In some of the follow-up conversations I’ve been conducting since Localization World I have come across a huge disparity between what is acceptable quality from a linguistic point of view and what is acceptable quality from a client’s perspective. The disparity widened even further when we opened up the conversation about the subject matter and further still when we moved on to “in company reviews”. As a result of this it got me thinking about how we, as an industry, could resolve this contentious issue.
My thoughts brought me back to a business conversations I had whilst working in the Oil & Gas sector as a B2B consultant. The company I was talking to explained that for the purposes of speeding up dispute resolution they had a company handbook. It was, in fact, much more than just a handbook, it was carried by every single employee within the company and at any time when a difference of opinion couldn’t be settled through discussion or mutual agreement the correct section was located and the company line, with regards to the differences, was quoted and that was it! End of discussion.
Now this is an extreme variation on how company/industry conflict can be managed using a set of defined rules, but there are much simpler versions out there.
Three Laws of Robotics – Isaac Asimov:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
As you can see these three simple laws give robots clarity and this is all they require to be able to cohabit in our world.
Over the years, within the Localization industry, the LISA QA became a “de facto” standard which all LSP and Linguists alike proclaimed to adhere to. It listed mistakes over a range of categories as Minor, Major or Critical and points were accumulated accordingly. If, for some reason, the quality of a project was called into question an independent LISA QA assessor could be asked to validate the work of a Linguist/LSP using these standards. There are some who would say that this system was also far too subjective and, over the years, it also became too complicated but nonetheless it was a standard, and we all like standards don’t we? Regardless of your view on this LISA unfortunately closed up shop in 2011 and as a result our industry no longer has a governing body or up to date standard upon which it can be measured.
So I believe that, as an industry, we are now in need of a Quality Resolution Handbook. I would therefore like to open the discussion door which leads to the creation of a quality benchmark for simple conflict resolution from within the localization industry.
I say this because:
- There is still a need, and a thirst, for a standard and/or “standards organization” for the localization industry
- Both users and providers alike would benefit from a universal standard
And these are the guidelines we should adhere to when creating it:
- It should be simple and easy to use
- It should be subject matter specific
- It should be independent
- It should be the universally accepted benchmark upon which we are ALL measured
The result of all of the above would enable us to manage expectation for the common good of the customer and our industry. It would serve to increase quality and it would reduce the subjective nature with which the industry is currently being judged.