Translation Quality

Overview of Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA)

As a Content Owner or Localization Project Manager who is responsible for translation quality, you need the right tools to help linguists produce high-quality translations. The process of evaluating and providing feedback on translations is instrumental to enriching quality.

Smartling provide a range of Quality Features to encourage translation quality -  the most versatile being Linguistic Quality Assurance. 

Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA) is incremental to the evolution of your localization standards. LQA is a process by which human linguists review translations and, by using a set methodology or schema, determine if they contain any objective errors. Errors are grouped into categories. 

Examples of objective translation errors could include, but are not limited to:

LQA can be performed by internal Localization teams or outsource LSP's, and it can be evaluated from any method of translation, including human translations, machine translations or machine translations with edits. The process of performing Linguistic Quality Assurance begins with the recording of the errors in a set of translations and ends with reporting analysis.

Smartling’s LQA feature is influential in your localization process. By evaluating translation quality in a scoring schema, any category with high error counts helps you identify focus areas in translation quality that need improvement to increase the standard of your translations.

If you are currently using Smartling's DQF feature, reach out to your Customer Success Manager about switching to Smartling's superior LQA. One of the biggest advantages of LQA over DQF is that the LQA evaluator can edit the translations in addition to providing a quality score.

Evaluating with LQA

To make evaluations as objective as possible, a categorized list of errors is required. A translation quality error is a problem in the translation that can be objectively agreed on by most interested parties. For example, if a translation fails to follow the terminology or has a grammatical error, those can be considered objective translation errors.

Each error is "rated" on a severity level. The severity level can be numeric (e.g. 0-5) or custom (e.g. neutral-minor-major).

The collection of errors and severity levels that translations are evaluated against is called an LQA schema.


The standard Smartling LQA Schema is available for use and fulfills the industry standards for recording LQA. However, you can create your own unique schemas.


Schemas must consist of categories, errors with descriptions, and severity levels. The severity can have numeric values style, as seen in the Smartling LQA schema, with any range from 1-100, or have a custom values style, e.g.: “Low-Medium-High-etc”. However, styles cannot be used interchangeably, only one style of schema is supported.

It is highly recommended that schemas provide clear descriptions of what each error means. It is also crucial that evaluators are educated on preciously what each severity level signifies.

There is no limit to the number of categories, errors, or even schemas, but for the purpose of objective quality evaluation, it is recommended to keep each to a reasonable number to be effective. 

If you decide to create a custom schema, consult the standard Smartling LQA Schema for guidance on how many categories and errors your custom schema should include.


LQA is enabled on a workflow step, so once the schema is created and published, LQA should then be configured to a workflow step of your choice. Although not a requirement, it is recommended that a workflow step be added specifically for LQA.  Alternatively, you can enable LQA on any workflow step. You can have multiple schemas on a workflow, but only one schema can be applied to a workflow step.


Each error type must have a default severity value, and this is what the UI will set by default and is editable by default. Optionally, you can specify that the severity is not-editable.

When a user records an error, the severity value will be the default severity, unless the user changes it. When a user decides to record no errors on a string, or skip the string entirely, the translation is evaluated as having no error.

You can find all errors recorded on any Job under Reports > Linguistic Quality Assurance Errors & Arbitration.

LQA schemas do not support subcategories or attachments.


There may be occasions when an error is recorded and the original translators would like to dispute an error, or they may want to justify why the translation provided is appropriate within a certain context. This process of disputing and reviewing the disputes to determine the final judgment is called "arbitration". In some cases, you may have a resource assigned just to review and resolve and arbitration. 

Any error can be arbitrated upon evaluation by simply clicking on the saved error and adding an arbitration comment. This creates a dialog under the disputed error. The arbitration comments are counted for each error under the Arbitration comment column.

You can also arbitrate any errors recorded on any Job under Reports > Linguistic Quality Assurance Errors & Arbitration.


Viewing Changes Made to Translations

An error is recorded on the translation that was submitted to your workflow step. You can edit a translation before or after you record an error. You can then view the difference between the unedited translation (the translation the error is recorded on) and the edited translation (the translation that you will submit to the next step of the workflow), by clicking the downward arrow beside Translation in the error dialog.

The change (or diff) is highlighted for your attention.


Find Strings Reviewed Under LQA

You can filter for strings that have been reviewed under LQA in the Strings View. Use the LQA filter to find strings that have been recorded as having errors, or having no errors. 

Note that strings that have been submitted without recorded errors (i.e. submitted or skipped) are recorded as strings with "No Errors" by default.

You can also use this filter to find strings that have not been reviewed under LQA.


Additional Resources

For information on how to set up LQA, read our documentation on Setting Up LQA.

For information on how translations are evaluated with LQA, read our documentation on Evaluating Translations with LQA.

For information on how to use the LQA Report, read our documentation on LQA Reporting Analysis

Video Tutorial: Linguistic Quality Assurance in Smartling


What is Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA)? 00:08

How to set up an LQA process in Smartling 01:10

Step 1: Create an LQA Schema 01:45
- Choose a severity format
- Add error categories
- Add error types
- Publish your schema

Step 2: Enable LQA as part of your workflow 05:28
How your Reviewers record LQA errors
LQA and Issues: What is the difference?

Step 3: Run & analyze the LQA report 10:04

Arbitration: What is it and how can it be enabled? 11:31
Adding arbitration comments
LQA Errors and Arbitration report

Help & Support 15:52

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