The Crowdsourced Approach to Quality Review

Quality, satisfaction, user-friendliness, and appropriateness for local market: we hear about all of these things in the translation and localization industry, especially during sales cycles and program set-up. So it always surprises me how rarely we seem to ask this when it really matters, i.e., once you’ve released/published the product! Of course, you get your own reviewer feedback during the in-country review cycle, and this feedback leads to continuous improvement as assets are updated and translators get to know their audience better. But that audience always seems to be your internal reviewers. The audience that really matters, though, is the end customers in the local market. How many companies are asking them about content quality? And for those few who are, is there a mechanism for relaying this information back through the communication supply chain in order to feed continuous quality improvement?

I recommend that clients work with their localization partners to build a complete, end-to-end feedback chain that encompasses end-user comments. This can be achieved fairly easily for all types of translated materials:

1) Websites: a) Provide links to feedback forms. b) Use pop-up survey invitations at random to solicit

feedback regarding site quality and content. c) Provide a feedback email address for any concerns about site

quality.

2) Software and user assistance (including technical manuals for manufactured goods): a) Provide feedback

email addresses within the user documentation. b) For online help systems, embed links for a feedback

system like the one used for web content. c) For software, embed a feedback system (through email or linked

to site) in the About or Help menus.

Many customers use these approaches to solicit feedback about their content quality, but where the system often breaks down is getting that feedback to the localization supplier to help improve the quality of future materials. This is because many clients feel that as far as their localization provider is concerned, the loop is closed off once material has been published. But by expanding the definition and scope of the communication supply chain to tie in the localization provider to the end-user feedback, content translation becomes a continuous process, not an isolated project, and your localization provider can thus become a true partner in success.

To accomplish this goal, you need only establish a communication link between the recipients of external feedback within your organization on the one hand, and your localization provider on the other. The goal then is to collect all the data and, as part of the prep phase for the next iteration, have the translation team review the collected feedback, evaluate its validity, eliminate feedback not appropriate for implementation, then use the remaining material to update the linguistic assets (e.g., translation memories, style guides, glossaries). Also remember to update the previous content within your content management system (CMS) to ensure materials already in use reflect the feedback before starting a new round of translation. Using this approach means you have effectively crowdsourced part of your review work!

One other step you can add to this process if you want to encourage this crowdsourced approach to end-user review is to communicate with the reviewers whose feedback you actually implemented. Nothing fosters brand loyalty and customer involvement like knowing that one’s opinions are being heard. So in cases where feedback is traceable to specific reviewers, send out a form email to all such customers to let them know their opinions had a real impact on your site or product and encourage them to look for the changes in the next release/update/version. This will increase the likelihood that they will buy from you again, and also increase their involvement in future reviews of your materials. By extending the communication supply chain to include your end-users and linking them to your trusted localization partner, you may soon find you are able to bypass the in-country internal review phase, which can 1) reduce the workload of internal resources, 2) save you money and 3) most important of all, reduce the time to market for your content/products.

To find out more about how a streamlined communication supply chain can benefit your organization, pleasecontact me today.


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