The Translation Centre strongly believes that sustained quality requires planning and organisation at management level, and has therefore adopted a set of measures to be implemented before, during and after translation.

These measures are divided into three areas: i) quality prerequisites that create the right conditions for producing high-quality translations, ii) quality control that is carried out during the translation process, and iii) quality measurement that enables the Centre to improve the quality of its output over time.

Quality prerequisites

The key aspect in this area is the rigorous selection of in-house translators. The Centre recruits its staff on the basis of two General Implementing Provisions on the recruitment of temporary agents and contract staff.

In addition, the Centre defines the criteria for public procurement procedures for the selection of external service providers very carefully so that translation framework contracts are awarded to the best external contractors.

Quality control

Our linguists systematically check and revise the work completed by external contractors. As well as ensuring the quality of texts before delivery to clients, this process also steadily increases the quality of freelance work throughout the duration of framework contracts. A reranking procedure guarantees that external contractors are ranked upwards, or downwards, according to the quality of their work, so that those with the best ratings eventually progress towards the top of the external contractors’ list. An assessment sheet is filled in for each external job, which contains not only an overall assessment of the translation quality but also, where necessary, detailed information on the types of errors encountered. In-house revisers will also draft feedback for freelance translators if need be and, where appropriate, the corrected work is then sent to external service providers for future reference.

All in-house translations are cross-checked by a colleague in the same language team in line with the four-eyes principle and criteria defined in the Translation Quality Assurance Manual.

Alongside these pre-delivery quality checks, in 2010 the Centre introduced ex-post quality checks, performed on a random sample basis, whereby in-house translations are assessed by external experts.

Quality measurement

The Centre uses a number of tools to assess and ensure quality and client satisfaction, most notably the Client Satisfaction Form (CSF). This allows clients who use the Centre’s Client Portal to provide positive or negative feedback on any document delivered, thereby enabling the Centre to take note of client preferences and address any recurring issues at the same time. In addition to replying to feedback received on a case-by-case basis, client comments are reviewed at an operational level to assess whether more wide-ranging quality measures can be undertaken to meet client requirements.

The Centre also conducts periodic client surveys to measure long-term user satisfaction and identify areas for improvement in terms of linguistic quality and the quality of its services as a whole. Such surveys are useful for identifying client perceptions of the Centre’s strengths and weaknesses and for taking stock of how well the Centre delivers generally with regard to deadline compliance, quality, its responsiveness to issues and its understanding of client-specific business needs and environments.