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 a process by which human linguists review translations and, by using a set methodology, determine if they contain any objective errors. 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 scheme, 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 performed on a workflow step, so once the schema is created and published, LQA should then be configured to a workflow step of your choice. It is recommended that a workflow step be added specifically for LQA.  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.

LQA schemas do not support subcategories or attachments.

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

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