Quality Assurance in Translation: Defining It and Leveraging It to Deliver Excellence.

The translation business requires superior precision, because even one poorly translated word can affect the meaning and quality of a project. For industries that have a direct impact on people’s lives, such as those in the areas of pharmaceutical, legal, and finance, accurate translations are especially critical. With that in mind, international standards have been developed for language service providers (LSPs) to ensure they achieve high quality translations.

Ulatus understands that a strong quality assessment process is at the heart of any impactful and measurable localization program. Further, to be a positive disrupter to the traditional language service provider model, we realize that the expectation of our clients is to provide them with optimized process management and the very best subject matter experts to produce continuous high quality benchmarks. Our 99.55 percent client satisfaction rate is a direct result of our quality management system that we carefully scrutinized and tested throughout several iterations during its development phase. Designed to ensure high quality translations for every project, regardless of the language pair, file type, or involved technologies, our system is based on several key components for excellence:

ISO 17100:2015 – A Game Changer

In 2006, the European Committee for Standardization developed EN 15038 to provide quality assurance standards for the translation industry.   The ISO 17100 transfers these provisions to the ISO framework and builds upon them, to create what is truly a game changer for the translation industry.

To be considered for the ISO 17100 certification, translation service providers (TSPs)  have to consistently meet stringent requirements – an accomplishment that Ulatus successfully achieved. In fact, Ulatus is among just one percent of the world’s translation companies to have been awarded this certification. Some of its requirements include:

  • All translators, proofreaders, and revisers are mandated to provide documented proof of their professional and educational qualifications. In addition, certain competencies have to be in place for a professional to work on any translation project, including research, cultural, linguistic, textual, domain, and technical competencies.
  • Translation companies must have a compulsory revision process, along with client specification parameters.
  • There must be a means in place to protect data and ensure that information remains confidential.
  • Businesses need to provide a mechanism to measure client feedback, such as regular client satisfaction surveys.

So, what does this mean for our clients? For starters, this certification guarantees that translations are of top-notch quality and are done by a highly qualified team of translators, editors, a project manager, and other personnel. Furthermore, clients do not have to worry that their information, including translations and source files, will get into the wrong hands; all information is confidential. In addition, translations will be completed by the established deadline, and work is fully traceable to make certain that project files are retrievable.

Ulatus – Three-Step Translation Approach

Another important aspect of our quality management system is our three-step translation process, which includes:

  • Language translation by a bilingual subject matter expert (SME)
  • Cross check against the original work by a second bilingual SME translator
  • Project review by a native English editor to fine-tune the writing

When working with clients, one of the most important steps in our process is to select a translator who understands both the language and subject. Our translators are bilingual, and they are experts in specific areas. Using a variety of translation strategies, they ensure not only that the text is correct, but also that the author’s meaning is accurately reflected. In addition, our editors, who are experts in the target language and who understand international standards in publishing, are able to make adjustments to the tone, context, and writing of the document, so that it suits the region of translation.

With SMEs leading the translation process, clients can be sure they are working with someone who understands the industry’s jargon and terminology, as well as concepts pertinent to the field. This SME-led approach is particularly important when dealing with legal terms, since using an incorrect word can completely amend the meaning of a clause. Even more important, misunderstandings in medical and pharmaceutical translations can put lives at risk.

Coupled with our SME-led approach, our process of cross checking translations allows translators to do their best work by ensuring that every word is precisely translated. As a result of double checking every translation, clients can be assured that their work was carefully translated, and then meticulously checked for accuracy.

Rigorous Recruitment Process

The third part of our quality management system is our recruitment process – this is absolutely key to consistently delivering quality excellence. After all, it only takes one unprofessional or incapable employee to disrupt the dynamic and flow of a team, ultimately affecting the quality of work that is produced.

As a result of our stringent hiring requirements, only one percent of the thousands who apply to work with us will have an opportunity to do so. Through a series of tests, we evaluate applicants’ language proficiency, knowledge of the industry, and expertise in specific subject areas. For example, we only consider hiring Japanese translators who have successfully completed Level 2 (N2) and Level 1 (N1) of the Japanese language proficiency test. In addition, translators must have achieved a score of more than 800 points on the J-Test (Test of Practical Japanese), and they must have completed Level 2 and Level 1 of the BJT (Business Japanese Proficiency Test).

In addition, Ulatus only hires translators who have reached the Gold level, which is a score of 860-990, on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), as well as only translators who have achieved a score of more than 100 on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or 600 on the printed version of the TOEFL.

Once hired, new translators are carefully monitored for their initial two months of employment, and any who are not meeting our standards will receive further training. After the additional training, we expect to see progress being made; if not, we simply let them go from our company.

By selecting professionals with top-notch language skills, mastery of their subject areas, and technical expertise, we ensure that we have put together a team who will work to achieve the best results for our clients. Regardless of tenure, every translator at our company receives regular feedback and monthly assessments.


To have a transformative impact on a client’s work, translations have to besuperlative, not just sufficient or even just good. For us, true success results stems from knowing that our translations have enabled publication success for our clients, or that our efforts have led to increased engagement and new customers for our partner companies. Our goal is to ensure seamless communication of new concepts across the globe, and having a strong quality assurance process is the most effective way to make that happen.

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