Translation Quality Assurance tools

As discussed in an early blog, translation quality assurance (QA) tools are useful in improving the overall productivity in large translation projects. There are many QA tools commercially available in the market mostly for a price while XBench is available for free. Though they have their own limitations, they can certainly assist translators in saving time particularly when the volumes are huge. We discuss 3 of the more popular QA tools in detail here below. ApSIC’s XBench: This is a free utility created by a Spanish localization company called ApSIC. This is a handy program that can check translations against glossaries like the Microsoft Glossary for errors. Its latest release is XBech version 2.8 Build 385 released last month. Some of the major improvements of in the above release XBench over previous versions include a faster search engine that makes searches 50% faster. More formats support like SDLX memories, Atril DejaVu and Idiom files and Logoport files. Support for regular expressions grammar that allows powerful search expressions and better quality QA searches. Segmenting the translation for conducting the search is possible with the new version. Many bugs in earlier versions as reported through user feedback have been fixed. Another new feature added in the latest version of XBench is the ability to add QA plug-ins by the user. A new .dll file with pre-defined call back function can be created by the user and added for doing his/her own custom check within the ApSIC XBench QA workflow. QA Distiller: This tool was developed by Yamagata Europe and it automates the detection of measurable errors in translation. Version 7 is the latest release of the software. It is one of the most comprehensive as well as one of the most expensive translation tools available in the market. The traceable categories that this tool can identify include omissions, terminology errors, formatting problems and inconsistencies. Enhancements in the latest version of the software include context aware terminology checking, more character sets and language rules, new inconsistency sub option and batch correction mode for some type of errors. ErrorSpy: This is one of the oldest translation QA tools commercially available in the market having been introduced in 2003. Developed D.O.G. GmbH, the latest release is version 5.0. It checks for terminology errors, punctuation errors, consistency and completeness and generates error report. The latest version has improvements such as support for XML based XLIFF standard, a new sub string consistency check to ensure similar sentences are translated similarly and capability to add user defined checks. Typical system configuration that the above mentioned tools require is: PC with 2 GHz processor, at least 512 MB RAM and 50 MB free hard disk space, Windows 2000 / XP / Vista and active internet connection. One of the limitations of translation QA tools in general lies in the glossary itself. If the glossary is full of blunders, terminology mistakes, omissions, formatting issues and inconsistencies, the same will be carried through in the translation also. References like MS glossary need to be constantly revised, updated and corrected in order to provide the perfect reference.