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QA vs. QC

The difference between quality assurance and quality controlThe translation-quality panel discussion during next week's Localization World promises to be an interesting discussion. Unfortunately, one of the panelists, Marie Hanabusa, had to withdraw at the last moment.

The materials she was going to talk through were interesting. One of the items from her presentation was a look at the differences between quality assurance and quality control.

Here is how different sources distinguish between QA and QC:

Merriam-Webster says...

QA is "a program for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met."
QC is "an aggregate of activities (as design analysis and inspection for defects) designed to ensure adequate quality especially in manufactured products."

According to Wikipedia...
QA is "the prevention of defects, such as by the deployment of a quality management system and preventative activities."
QC is "the detection of defects, most commonly associated with testing which takes place within a quality management system..."

Here is what Businessdictionary.com thinks...
QA is "often used interchangeably with quality control (QC), it is a wider concept that covers all policies and systematic activities implemented within a quality system."
QC is "a subset of QA, it comprises of [sic] activities employed in detection and measurement of the variability in the characteristics of output attributable to the production system, and includes corrective responses."

And, finally, according to Kent State's Institute for Applied Linguistics [PDF link]...
QA is "evaluating overall project performance on a regular basis to provide confidence that the project will satisfy the relevant quality standards."
QC is "monitoring specific project results to determine if they comply with relevant quality standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory performance."

Our panel discussion at Localization World will look at how we can get value from quality efforts - as opposed to it being a death march. If you're in Berlin, be sure to stop by!

Has the distinction between QA and QC become clearer after reading this post? If so, consider subscribing to Medical Translation Blog via email or RSS!

1 Comment:

  1. ForeignExchange Translations said...
    In a comment left in the LinkedIn ASQ group, Ari Arivazhagan made the following points that I thought would be relevant to post here:

    The PMBOK(r) Guide of PMI defines QA & QC as below. I have been not only teaching these to 1000s of PMs but also find them to follow easily.

    Quality Assurance:
    "Quality Assurance is the application of planned, systematic quality activities to ensure that the project will employ all processes needed to meet requirements"

    Quality Control:
    “Performing quality control involves monitoring specific project results to determine whether they comply with relevant quality standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory results."

    I too find these definitions / differences convincing and compelling.

    My observations or comments are:

    1. QA is proactive and QC is reactive.

    2. QA is performed "before" (the product or project work results/deliverables) and QC is performed "after" (the product or project work results/deliverables).

    3. QA is preventive whereas QC is corrective.

    4. QA is mostly "customer focused" whereas QC is "company (internal) focused"
    5. QA is Value Adding (VA) whereas QC is Non-Value Adding (NVA)

    6. "Proctoring an exam" is a QA activity whereas "evaluating answer sheets" is a QC activity.

    7. QA can include QC but QC can not include QA.

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