[DITA Loc Wire series] There is a universal agreement that translated content must be reviewed for quality control, regulatory compliance, and user experience. The content continuously improves over time, as the corrections are integrated into the translation memory.
The review should also be performed by a native speaker of the target language, an expert in the domain and offering: An In-Country Expert.
Indeed, a translator (or an LSP) ensures that translation complies with the target language (grammar, spelling). Still, the input from the In-Country Expert is precious for capitalizing on their knowledge of the customer lingo, tone-of-voice, and the precise domain terminology. Without such a review, the quality of the translation will eventually degrade.
The in-country expert’s job in DITA is somewhat of an ordeal
Finding an available in-country expert and maintaining commitment, in the long run, is often a significant issue. The collaborator is usually a local marketing manager who can only work part-time on the review, especially when the translation is triggered by a new product launch, which generates a high workload.
Besides, the in-country expert only works on reviewing from time to time and cannot be expected to master any translation tool, any content structure such as XML, or to spend much time checking the changes. With structured content in XML, the review environment is also a major issue. It can be very verbose when significant re-use is implemented (conref, keys, conditional content…).
Furthermore, since the content is often re-used, this expert can be requested to review the same content again and again in different contexts.
What are the best practices to optimize your in-country review?
- Select the content that is subject to review. Reviewing 10% of the content, if wisely selected, is enough to ensure a high-quality level. The 10% can, for instance, be strategic topics or new content.
- Ensure your content is localization-friendly. Design the source content to ensure that quality is built-in; pay attention to accuracy and consistency. This can be achieved by proper DITA structure using keys and strict authoring rules.
- Engage the in-country experts. When they are appointed, make the review part of their official job duties, involve them with glossary development from the start and train them on their contribution to the overall process.
- Make reviewing efficient and straightforward. The process should be easy to use, focused on new content, with an in-context review and corrections saved and re-used.
- Ensure the reviewer’s long-term buy-in. Incorporate the comments and complete the feedback loop so that both the expert and the translation team incorporate the edits made on both sides. Over time, the expert will see that the translation quality and process continue to improve.
Your DITA information architect, your localization manager, and one or two in-country experts should form a team to review how the content and the localization process can be continuously improved. An external consultant can bring a different perspective from other industries from time to time. Another option is to stay tuned to our DITA Loc Wire series 🙂