The Quest for Quality: Editing, Proofreading and LQA

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Editing, proofreading and linguistic quality assurance (LQA) are like cousins: they belong to the same family, since they take place after the translation is done, but they are very distinct. 

In this article, we explore the differences between the three services and how each one contributes to high-quality localization. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what you are asking your localization team to do and what your quote includes. 

Editing, Proofreading and LQA Testing: What’s the Big Difference? 

LQA is in a field of its own, so let’s set that aside for a moment and focus on editing and proofreading. 

Editing: A Deep Dive 

Editing is the first step in the post-translation process and involves making substantial changes and suggestions to level up the overall quality of the translated content. The editor’s aim is to make the translation sharper, more consistent and error-free. Their responsibilities typically include: 

  • Comparing the translated version against the original text to ensure that it is complete and accurate 
  • Detecting and correcting any translation errors, inconsistencies or problematic passages 
  • Ensuring that the translated message is conveyed correctly in terms of language and culture 
  • Focusing on style and implementing revisions to improve it so that the text is better suited to market and audience needs 
  • Adjusting the translations to general and/or specific guidelines or instructions (if any) 
  • Running a spellcheck on the target texts 
  • Checking consistency with preferred terminology (if any), working with glossaries/term bases/general references/etc. 
  • Adjusting the translations to character limitations (if any) 

It doesn’t matter if the translation was done by a human translator or an MT engine; every text can benefit from the editing process, where the human touch solves problems and adds shine. 

Proofreading: The Final Once-Over 

Depending on the type of project, proofreading comes next. Proofreaders focus on correcting any superficial errors in the translated content without looking at the source text. Since this is the final step in the process, they put themselves in the target audience’s shoes and: 

  • Read the text as if it were an original work, making any changes needed to ensure its coherence and correctness. 
  • Comb the text for any remaining errors related to grammar, syntax, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and formatting. 

Proofreading is especially useful when the written content will be displayed in manuals or guides. However, when it comes to websites, player support forums or in-game content, an LQA test should be performed instead. 

Localization Quality Assurance: A Test by a Linguist User 

LQA is the final layer of review in projects where the text is embedded in graphic elements and/or is manipulated by a user. Linguistic testers review your translated text in the final place it will appear so they can spot and correct instances where a translation needs to be adjusted. LQA testers: 

  • Report localization errors in the current build, including font issues 
  • Flag inconsistent translations, taboo language, fluency issues, overlong strings that get hard to read and untranslated text that should be translated according to the project’s general localization guidelines 
  • Point out the inappropriate placement of graphic elements 
  • Report when commands do not work as expected, links or commands are misleading, the text on a button does not correspond with its function, or the user is not sent to the intended destination 
  • Point out if any performance problem arises during the revision 

Because LQA testers review the text with all the accompanying graphic elements, they are able to see the text as the final user would and solve any problems that would interrupt their experience. That’s why developers should always opt for LQA when it comes to in-game text or any text that will be included in a digital medium.  

Putting it All Together: A Triad for Success 

Localization involves so much more than translation. It’s a multi-layered quest to create a game that can be enjoyed in any language, regardless of the language it was developed in. Some developers choose to jump straight from the translation to the LQA stage so that the reviewers have the chance to work in-game instead of with the text alone. However, a round of editing before the LQA process is key. This allows testers to focus on contextual errors instead of getting bogged down by linguistic issues that could have been fixed before the text was ingrained into the code.

An early investment in editing can significantly reduce the overall development time by preventing lots of back and forth. And, while LQA is the way to go for in-game text and any digital content, proofreading is still the ideal final step for out-of-game materials with static text that won’t be affected by placement or user interaction. 

Want to learn more about how this triad of quality processes can take your localization to new heights? Get in touch! 

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