In English, there are a number of terms that people believe are interchangeable just because they appear similar. Two of these are quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA).
Quality assurance vs quality control doesn’t have the same meaning when it comes to the translation industry.
Translation quality assurance, referred to as QA, tries to stop defects in a particular process. Overall, QA ensures that the correct techniques are used in the first place in order to produce and deliver the end result of a translation. For example, in language translation, the QA team’s role is to ensure that translators under their jurisdiction are using standard translation methods that all translators agree to use. This offers a greater chance of getting the best translation quality assurances for all translations. It’s proactive as it aims to stop any errors being made throughout the translation process. As soon as QA has finished, the quality control, QC, comes into the picture.
The QC role relates to the end product and ensures that any mistakes are revealed and rectified before the translation is passed on to the paying client. The difference between quality control and quality assurance is that QC isn’t interested in the techniques used to reach the final translation but is a corrective tool meaning it corrects any mistakes that have been made in the translation process. So quality control in the translation industry simply means checking to ensure complete accuracy and correcting any translation mistakes that are found. The process of translation isn’t scrutinized, but the end translation is. A back translation is a key example of QC.
Difference between QA and QC
Clearly, both of these are important whatever industry quality assurance is needed in, in order to make the production process, and quality control is required in order to make improvements to the final product. When translation quality assurance takes place it makes quality control far easier. This is due to the fact that when a process is conducted smoothly it is reflected in its results.
Poor results in a translation are often a reflection of a badly implemented process, so the QC phase can reverse how a translation is being conducted if necessary.