Current Trends in Quality Assessment

With only a little bit of hyperbole, it might be considered that many in the community of technical authors would make it to the top of just about any global best-seller list. As many products reach far higher unit sales globally than what even the bestselling books achieve, it is easy to imagine that what technical authors write - be it user guides, documentation or other content - frequently reaches a much wider audience than what many popular fiction writers might aspire to today.

Inevitably, much of this global reach is dependent on the content available to users in their local languages - that is, translated content - and these users have equally high requirements for the quality of the content as do the users of original language versions. This puts pressure on producers to ensure that local language quality requirements are met, without generating unnecessary costs for measuring and assessing quality.

Quality Matters

In the famous trinity of cost, time and quality that characterizes just about any project - including translation projects - quality might perhaps be expected to come third, given the constant pressures on costs and efficiency, felt now more than ever before. But the reverse is the truth.

Along with other factors, good quality throughout the lifecycle of typical content should result in reduced times-to-market and help eliminate extra costs needed for correction or rework.

For instance, in the satisfaction surveys that our organization conducts with its clients, quality consistently ranks as their #1 priority, followed by on-time delivery and responsiveness. Cost ranks somewhere in the middle of the evaluated criteria.

Quality assessment has become an indispensable part of most clients' overall global content processes. In addition to preventing costs for corrections from being incurred, the aspects of brand name and reputation are at stake.

In the regulated industries such as life sciences, for example, even a minor mistake can delay a product's regulatory approval and push back a product launch. With the enormous resources put into developing medical device or pharmaceutical products, every moment of delay in bringing otherwise-ready products to the market costs companies in this industry dearly.

In addition to product delays, quality errors in translations can also result in product recalls and in some cases can even lead to product liability lawsuits.

To continue reading, please complete this simple form below and download the full PDF version of this article, published in ISTC Communicator magazine Autumn 2009.

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