Translation Quality Assurance Tools


by Tuomas Kostiainen (

All modern CAT tools, such as Trados Studio, memoQ and Wordfast Pro, include a variety of quality assurance (QA) functions. Unfortunately, these functions are often underutilized by translators because they can be difficult to find (particularly if you don’t even know to look for them) or need some additional setup to be really useful. I’m hoping that after reading this article, you are motivated to take a look at this feature in your CAT tool and start using it.

Typical QA checks include checks for items like forgotten/empty/inconsistent translations, length comparison/verification, repeated words, double spaces, numbers, units, punctuation, capitalization, quotation marks, brackets, trademarks, terminology, spelling, and tags. In most tools you can also create your own checks by using regular expressions. QA checks are generally done by comparing target segments with (1) the source segment, (2) certain language/user-specific rules, or (3) an external termbase or termlist.

As you can see, these are checks that would often be too time-consuming, annoying or just downright impossible to do manually, but at the same time they are important for the quality of the translation. Here are a few tips on how to get started in utilizing this very useful feature:

1. The first hurdle is usually locating the feature and its settings in a CAT tool. Search the Help file. For example, in Trados Studio it’s called “QA Checker” (Studio has also a separate terminology verification and tag verification feature), in memoQ “Quality Assurance” and in Wordfast “Transcheck”.

2. Go through the settings and see what types of checks would be the most useful for you. You don’t have to use them all or all the time. The most useful checks often depend on the language, project and yourself.

3. Don’t get discouraged by false positives, i.e. error messages that are not real errors. Try to minimize their number by fine-tuning the settings. That makes it easier to read the QA report and see the real errors. However, you also need to learn just to skip the unnecessary error messages when reading the QA report. You cannot avoid all of them.

4. Learn the basics of regular expressions. With a little regex knowledge you can easily create very handy customized checks and search expressions.

5. If you need even more powerful QA functions or want to run checks in many different types of bilingual files (and not just in your own CAT tool’s files), you should take a look at the stand-alone QA tools, such as QA Distiller, ErrorSpy, Verifika, Okapi CheckMate and ApSIC Xbench. Not only do they allow you to check various types of translated bilingual files but you can also use them for checking translation memories. QA Distiller and ErrorSpy are very powerful tools but also more expensive and geared more towards translation agencies and project managers. Verifika is a less expensive but powerful and easy-to-use tool that is suitable for individual translators as well. Okapi CheckMate and Xbench are free tools with much more limited QA functions but support a large number of different file types.

You can find additional information about these QA and TM management tools in my ATA Conference handout which can be downloaded from here.


NCIHC Career Center Connects Job Seekers and Employers to Improve Language Access in Health Care


Submitted by: National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare

The National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC) recently launched the NCIHC Career Center, a new online career center designed specifically to connect employers and healthcare language service professionals.   It can be found at and can be accessed by NCIHC members and non-members alike.

The service is free of charge for job seekers, and there are a variety of job posting products available to hiring organizations. NCIHC’s employment marketplace distinguishes itself from generalist job boards in a number of ways, including:

  • a highly targeted focus on employment opportunities in healthcare language services;
  • the ability for employers to post jobs easily, track activity on those postings, send job opportunities to NCIHC members via email, generate brand exposure, expose jobs via NCIHC’s social media channels, advertise in NCIHC print publications, and more;
  • the ability for job seekers to utilize anonymous resume posting and job application—enabling candidates to stay connected to the employment market while maintaining full control over their confidential information; and
  • gain access to industry-specific jobs and top-quality candidates—a feature not seen on  mass job boards.

“Providing our members with opportunities for professional development, networking and career growth are core to our mission of promoting language access in health care,” said Joy Connell, NCIHC President.  “The breadth of our member base also makes us the best channel available to employers to expose open jobs to active and passive job seekers,” she continued.  “With the help of JobTarget technology and expertise, our Career Center is populated with a large number of relevant jobs and offers a variety of powerful tools for both employers and jobseekers.”

“Language access professionals can now rely on NCIHC to provide resources to help advance their careers,” said Tristan Jordan, Vice President, Career Center Business Unit at JobTarget, NCIHC’s partner in this new resource. “This valuable career resource will serve NCIHC’s vast network of supporters, while at the same time providing access for employers in the industry to a pool of highly qualified, niche talent.” For more information, visit

San Diego Conference


by Anu Erringer, Certified English-Finnish translator

The conference in San Diego was the first ATA conference I have had the opportunity to attend. For 17 years, I have been working from my small home office (my ”translation bubble”) in Santa Barbara, a beautiful town on the Central Coast of California, full of tourists but almost devoid of other translators or Finnish people.

Although I don’t mind working by myself, the conference was a good experience for me professionally and socially.  It feels good be a member of a group that shares similar interests and challenges despite geographical distance  and time zones. I had a chance to meet other Finnish translators (there were 4 of us) and other Nordic and Baltic translators.  I attended the Nordic Division meeting and the dinner at La Fiesta, had interesting discussions and found that we Scandinavians, of course, have a lot in common – not only historically, ideologically and linguistically but also because of our status as linguists of small languages.  Even though our division is small, it is an important venue in bringing us together.

There was such a range of sessions to choose from at the conference that it was sometimes hard to decide and I was hoping for a clone or two. I ended up attending many business-related sessions, such as website construction, freelancer-agency relationships and desktopless office, and also medical translation sessions and tool tutorials. I voted in an ATA election for the first time and heard talks and discussions on many of the issues facing ATA and our profession, including pricing. I found the tool tutorials useful and checked out different translation software at the Exhibit Hall. I have been a Wordfast user for years, but after the conference, I took advantage of the conference discount and bought Trados Studio 2011.

I did not know many people at the conference to start with, so I decided to just start talking with random translators during coffee breaks. Not the easiest thing for an introvert like me, but I ended up having various interesting discussions. Many attendees also saw my pink first-time attendee ribbon and came to talk with me. I had a chance to meet a few of my clients that I had never met in person before – for example, a client with whom I have worked for 15 years.  I found the overall conference experience positive and came home full of energy and excitement for my profession and new ideas about the direction I want my career to take.

Nordic Division 2012 Dinner


Eighteen members of the Division gathered at La Fiesta restaurant in San Diego to share a meal and get to know each other during the ATA Conference. If you know any of those pictured, please send their names for inclusion here to Charlie Ek (

Nordic Division 2011 Annual Meeting Minutes (Revised)


Date:              October 28, 2011 at 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Place:              Marriott Copley Place, Boston

Present:               Christian Schoenberg, Tapani Ronni, Hanne-Rask Sonderberg, Jane Kjems, Marina Meerburg, Dania Wendell, Karin Berling, Irja Frank, Kirsti Langbein, Dee Shields, Jayme DeSocio, Celia Chamatropulos, Catarina J Wilson, Saila Milja-Smyly, David Rumsey, Tom Ellett and Alice Klingener.


1.                   Call to order

Administrator Christian Schoenberg called the meeting to order at 10:03 am.

2.                   Acceptance of agenda

Agenda was accepted as presented.

3.                   Approval of minutes of last year’s meeting

We were unable to locate the minutes taken at the ND Annual Meeting at the 51st ATA Conference in Denver in 2010.

4.                   ND Overview for 2011 (Christian Schoenberg + Tapani Ronni)

Christian Schoenberg presented an overview of 2011 activities.

–                   For branding reasons, ATA does not allow its name to be used for ND outreach efforts.

–                   Chamber of commerce outreach needs to take place through the ATA PR Office or by using materials specifically approved by the ATA.

–                   The ND LinkedIn group is doing quite well. It currently has 34 members.

–                   The Facebook group is in the process of being closed down. Most members seem to prefer LinkedIn as a forum.

–                   We also have a ND blog run by Tess Whitty and Christian Schoenberg.

–                   David Rumsey presented the ATA/Division organizational structure for the members of the meeting.

–                  The Nordic Division website has been updated: more content welcome, contact Christian Schoenberg. We are in the process of listing all reference works relevant to translators working with Nordic language documents.

–                  ND Annual Dinner will take place Friday, Oct. 28th at 7:30 pm

5.                   Governing Policy for Divisions (David Rumsey)

Governing policy for Divisions; leadership council and nominating committee. ATA has switched the administrative structure for the divisions from having just an administrator and assistant administrator to creating “leadership councils”.  Each “leadership council” consists of 3-10 member, who will help share some of the duties and provide greater input from the division membership.  Ideally it contains a mix of old veterans and new recruits to ensure better consistency over time. The first leadership council is appointed by the acting Division Administrator. Leadership committee members will not have term limits. A nominating committee of 2-3 members will select a Division Administrator and Assistant Administrator from among the Leadership Council, who will act as the main contacts with ATA HQ.

6.                   New Business for 2012

Christian Schoenberg described the duties of the Administrator and Assistant Administrator: Function as a liaison with the ATA, maintaining the website, blog, LinkedIn group and arranging the ATA Nordic Meeting, and attempt to find speakers for the ATA Annual Conferences.

David Rumsey, Tuomas Kostainen and Jane Kjems volunteered for nominating committee.

They will select a Administrator/Assistant Administrator from among the Leadership Committee during the year.  Other candidates can nominate themselves.

Topic and speakers needed for 2012 conference. Many suggestions were received from the floor and Christian will follow up on those:

  • Translating for Law Firms
  • Clean Technology and Oil/Gas
  • Technical Translation
  • Scandinavian Literary Translations for the U.S. Markets
  • Fair Trade Translations
  • Translations of Opera/Musical Theater Texts for the U.S. Markets
  • Anglicization of the Nordic Languages
  • False Friends in the Nordic Languages
  • EU Documentation
  • Subtitling

Deadline for further suggestions and specific speakers is in February.

ATA Conference in 2012. ATA’s 53rd  Annual Conference
Hilton San Diego Convention Center,  San Diego, California, October 24-27, 2012

English to Swedish is approved and running. English to Danish not on the table. Swedish to English is work in progress. Norwegian tests are not in progress.

6.                         Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 11:03 am. Thanks for a great meeting!


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Nordic Division 2012 Annual Meeting Minutes



Date:              October 26, 2012 at 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Place:              Hilton, San Diego

Present:               Tapani Ronni, David Rumsey, Charlotte Brasler, Susan Larsson, Anu Erringer, Aleksandra Anderberg-Westun, Catrine Modig, Tess Whitty, Erling Dugan, Saila Milja-Smyly, Lisa Dahlander, Kelly Olsson, Tom Ellett, Paul Norlen, Leona Zacek, Dee Shields


1.                   Call to order

Assistant Administrator Tapani Ronni (TR) called the meeting to order at 10:06 am. Administrator Christian Schoenberg (CS) was in Denmark.

2.                   Acceptance of agenda

The agenda was accepted as presented.

3.                   Approval of minutes of last year’s meeting

The Nordic Division (ND) Annual Meeting minutes from the 52nd annual meeting in Boston, MA, were presented and accepted after a change to section 5: David Rumsey (DR) pointed out that the passage about the leadership council was not quite correct, and he explained the current system as it works. The administrator is the point man for the ATA. DR will e-mail the changes to TR.

4.                   ND Overview for 2011 (TR)

TR presented an overview of 2012 activities.

The ND LinkedIn group currently has 48 members (listed by CS).

The ND Web site: CS made it himself for free. We can change the content as desired.

The ND blog needs input. TR asked for content.

TR had a meeting with ATA president Dorothee Racette: the ATA would like to see more activity and connectivity between members. (To find the ND Web site, go to the main ATA site and search for ND.)

CS reported (through TR) that his idea to contact chambers of commerce and work on ATA/translator awareness ran into difficulties because his approach was not acceptable to ATA, which wants a more centralized approach coordinated with the ATA, e.g. the ATA’s PR Committee. DR explained why: there are over 25 ATA divisions, not all language-related, and the ATA cannot allow too much autonomy from the individual divisions because policies must be consistent across all divisions and there is too much risk of external parties such as chambers of commerce getting incorrect information.  Chambers have no idea what ATA is and what translators do, which is why CS wanted to approach them. Tess Whitty (TW) pointed out that ATA’s chapters have the freedom to do act more independently. DR: Individual members are free to tell chambers anything and everything about ATA, just not appear as a representative of ATA.

Thanks for CS for funding last year’s dinner. All present who attended agreed it was quite an event.

DR explained about how the leadership council system works, e.g. that the Division Nominating Committee looks for the next administrator and assistant administrator from among the Leadership Council members. TR asked for more volunteers for the Leadership Council. CS does not want to continue in the LC in 2012-2013.

TR explained the election system, what elected by acclamation means: if there are no other candidates, there is no need for actual voting. TR was elected ND administrator and Charles Ek the assistant admininistrator by acclamation.

The ND Annual Dinner will take place Friday, Oct. 26th at 7:00 pm, at the La Fiesta restaurant on 5th Street.

5.                   New Business for 2012

San Antonio next year: We had only 2 events this year: the ATA wants us to have more and strongly encouraged us to submit proposals. Distinguished speakers from Europe are more difficult to get accepted, but the more proposals the ATA gets, the easier it is to get one or two through.

TW pointed out we need other speakers too, not just distinguished ones. Division members can be speakers themselves, e.g. they get a conference fee discount, gain status and get published.

Proposals must be submitted by the end of January: send any ideas you may have to TR. Sessions can be subject-related, can be practical and/or can be co-sponsored by another division. Speakers can be Nordic themselves, or the subjects can be Nordic-related.

Charlotte Brasler asked about remuneration for speakers: DR said it depends on how long their presentation is, how much they contribute to the conference, etc.  ATA gives a set sum depending on that. But the best we can do is to sell it on prestige, volunteerism, etc.: the ATA conference has the largest attendance of translators anywhere. Send ideas to TR rather than contacting a speaker yourself.

The ND Web site needs input: please contact CE if you have anything to share or contribute.

There are currently no plans to set up a Facebook page or Twitter feed. If anyone wants to do either, please contact TR.

DR told us that the SWE-ENG certification exam is close to completion. There will be practice tests available in 2013 and sittings as well.

TW: Many SFÖ members are interested in ATA certification. TR: There is no interest in Finland. DS: Not in Denmark, either.

ATA certification is only intended for use on the U.S. market and while there are colleagues in many other countries that are interested; the Nordic countries are generally not.

DS explained Danish system: that authorization requires Danish to be one of the languages in the language pair authorized and requires a Danish master’s degree in LSP or an educational background deemed to be equivalent – and there are very few educational programs abroad that come even close. The Finnish authorization system is largely equivalent to the Danish one.

6.                          Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 10:52 am. Thanks for a great meeting!


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New sheriff in town


Hello everyone. Christian has accepted my offer and I am now the Nordic Division blog and web site editor. He lured me in with the promise of only a little work. Let’s prove him wrong — I look forward to receiving your submissions!

Best regards,
Charles Ek
195 Evergreen Valley Road
Milton, NH 03851
+1 (603) 7816620
Skype: eidsvolling