As a translation manager, it's essential to measure the quality of work produced by your staff and vendors. But translation quality is a difficult thing to measure, mostly because translation is so subjective. What one person may consider to be high-quality work may be substandard to someone else.
So in order to take the subjective nature out of measuring translation quality, many managers attempt to measure productivity. But even this is sometimes trickier than it seems.
What to measure?
First, there is the problem of identifying a valid measurement. Ideally, translation productivity should be measured on some kind of outcome basis, such as the number of documents created.
This is important not only so you can evaluate the performance of your current translation vendors and employees, but also so you can determine whether you are under- or overstaffed. When you are ready to staff a new project, this information will help you determine how many people you will need and how long it will take.
Individual vs. process
The most important point to keep in mind is that you must resist the temptation to rate each employee against his or her colleagues on the basis of the metric.
Everyone in an organization is embedded within a process, and high productivity only occurs in the context of an entire system set up to support it. It's vital that management uses its metrics to chart the entire effort and react only when the numbers reflect an overall problem in the process, not in any one person's individual performance.
Certainly you need to know if someone is not pulling his or her weight. But it's much more important that you're able to detect problems affecting the organization as a whole so that you can address those issues before they become too damaging.
Finally, there's no one golden measurement, but if you combine metrics across quality dimensions, you can quickly home in on an accurate representation of translation quality that leaves nothing significant unknown.
It is important that device and drug clients take steps to measure translation quality themselves because few translation suppliers really know how to objectively measure translation quality.
ForeignExchange Translations delivers measurable translation quality to out pharmaceutical and medical device clients. Contact us to learn more.