the Americas to Europe to Singapore.

Xerox Translation Quality Assessment (TQA) Process—Key Points

ClientSide News Magazine pictureThe Xerox Translation Quality Assessment process ensures the integrity of our translations and assures that we provide the best service to our customers. TQA is at the heart of our translator development processes. Heavily based on the SAE J2450 standard, TQA provides a detailed breakdown of corrections made during proofreading and the defect categories these corrections fall into (please refer to graphic A). Our Translation Quality Assessment, which we apply to both documentation and software, is achieved through:

  • Well-established supplier recruitment processes
  • Use of only qualified translators
  • Ongoing quality control of translated materials ensuring translators regularly receive feedback on their translations
  • Use of translation memory tools and terminology tools to ensure consistency of style and terminology
  • Use of style guidelines and glossaries
  • Use of robust reference material support to ensure consistency with previously published content
  • Documented project plans, outlining production processes for each project and specific requirements to ensure no impact on deliveries in case of illness or absence
  • Subject matter training; whenever possible, we work with clients to enable our translators to participate in relevant product training
  • Use of a centralized query resolution process—all queries from translators, whether in-house or freelance, are channeled through a query resolution team. Responses to project-specific queries are sent to all translators working on that project. Then, all queries and responses are kept in a log, which can be searched by translators as a reference
think latin amerika

Proofreading - Crucial to the TQA Process

Proofreaders: All Xerox proofreaders are fully qualified translators with appropriate subject matter expertise. Proofreading activities consist of a complete check of translated content against its source equivalent, checking for correct meaning, adherence to glossaries (when available), grammar, punctuation, spelling and completeness. All translators’ work is proofread until their output reaches required client quality levels as measured through the TQA process. Once this has been achieved, random spot checks are carried out continuously to ensure our processes maintain required quality levels.

Localization Specific Quality Management System/TQA: At Xerox we have developed our own QA model, process and technology that is heavily based on SAE J2450. By developing our own tool, we are able to continuously improve and develop its functionality. We can also customize the tool and processes to meet our customers’ specific requirements. The Xerox TQA model provides a detailed breakdown of corrections made during proofreading and the defect categories these corrections fall into. Errors e categorized as follows:

  • Misinterpretation of source text
  • Wrong/inconsistent terminology
  • Wrong numerical value
  • Grammatical error
  • Omission
  • Incorrect use of measures
  • Wrong style
  • Spelling
  • Formatting
  • Punctuation
  • Miscellaneous

Any errors identified are classified as minor, serious or critical and given an appropriate score. All quality assessors are given clear guidelines on how to assess content so as to ensure a consistent approach to categorization and classification of errors.

High Supplier Standards

High Supplier Standards—the Xerox Supplier Recruitment and Evaluation Process

A Closed-Loop Process

All Xerox translators are ranked according to their experience and ability. Rankings go from T1, the least experienced, to T5, expert level. Translators can have different ranks for different document types and subject matters. All translations performed by T1 - 3 translators are proofread by T4 - 5 translators, using the Xerox TQA model.

Regular TQA review meetings are arranged in order to analyze the TQA data and determine the T ranking of individual translators. T ranking decisions are based on the average TQA score, most frequently recurring error categories, volume of translations completed and proofreaders’ comments.

When applying the Xerox TQA model, the proofreader can insert comments directly into the translated file using specific error codes. Xerox employs a TQA Administrator who runs a Xerox proprietary tool on the pre- and post-proofed files. This tool generates comparison reports and automatically fills in a central global TQA tracking sheet.

The TQA Administrator sends the TQA comparison report back to the original translator, who is requested to review the report and adhere to corrections made. All data is tracked and reviewed. This process provides Xerox with detailed performance data on each translation professional working on any of its projects. The feedback loop ensures that all Xerox translators (whether in-house or external) are aware of quality expectations and are able to improve and develop their translation skills.

The Xerox TQA process provides objective, structured data management, which enables:

  • Trend analysis
  • Error rate and type analysis
  • Translator performance management and training
  • Translator selection and de-selection
  • Quality improvement
  • QC cost reduction
  • Customer satisfaction and retention

It is important to have documented standards when it comes to selecting translation suppliers. We have broken ours down into three categories.


Xerox-qualified translators must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter at hand; our selection criteria include:

  • Native speakers of the target language
  • Full understanding of and experience in translating
  • from the source language
  • Degree in languages or a relevant technical discipline (e.g. engineering, IT)
  • Subject matter expertise in the target industry sector
  • Experience in working with terminology tools, translation memory tools and other linguistic tools All translators working for Xerox undergo stringent testing: submission of a subject-matter-specific test liiece with assessment by an industry expert

Lead Translators

Large volume projects requiring many translators working in parallel are assigned a Lead Translator for each target language who coordinates work across translators, responds to linguistic queries and oversees quality. A Lead Translator will have:

  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience as a professional translator
  • Extensive knowledge of the subject matter in question


Proofreading activities consist of a complete check of translated content against its source equivalent, checking for correct meaning, adherence to glossaries (if available), grammar, punctuation, spelling and completeness. All Xerox proofreaders are:

  • Fully qualified translators with appropriate subject-matter expertise

Additionally, we provide subject-matter training and support to highly qualified translators to further build skill sets.

The Different Flavors of Spanish

The Think Latin America Conference came at the perfect time for us. We are increasingly receiving requests for different flavors of Spanish, targeting specific markets and regions. Therefore, we have adopted translator-profile changes based upon customer specific requests (such as, the target audience could be Spanish-speaking population living in the U.S.). To accommodate all requests, we have established different approaches, including:

  • Developing country-specific glossaries, terminology, style guidelines and Translation Memories
  • Translating into one target Spanish and then having validators from different countries adapt translations to the specific markets
  • Establishing communication channels between translator and validator early in the translation process to reduce validation changes and wasted cycles
  • Depending on the target country and deliverable, deploying a "transcreation" strategy, i.e., ensuring deliverables are created with the target country in mind

TQA enables us at Xerox to drive best translation and localization practices. And our over-arching best practice when it comes to delivering our translations: the approach needs to meet each customer’s specific needs! After all, quality is in the eye of the beholder.

About the author:

Katia Azevedo - Language Services Manager/Xerox Global Document Outsourcing, North America.

Katia has over 24 years of experience in the translation and localization industry and has participated in and presented at several localization events in the United States. Katia has a Master’s of Science degree with Honors in Strategic Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College at Rochester, New York in 2001 and a Bachelor’s degree in Language and Literature from Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ).

Published - June 2012

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