Ensuring quality through processes and automation

Translation quality concepts and reporting

Translation quality is very loosely defined and is usually dependent on the requirements of the end user of the text. There are several publicly available quality assurance models such as the LISA QA model, SAE J2450, the MQM framework or the TAUS DQF, and all of these offer a translation error typology. Most organizations in the world use an error typology to measure the quality of translated texts. Errors usually include terminology-related errors (lack of glossary compliance), syntax errors (wrong grammar, agreements), accuracy (omitted or inserted information in the target language), punctuation errors, and style guide compliance. There are also errors that relate to the media: when you are translating to a right-to-left language such as Arabic or Hebrew, you need to make sure the layout is correct, or when you translate software documentation, the captions appearing in the documentation need to be identical with the captions on the screen.

When you translate legal texts, you often need to use the local equivalents of legal concepts. Using memoQ’s linguistic quality assurance (LQA) module, you can set up your own error typology and get quantitative information about translation quality which comes from your reviewers highlighting the errors. However, only do this if you are ready to engage in managing your terminology (or at least give your vendors glossaries) and setting up your translation style guide that defines what you consider good and bad practice. In order to do this, study your existing translations with linguists, select good examples and generalize them. Have your style guide checked by several linguists and ask back through examples if the instructions are ambiguous. Once you quantify the quality, you are able to measure not only the quality, but also the quality improvement among your vendors. Just like you cannot expect a new colleague to be fully up-to-speed on day one, you cannot expect a new vendor to deliver the quality you want on day one. The best vendors improve over time, and this is further boosted by discussions. 

Discussions are important to work as a team

No matter how well prepared you are, there will always be room for improvement. Source sentences are often ambiguous, new terms or improvements to terminology are suggested, the review may make changes to the translator’s text that the translator does not agree with, and so on. memoQ server’s unique discussions and communication feature allows project participants to use a forum to start threads and assign questions and answers to each other. Personal dashboards allow the users to see what they need to respond to, and email notifications are available to speed up the process. You can set issues to resolved, or send out general warnings or clarifications to all project participants. Project participants can also talk to other project participants through the built-in instant messenger when they are online. 

Always start with terminology

All scholars and practitioners agree that the correct use of terminology is key to translation quality. memoQ offers both translators and companies the possibility to set up and share term bases. Translators can easily suggest terms as they translate, and as terms immediately appear for them afterwards, they are also incentivized to do this – adding terms to the term base means less typing. If you want a terminologist to decide if a term is correct or not, use a moderated term base. Terms in moderated term bases are not final until a terminologist or reviewer approves them. There is also another way to fill a term base: memoQ’s statistical term extraction can analyze your existing documents or translation memories and suggest term candidates. This gets you started with terminology management much faster.

memoQ’s quality assurance module detects missing, extra or wrong terms in the target text. It is able to cope with languages where terminology recognition is not easy because words are conjugated heavily. If terminology changes, you can mark the old terms as forbidden and the quality assurance module will warn you about these terms, and you can use find and replace to find all occurrences of the terms in all the project documents in one go.

memoQ also offers the automated concordance which suggests translators term candidates on the fly. If a certain multi-word expression was translated several times, chances are that it needs to be translated consistently. memoQ automatically displays these source expressions so translators can see the target equivalents with a single click through concordance which searches translation memories and LiveDocs corpora, and if these are large enough, even guesses the target language translation of these expressions. memoQ also offers a term base editor which allows you to merge duplicates and further improve the consistency of translations.

If you need co-workers outside translation and review to see the term bases, you can license qTerm, a memoQ server add-on that is a professional terminology management system. qTerm offers all the tools that professional terminologists require.


Translation memories and LiveDocs corpora store the translation of segments. memoQ’s quality assurance module shows you whether a segment has been translated differently twice or more, and also whether the translation applied was different from the one in your databases. There is always a reason for this: either the translator did not use your databases, or she detected an error in the translation (which may just be her preference or a real error). You can then quickly fix this error in all documents. You can also detect if a translator did not change a fuzzy match after inserting it; fuzzy matches are just similar to the text to translate so they usually need some change in the target text too. The Muses also learn from your databases and recommend the most appropriate translations of expressions.

Translation memory and LiveDocs corpus management

Through the roles in TM feature, translation memories in memoQ can store the role of the person who added the entry, thus you can prefer entries approved by the reviewer over entries approved by the translator, and reviewers can easily see the same matches that the translator got. Context matching enables memoQ to always prefer matches coming from the same context (both linguistically the same and in software products strings with the same ID), and reversible translation memories allow the use of the same translation memories in both language directions, but for the reverse language direction, only as reference.

You don’t necessarily need to use translation memories to archive your existing translations. Managing LiveDocs corpora is easier: just add your translated bilinguals into a corpus, and if there is an update to this document, you can just refresh it. Instead of working with millions of segments, you will work “only” with thousands of documents, containing the same amount of segments. What’s more, translators can always see the document where the match came from, together with a preview, to learn more about the concepts and how they were used earlier. 

Compliance with external resources

If your terminology has to comply with external resources, such as legislation or reference glossaries/websites, you have two options: you can either import all the relevant target texts into a LiveDocs corpus and get results during concordance search to double-check your use of words, or you can set up memoQ web search to search one or more sites of your choice on the internet for the correct terminology when the translator highlights the expression and presses a keyboard shortcut.

The review process

Generally it’s a good practice to ask reviewers to work in memoQ. However, this is not always possible or desirable. However, you need to update your translation memories and LiveDocs corpora after review because otherwise incorrect, unreviewed translations will be conserved.

You can:
  • Use memoQ webTrans which is a much simpler application than memoQ itself, and reviewers can use any web browser to do their job. memoQ webTrans offers the same review functionality as memoQ itself.
  • Export the document into a bilingual Word table so that reviewers can work in Microsoft Word, or export it into XLIFF to allow reviewers to work in other translation tools. memoQ does everything to make sure that this process is bulletproof. You can import changes back into the project and update your translation memories or LiveDocs corpora.
  • Export the document back into the original format, for example a formatted Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign file, allow the reviewers to make changes, and import those changes back into memoQ through the monolingual review feature. This unique feature allows you to use an alignment-like editor that matches the unchanged target segments to the changed target segments.