(BOSTON) – Translation quality provokes much debate, largely because few people share the same definition of what “quality” means when applied to translation. Since mid-2021, CSA Research, along with standards bodies, industry experts, leaders of major language services providers (LSPs), and enterprise representatives has been engaged in ongoing discussions aimed at defining three grades for translation products, their associated use cases, and the criteria for each grade.
Dr. Alan Melby, president of LTAC Global, says “The introduction of grades to the translation industry arose from consultations between members of the translation standards community, quality management expert Paul Fields, and CSA Research. CSA Research’s outreach to its leadership councils and members has been crucial in gaining feedback from thought leaders in the industry.”
These constituencies believe that adopting and relying on a shared framework of translation grades will promote industry transparency and maturity, reduce conflict and confusion, and enable participants to address current and emerging challenges such as burgeoning content volumes, continuous localization, and the growing number of language combinations. The findings and recommendations of the research firm’s study of translation quality is detailed in its latest report, “Making the (Translation) Grade.”
“The three grades outlined in this research – high, medium, and low – should not be confused with quality levels, which focus on typically undefined expectations,” comments Dr. Arle Lommel, senior analyst, CSA Research. “Organizations should always expect quality outcomes, that is, results that meet their needs. Instead, translation grades focus on the requirements for different scenarios and the type of translation most likely to meet them.”
“Making the (Translation) Grade” describes the motivation for using grades, why they will promote transparency and communication, and the definition for each grade. It addresses how to use grades to achieve better outcomes in other languages for the content organizations produce. For LSPs, it discusses how to apply grades to set clearer and more effective expectations with clients, which will enable the delivery of better outcomes for both suppliers and buyers.
The report, which is part of a research membership, examines:
- How product grades work and why they help buyers and sellers of language services.
- Why quality levels don’t work and why grades represent a better option.
- Overview of the three proposed grades, their associated use cases, and the production methods best suited to each one given current technology.
- Ways in which content creators and LSPs can use translation grades to improve their language operations and achieve better satisfaction.
- The progress of two committees, ASTM F43 and ISO TC37, and their work to standardize grades.
- Recommendations for content creators and LSPs about how to apply translation grades.
The guidance detailed in “Making the (Translation) Grade” is based on CSA Research’s synthesis of many discussions with quality management experts, LSP executives, localization leads at enterprise content creators, and standards bodies.
“This report will help quality managers, translation team leads, and content architects in enterprise localization groups understand what translation grades are, how to apply them to their content, and why they matter. For LSPs, it will guide sales staff, operations leaders, and project managers to understand what the requirements for grades are, how to apply them to set realistic expectations with clients, and how they relate to production methods.”
About CSA Research
CSA Research, formerly Common Sense Advisory, is the leading independent market research company helping global companies profitably grow their global businesses and gain access to new markets and new customers. Its focus is to provide its clients with reliable market research and verified data to operationalize, benchmark, optimize, and innovate industry best practices in globalization, internationalization, localization, interpreting, and translation. http://www.csa-research.com | @CSA_Research