The various texts, products, or materials that Language Service Providers (LSP) process every day always have important functions in their context: users read, listen or share them in real situations of life. Because of this relevance, the localization industry has defined steps and tools to ensure that the outputs LSPs deliver integrate neatly in their context of use while being accurate and legible. The two more common solutions for this purpose are Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA) and Post Layout Review (PLR).
Both LQA and PLR are steps that assess the quality of localized texts formatted as they will be presented to users. Basically, they consist of a linguistic review to check that in the process of formatting and embedding text into websites, apps, or videos, for instance, no error has been skipped or introduced. In addition, LQA and PLR are the final proofing phase, where reviewers flag missed grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes.
Format and Quality: PLR
Post Layout Review, also called Post Layout Linguistic Proofreading (PLLP), refers to the linguistic review of a document after desktop publishing services (DTP). Given that DTP specialists are not linguists, they may introduce involuntary errors, or fail to catch them. In the PLR step, a reviewer (a linguist of the project or another) searches for omissions, spacing and alignment errors, misspelled or overlapping text, readability, etc. If something needs improvement, reviewers leave concise and clear comments on what needs to be changed, and the file goes back to DTP.
However, not only formatted documents need PLR. The revision of voice-over tracks, subtitled videos, or e-learning courses, for example, is also crucial:
- Voice-Over: PLR ensures the voice-over artists followed the script and that the audio is clearly comprehensible. It also assesses synchronicity of music, sound effects and voice, and any other technical requirement, if needed.
- Subtitling: PLR checks the synchronicity and layout of the text on the screen, plus flagging any linguistic error.
- E-Learning: PLR checks if on-screen text layout displays correctly and without overlapping or missing text, translation, and recreation of non-editable text and images, the synchronicity of audio and slides, well-function of buttons, links, quizzes, and interactive elements, etc.
Testing Review: LQA
Essentially, Linguistic Quality Assurance is an umbrella term that refers to different quality assurance services carried out once the translation or localization step has ended. Generally, LQA implies the review of localized software, websites, or applications. A proofreader scan and navigates them to ensure that formatting and user interface look neatly and that buttons and links perform correctly.
Furthermore, LQA may sometimes refer to other quality assurance services, such as the following:
- Subject expert review
- Third-party review
- Standardized linguistic review
However, as the localization industry grows global and diverse, it’s not unusual to see that sometimes the terms PLR and LQA are used interchangeably. Either way, they both refer to a review that assesses a final localization output, in what will be its context of use and distribution.
Quality assurance steps translate into more quality, but they also require allocating time and resources. So, when considering adding quality assurance steps to a localization workflow—like PLR, LQA, or back translation, for instance—Project Managers first consider budget and time frames in compliance with clients’ needs. Once decided, they design a well-planned project schedule that allows performing all the steps the project requires.