Complaint counts have always been an important quality metric for our language services. That’s because these counts clearly tell us how good the work we’re doing truly is. As the Quality Manager, I’m immensely glad that in 2021, we only had 10 complaints out of 25,137 completed jobs (an 0.04% complaint rate).
Naturally it all starts with our experienced translators. We require them to have appropriate education and sufficient translation experience and to be experts in their translation topics. Our corporate clients expect only flawless translations, and it’s linguists like these who are able to deliver them.
All our translators have mastered at least one specialized translation application (a “CAT tool”), which helps them to maintain terminology across all of a client’s texts, speeds up work by filling in texts that have been translated before, and reveals any language mistakes.
Depending on the translation level ordered, we may also provide revision (bilingual editing) by a second translator, a style/field-knowledge review and potentially also proofreading (a final review).
The result is well-translated documents.
Every year we undergo a strict audit from an independent certification company to show our customers that everything we state in our documentation and all that we publish is really true. In recent years, this audit has been performed for us by the renowned auditors TÜV Nord.
Certification under the ISO 17100 standard is only provided to translation agencies. Auditors periodically check whether our translation-related work is truly performed by experienced translators, project managers, DTP staff, proofreaders etc. Certification is our foundation for providing clients with high-quality translations on time and with the right terminology.
The requirements of the ISO 17100 standard include for example:
This standard concerns requirements for our quality management system. It addresses our internal processes and their measurement and evaluation. In order for our company to receive this certification, we must meet strict requirements for these areas and more:
In short, this is a careful review of all our activities, from processing of the customer’s order to HR work to processing of methodology materials, translation itself, and our final translation review, all the way to the planning of all activities.
Even though both standards are fairly strict, they’re nothing compared to how strict we are towards ourselves. We double-check both our vendors’ work and our own and evaluate it more often and more ardently than we have to. And we do all this precisely because we truly care about quality.
Our processes and procedures are clearly defined, and so every project manager knows precisely what they have to do and how. But we don’t wait until after delivering an order to make sure that’s truly the case; we begin checking while it’s in progress.
Our “trust, but verify” tactics pay off for both us and our vendors. Although modern translation tools watch over their work, these are still not able to catch every problem. So, we have to monitor quality in other ways as well. For large, demanding, or otherwise high-profile projects, we don’t even hesitate to involve independent linguists at our own cost to help us with these aspects. Already during the translation we send them samples of the text, which they evaluate and comment upon. We then immediately return their comments to the translator, who has time to process them and take them into account. All this simply so that the result can be as high in quality as possible.
A high-quality team of translators, correctly established processes, and technology infrastructure are exceptionally important aspects behind our low complaint rate. And yet it’s not just about this. Everyone here in our internal team brings in ideas for improvements and watches news from the fields of translation and project management, and we all motivate each other towards better work. And we also know how to relax during our informal events.
All of this makes up an ideal cocktail of high-quality language services.
In closing I’ll also take the liberty of stating that our goal isn’t “just” great services. We also take pride in building respectful and friendly relationships with both customers and vendors. Because when you truly care about people, work goes quite a bit better!