QCD のギャップを埋めるには ? (How to fill in the gap in QCD?)

Continued from the previous entry.

Let's hear from 3 different parties about QCD gap:

Product Supplier: I am a project manager localizing software messages, help, and documents. The things I always feel frustrated are the turnaround time from the translation company. We have less management resource, and time and cost is the highest priority. Quality ? It has to be good by default. But today, our language specialist reported me "The translation quality is not good. UI messages used in Help do not match the software at all. You cannot release the product with this translation." I do not know why. Translation company did not claim the time or cost is not enough, but why they deliver such quality !?

Translation Company: I am a translation project manager. I communicate with Product Supplier and manages Translators. I do not understand why my customer is unhappy with our delivery. I did send the translated files in time / under budget. They should be aware if the time and cost is limited as such, we cannot keep the good quality. I thought it has already been agreed. Alas! I worked very hard and did everything I could to keep the quality in such a limited condition. Translators are complaining about such a short schedule, but I did my best!

Translator: I am a freelance translator. I am not happy with the work I did, but I have to finish it as soon as possible. Yes, I get paid, but still not happy. I wanted to do differently if I have more time. Today, my agent claimed the quality was not good enough. I know!!! But was it their request to finish translation soon !?

All of the three parties are not happy in this case. If they continue this, the relationship and business will be lost. Off course this is a fiction - my imaginary story. But let me talk about I what we can do differently, based on this story.

In this case, for Product Supplier, Time and Cost is the first priority. For Translation Company, Customer Satisfaction. For Translator, Quality. How can we fill in the gap ?

I believe "Communication" and "Looking at the bigger picture" helps us. All of the three parties seem to look at themselves only. All of the unhappy feeling is coming from their own needs. How about imagining the next steps in the workflow ? For example, Product Supplier should imagine how Translation Company asks Translator to do, and ask again themselves "did I explain enough what is the needs ?". Translation Company can confirm with Product Supplier, "I understand your priority is Cost and Schedule, but how you want us to keep the quality ? Is there anything you cannot miss in the quality even if Cost and Schedule is met ?". If Product Manager cannot answer, Translation Company can ask Language Specialist directly. Translator can imagine why Product Supplier wants this translation so quickly. Maybe the reason is... for that Product Supplier, without translation, the product cannot be released. It may be the case they will release the product translation with the minimum quality, and update the contents on demand.

Translator can view their role as a creator and communicator, instead of just one of the work resource in the lowest layer of the resource pyramid. It is often said Translator is a specialist with strong craftsmanship. It is true in a sense. But the craft, the product that Translator is creating is one of the important communication method. "Communication" changes its shape and style according to the needs of human being. We can count how many acronyms are created every year with increasing interests in those specific topics.

Talking about the documents and communication, more and more documents are based on wiki and update cycle is shortened. The definition of "Completeness" of the document may be different , compared in 10 years ago. I would not say, that's why you should not complain about the lower quality expectation. Instead, you can imagine why your client wants that way ? If you have any idea, you can try your best to meet their needs. If you think the quality needs more care, you can suggest RFE. That's the creator and communicator can do.

What I am doing myself to fill in this gap as Product Supplier and Language Specialist is as follows:


  • Clarify the quality expectation to Translation Company using Quality Model.

  • Communiate with project manager and see if any disclaimer should be applied to the lower quality score.

  • Encourage Translation Company to send queries before their final delivery using Query Tool

  • Send over-all quality feedback regularly to Translation Company.

  • Send specific comments about errors and how to improve the quality.

What I keep in mind in answering questions and sending comments about errors is "My job is Not to criticize them, but to support them to help us in turn." I am happen to be in this position, but in another occasion or time, I may wear a different hat. Who knows ? Fair and Open - these are two important keys to make the world different.

The bottom line is, I think it may change the picture if we keep Fairness and Openness in our mind and view the picture from the other's point of view. We cannot change the facts, economy regression, limited resource, time, and budget, but we can change our way of getting satisfaction. Let's do something differently, rather than expecting others to do so :-)

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